Ivy hoops weekend takeaways – Jan. 18-19, 2019

Women’s

Brown’s offense is too potent to miss Ivy League Tournament again 

If Brown misses the Ivy League Tournament for a second straight season with as much offensive firepower as it has, it’ll really be a shame.

Brown senior guard Shayna Mehta’s career-high 37 points led the way, and the Bears’ elder Mehta has been one of the league’s standout scorers for a long time now, going back to her Ivy Rookie of the Year campaign in 2015-16.

But Mehta wasn’t alone in gouging a strong Yale defense in the Bears’ 86-71 win over the Bulldogs Friday. Seniors Erika Steeves and Taylor Will, who missed Ivy play last season due to injury, and junior Justine Gaziano combined for 43 points on 18-for-34 shooting. The Bears overwhelmed Yale inside and out, topping Yale by double digits at Pizzitola Sports Center while scoring 80-plus points for the second straight season.

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Brown women defeat Adelphi, get ready for the start of Ivy play

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. – The Brown women’s basketball team built several 20-point-plus second-half leads and held off a determined Adelphi to come away with a closer-than-expected 75-62 victory on Wednesday evening. With the win, the Bears secured their third victory in the penultimate contest of a seven game road trip and improved its overall record to 8-7.

The game, a rare visit to a Division II program, was the result of a cancelled late December game against Howard and the need to fill an empty slot before the start of the Ivy schedule. With most teams starting league play in January and limited time at the end of 2018 calendar, there were few takers.

“I’ve known (Adephi head coach) Missy (Traversi) for a long time,” said Brown coach Sarah Behn.  “We’re grateful they squeezed the game in.”

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A big week for Brown men’s hoops

The Brown men’s basketball team finds itself ranked No. 179 at KenPom, which is its highest ranking since it was at No. 170 heading into a Nov. 17, 2015 matchup at Northwestern. With two games over the next four days against No. 29 Butler and No. 171 Stony Brook, the Bears are looking to continue their early season success as they enter into their finals break.

At 6-3, Bruno is having its best start since the team had the identical record in the beginning of the 2013-14 season, coach Mike Martin’s second year at his alma mater.  With the return of all five starters and its top six scorers (93.5 percent of all points), as well as a fifth-place spot in the preseason Ivy media poll, Brown’s expectations were high heading into the start of the season. With Harvard’s top two players facing unknown return dates, Penn’s second team All-Ivy guard out for the season following an injury on opening night, a Princeton team that was without its heralded first-year four-star point guard and a Cornell team with its second-best player deciding to become a graduate transfer, it was not shocking for the Bears faithful to think that this might be the year when the team finally returns to the upper division for the first time since 2012-13, Martin’s first season at the helm.  A two-point loss at No. 280 LIU-Brooklyn and a three-point defeat at No. 208 NJIT in their opening weekend quickly seemed to put the breaks on those thoughts.

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Army’s cold shooting fuels Brown’s third win in a row

In the final game of the Brown Bears Tip-Off Classic, the Army Black Knights went ice-cold from the field and Brown benefited, winning, 86-66. Brown improved to 3-2 with the win, and Army dropped to 1-4. Brown won all three games it played in the tournament, beating UMass-Lowell on Friday, 82-74, and Sacred Heart on Saturday, 82-77.

A balanced attack for the Bears saw five scorers in double digits, those being Brandon Anderson who had 16 points (4-of-8), Desmond Cambridge’s 13 (5-of-12), 12 each from Zach Hunsaker (4-of-7) and Tamenang Choh (3-of-7), and Obi Okolie’s 10 points as well (2-of-6). Tamenang Choh hauled in 10 rebounds to complete the double-double, and Joshua Howard was just two points short of a double-double as he also had 10 rebounds. Brown controlled the backboard, outrebounding the Knights, 49-33.

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Inside Ivy Hoops – Feb. 15, 2018

Brett Franklin and Jill Glessner return as hosts of Inside Ivy Hoops this week to talk with Brown men’s coach Mike Martin and Penn women’s coach Mike McLaughlin and break down a slate of crazy results so far on both the men’s and women’s sides.

Brett and Jill recap an Ivy Friday night to remember on the men’s side, explain why Matt Morgan is more than a gunslinger, and much more:

Jill and Brett detail why and how Princeton is the deepest team in conference on the women’s side, focus on Cornell’s “shocking” win over Brown, Yale’s first weekend road sweep in five years, the vital presence of Leslie Robinson for the Tigers, looming Ivy League Tournament tiebreakers, two potentially significant injuries on the women’s side and more:

Mike Martin reflects on Brown’s multiple game-winning shots this Ivy season, what went wrong Friday night versus Cornell, Desmond Cambridge’s progress following an injury sustained Saturday night, the dynamic duo of Matt Morgan and Stone Gettings, keys to besting Harvard at Lavietes Pavilion, his Espresso awakening and much more:

Mike McLaughlin talks about the Philadelphia Eagles ‘ Super Bowl parade, Penn’s win over Villanova and the void Eleah Parker helped fill while also reflecting on the program’s rise from his two-win first season in 2009-10, what makes Princeton so tough, his time with the Washington Generals and more:

Inside Ivy Hoops – Feb. 1, 2018

Going Inside Ivy Hoops with Brett Franklin and Jill Glessner this week are Ivy Hoops Online writer Richard Kent, Brown women’s basketball assistant coach Tyler Patch and Columbia men’s head coach Jim Engles.

