Ivy hoops roundup – On the move

Our latest Ivy hoops roundup features the 2019-20 Academic All-Ivies and a whole lot of Ivy graduate transfers on the move:

Academic All-Ivies announced 

The Ivy League released its winter edition of the 2019-20 Academic All-Ivy list Thursday. The basketball honorees were:

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Seth Towns commits to Ohio State as graduate transfer

Seth Towns is taking his talents back to Columbus.

The former Harvard forward and 2017-18 Ivy League Player of the Year announced Saturday night that he was committing to Ohio State as a graduate transfer.

A Columbus native, Towns noted his gratitude for his time with Harvard basketball, which consisted of two seasons in which he averaged 14.2 points and five rebounds. The 6-foot-7, 215-pound standout earned Ivy POY honors as a sophomore before suffering an injury down the stretch of the 2018 Ivy League Tournament final, an eventual loss to Penn at the Palestra.

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Report: Bryce Aiken to become graduate transfer

Bryce Aiken will pursue graduate transfer opportunities, 247Sports reported Saturday.

The news is no shock but indicates that Aiken is looking to use what is left of his college eligibility rather than starting a professional career.

Aiken played only seven games this season due to a foot injury that happened on Dec. 21, missing the final 18 games of the regular season. Aiken is expected to get a medical redshirt for this past season and will graduate from Harvard in the spring, according to 247Sports.

The Ivy League does not grants redshirts or allow graduate students to play athletics.

Aiken averaged 16.8 points, 2.7 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game in 65 career contests for the Crimson, establishing himself as one of the league’s most dynamic scorers when healthy. Aiken missed 31 games his sophomore and junior seasons due to injury.

 

Harvard men win at Columbia but lose Christian Juzang

The Crimson kept pace with Yale and Princeton by winning against a pesky Columbia team in Manhattan Friday night. When stalwart point guard Christian Juzang went down with a serious-looking ankle injury, Rio Haskett rose to the occasion as the next man up and personally put Columbia away with a late-game scoring flurry. Mike Smith once again performed heroically, with 34 points against a stout Harvard defense, but the rest of his teammates failed to hold up their end of the bargain. Haskett was one of four Harvard players who scored in double figures, including a double-double from Justin Bassey and a 6-for-6 free throw performance from Chris Lewis. Harvard came very close to sharing the Ivy league lead with arch-rival Yale, but Penn’s late-game meltdown kept Harvard firmly in second place with Princeton.

Read moreHarvard men win at Columbia but lose Christian Juzang

Harvard ekes out home sweep with double-overtime win over Columbia

In a game in which they were favored by 14.5 points, Harvard struggled to pull away from Columbia and barely escaped with a victory in double overtime. Mike Smith scored 38 points, more than half of Columbia’s total output, and came very close to stunning the Crimson on the road. Harvard struggled badly to generate offense, attempting most of its field goals from beyond the three-point line and making only eight of 43, and contain Smith, who took 37 shots and made 17 in 49 minutes of play. Both sides made crucial plays to extend the game. Smith drove to the basket for an open layup to tie the game at the end of regulation, and Christian Juzang scored after a crucial offensive rebound by Justin Bassey to force double overtime.

Christian Juzang shot just 2-for-13 from three-point range but hit a second-chance bucket with 10 seconds to play in overtime to force a second OT period that resulted in a Harvard win over Columbia Saturday night. | Photo by Erica Denhoff

Read moreHarvard ekes out home sweep with double-overtime win over Columbia

Cardiac Crimson suffer last-second loss at Brown

Live by the opponent’s last-second free throw, die by the opponent’s last-second free throw.

Harvard concluded a wild four-game road stretch with a 72-71 loss when Brown’s Tamenang Choh finished an “and-one” in the waning seconds, a night after Yale’s Azar Swain failed to convert a similar opportunity. On the back of Choh’s heroics and a dominant performance from Brandon Anderson, the Bears (11-8, 4-2 Ivy) picked up a crucial home win against the rival Crimson (14-7, 3-3) and proved that they can play with the best of the Ivy. The Crimson go home disappointed after four straight tight contests with surviving optimism about their ceiling but with urgent questions about their ability to finish games. The thrilling conclusion lent some excitement to a game that was otherwise difficult to watch, thanks to overzealous refereeing and occasional difficulties with clock management.

Tamenang Choh and Zach Hunsaker walk off the Pizzitola Sports Center court victorious after Choh completed a three-point play at the foul line with 0.5 seconds remaining. | Photo by Erica Denhoff

Read moreCardiac Crimson suffer last-second loss at Brown

Penn men show defensive mettle versus Harvard in 75-72 overtime win

Penn nearly gave the game away several times down the stretch against Harvard Friday evening at the Palestra. But it held on for a 75-72 win in overtime that it needed to avoid a fourth 0-3 start to Ivy League play in five seasons.

Penn seemed to be on the verge of victory when an inbounds turnover gave Harvard possession down 58-56 late. With 1.7 seconds on the clock, Noah Kirkwood hit a fadeaway jumper over the outstretched hand of AJ Brodeur to force an overtime period in which Penn again built an early lead, eventually getting to a 68-63 advantage off a Devon Goodman basket with 77 seconds remaining and making hay on multiple trips to the free throw line to gain a 75-69 edge.

Read morePenn men show defensive mettle versus Harvard in 75-72 overtime win

Harvard knows bigger challenges are ahead after sweeping Dartmouth

HANOVER, N.H. – Animated is not a word normally used to describe Tommy Amaker, but there he was Saturday night at Leede Arena exhorting his team on, almost screaming, at least as much as Amaker is capable of such a thing.

The timing seemed strange. Just past the midway point of the second half, his Bryce Aiken-less Harvard team had just started to put some distance between itself and a pesky Dartmouth team that pushed the Crimson fairly hard the week before at Lavietes Pavilion and was only a four-point underdog (sports gambling recently became legal in the state of New Hampshire, for those who care). Harvard wasn’t playing its best game, but it weren’t playing poorly, either.

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Déjà vu for Harvard men at Dartmouth in Crimson win to sweep Big Green

One week later, and not much has changed.

Harvard once again came close to blowing a double-digit lead in the final minutes but again managed to hold on for just long enough to come away from Hanover its eighth straight win, 70-66, and a sweep of Dartmouth.

Read moreDéjà vu for Harvard men at Dartmouth in Crimson win to sweep Big Green

Harvard men hold on versus Dartmouth, 67-62, without Bryce Aiken

With Bryce Aiken watching from the sideline in a walking boot, Harvard withstood a late push from Dartmouth to take its Ivy opener, 67-62, at home.

The first half belonged to senior center Chris Lewis, who had 11 points and was perfect from the floor, while his freshman frontcourt partner Chris Ledlum led the Crimson (12-4, 1-0 Ivy) in the second half with 11 of his own. It was a game of highs and lows for Tommy Amaker’s squad, who withstood Dartmouth’s hot start and good shooting from behind the arc (41%) in the first half, but almost squandered a 12-point lead in the final minutes.

Read moreHarvard men hold on versus Dartmouth, 67-62, without Bryce Aiken