Penn beats No. 17 Villanova for first time since 2002, snaps Wildcats’ 25-game Big 5 win streak

Penn did it.

The Red & Blue were simply better than the defending national champion Villanova Wildcats throughout their matchup at the Palestra Tuesday night, notching a 78-75 victory that underscored how each Big 5 squad is trending in opposite directions.

The continuation of Penn’s remarkable improvement made history at No. 17 Villanova’s expense, repeatedly getting easy buckets via cuts to the basket and making just enough free throws down the stretch to snap Villanova’s 15-game winning streak over Penn (dating back to Dec. 10, 2002) and 25-game Big 5 win streak (dating back to Dec. 5, 2013).

Read morePenn beats No. 17 Villanova for first time since 2002, snaps Wildcats’ 25-game Big 5 win streak

Alex Mitola to become graduate transfer, play final season elsewhere

According to several sources, including his high school coach, Dartmouth junior guard Alex Mitola will become a graduate transfer and play his final season at another school.

“Alex always wanted to see if he could play up at a little bit of a higher level,” Gill St. Bernard’s coach Mergin Sina told Jerry Carino. “Out of high school he didn’t have a chance to do it.”

The news represents a huge loss for Big Green coach Paul Cormier and the Dartmouth basketball program. Mitola averaged 12.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game, good for seventh in scoring, first in free-throw percentage, 10th in assists, second in three-pointers made, second in assist/turnover ratio and second in minutes played.

“I’m disappointed and think he’s making a terrible mistake,” Paul Cormier said to the Valley News of Mitola. “He can’t get that (fourth year at Dartmouth) back. The decision that requires the most substance is staying here and following through with the teammates you came in with.”

The Valley News also reports that Mitola plans to play his final season of college eligibility with a higher-profile program and pursue a graduate business degree before playing professionally overseas.

“We’ve gone from nine victories to 12 to 14 since Alex has been here,” Cormier told the Valley News. “He could have left a real legacy. I hope this isn’t something he later regrets, because it’s not ending the way I think it should.”

“It was hard because I know the situation it puts them in, but I felt it was what was best for me and my career moving forwards,” Mitola said.

The Ivy League will miss Mitola’s potent long-range shooting, superior ballhandling and clutch play. Dartmouth would not have made its first postseason since 1959 this season without him. I discussed what I thought Mitola’s versatility meant to Dartmouth in an On the Vine in February, and One Bid Wonders correctly identified him as the “culture changer” in Hanover earlier this season.

2015 Outgoing Ivy Transfers

Denton Koon

Shonn Miller

Kenyatta Smith

Rafael Maia

Cam Crocker

Galal Cancer

Alex Mitola