On the women’s side, Jill and Brett highlight Harvard’s home cooking, Penn winning the Big 5, Ivy back-to-backs creeping up on Dartmouth and the intrigue of contrasting styles with Friday’s Penn at Brown matchup. On the men’s side, they consider how many bitterly close losses Dartmouth can continue to swallow, Penn’s formidable frontcourt and more:

 

IHO’s Yale beat writer Richard Kent joins Brett and Jill on the expert hotline about when he expects Makai Mason to return for Yale, Trey Phills’s standout season, why the Yale men have a better shot at beating Princeton than Penn this weekend, whether the Yale women can claim an Ivy League Tournament berth this season and how Bella Alarie flew under Duke’s recruiting radar:

 

Tyler Patch discusses his path to becoming an assistant at Brown, the recruiting and execution that created Brown’s high-octane uptempo offense, lessons learned from the Bears’ back-to-back Ivy nail-biter losses last weekend and more.

 

Jim Engles reflects on his unique time at NJIT, Columbia starting this season with seven road games and Mike Smith’s relationship with NBA player Jimmy Butler while looking ahead to the Lions hosting Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend:

Ivy women’s hoops Friday in review – Jan. 12, 2018

Yale 77 vs Brown 63

Yale (8-6; 1-0 Ivy) opened up its march to Ivy Madness with a double digit victory over Brown (12-2; 0-1 Ivy) in a Friday matinee contest at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.  After a poor shooting first quarter from both teams, Yale entered the second frame up 3 and stretched it to six at halftime.  The Bears came out hot at the beginning of the third quarter, going on an 8-0 run over the first 1:36 to take a 39-37 lead.  From there, the teams stayed close and were tied at 58 with 6:54 left in the fourth quarter. Two Tamara Simpson steals and layups in nine seconds sparked Yale to a 10-0 run that put the game out of reach.

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Checking in with Brown men’s basketball

Record: 7-6 Overall and 0-0 Ivy (5-1 Home; 2-5 Away) 

Rankings: KenPom #239, Bart Torvik #235, TeamRankings #246

What’s Hot:
Defensive Improvement and Guard Play

The Bears are again playing an up-tempo game (Top 60 nationally), putting up lots of points (78.2; 2nd in Ivy), and getting to the free throw line at an elite level (25.0 attempts/game, 19.3 made/game, 76.1 percent shooting, and 23.8 percent of total point production).  However, this year’s team has been showing growth on the defensive side of the ball, most noticeably in holding opponents to 33.6 percent from three (minus-3.8 percent from ‘16-’17) and securing a 73.4 percent defensive rebounding rate (plus-2.1 percent from ‘16-’17).  This effort has led to a 5.0 percent decline in opponent’s effective field goal shooting and a 7.8 point improvement in adjusted defensive efficiency.

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Brown men’s basketball revamps its roster for a challenging 2017-18 season

Last season, the Brown men’s basketball team went 9-7 in nonconference action.  The nine wins tied the program’s record for non-league victories with the 2001-02 and 2014-15 teams.  The Bears’ 8-0 start at home was the best beginning since the 1934-35 squad. In league play, Brown appeared to get a boost of confidence from its nonconference schedule, dominating Penn and Cornell on the road and losing by one at home to Yale. With a 2-3 start in Ivy competition, the Bears were looking good for the fourth spot in the inaugural Ivy Tournament.  

Unfortunately, Brown lost its next five matches, derailing its hopes for an upper division finish. Despite beating Dartmouth on the road to start the next to last weekend of the season, the loss to Harvard the following evening eliminated the Bears from postseason play.  The team did bounce back in its penultimate game, beating Columbia by 20 and damaging the Lions’ hope for the league’s final four. A Senior Night loss to Cornell left the Bears with a 4-10 record (13-17 overall), tied for sixth in the Ancient Eight.

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The future is now for Brown women’s basketball

Prior to the 2016-17 season, the Brown women’s basketball team was picked seventh in the Ivy League media poll.  Despite three league wins in 2015-16 and a youthful roster that did not have any seniors, the Bears ended up with a 17-13 record (7-7 Ivy), a fourth-place tie in the conference, a slot in the inaugural Ivy Tournament, and a first-ever postseason victory with a win over UMBC in the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) Tournament.  With the loss of only one player, Brown will look to establish itself as a first-division team, challenge the Big Three for conference dominance, and achieve greater post-season success.

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