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

Harvard takes No. 5 Maryland to the limit before falling short, 80-73

For a while, Black Friday looked completely Crimson.

Harvard gave the No. 5 team in the country all it could handle in the semifinals of the Orlando Invitational Friday, holding onto a double-digit lead well into the first half and attaining a 51-44 lead with 11:45 to play.

But Maryland took a lead with 6:41 remaining that it would never relinquish en route to an 80-73 victory.

Read moreHarvard takes No. 5 Maryland to the limit before falling short, 80-73

Thoughts on early Ivy men’s action

DINGLE’S DEBUT

Jordan Dingle’s 24 points in Penn’s 81-80 win at Alabama marked the highest scoring total by a rookie in his debut in school history.

Steve Donahue’s system of interchangeable players on offense has allowed rookies to be major contributors in any given matchup, so it’ll be interesting to see how much of the offensive load Dingle carries going forward. But the fact that Dingle scored 16 points in the final 12:40, including the game-winning shot with six seconds left, is impressive. Freshmen often fade late, but in his first ever collegiate game, Dingle became dominant instead.

Read moreThoughts on early Ivy men’s action

Ivy hoops roundup – Sept. 25, 2019

  • Princeton’s Bella Alarie completed her last 3×3 tournaments with USA Basketball with a silver medal effort in  Edmonton this past weekend and a bronze medal showing in Montreal in early September.  Overall, her team came in seventh place in the 28-team field.
    The two-time Ivy Player of the Year, who also picked up a silver medal with USA Basketball at this summer’s Pan American Games, continues to improve her stock as she heads into her final year for the Tigers.  Michelle Williams of the WNBA listed Alarie as one of the 12 potential first-round picks in next years’s Draft, while Howard Megdal of High Post Hoops had her as the number five pick for the Minnesota Lynx.
  • Harvard men’s coach Tommy Amaker told Jon Rothstein that 2018 men’s Ivy League Player of the Year, Seth Towns, has been cleared for non-contact work.  Towns, a co-captain of this year’s Crimson team, missed all of last year due to a knee injury sustained in the 2018 Ivy Tournament final against Penn.
    Earlier this month, the senior from Columbus, Ohio, was one of 16 players attending the NCAA Elite Student-Athlete Symposium for Men’s Basketball in Indianapolis.

Read moreIvy hoops roundup – Sept. 25, 2019

Harvard men’s basketball releases 2019-20 schedule

The Harvard men announced a challenging 2019-2020 schedule, on Tuesday afternoon, which the Crimson faithful hope will prepare the team not only for its third straight regular season title, but its first Ivy Tournament championship and first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2015.

The 15 game nonconference schedule features the usual contests against in-state rivals, as well as trips to Toronto, Florida, D.C. and California.  The early part of the schedule will see the Crimson facing anywhere from four-to-five top-100 teams.

Read moreHarvard men’s basketball releases 2019-20 schedule

Ivy hoops roundup – July 25, 2019

  • The Dartmouth men have completed its staff for the 2019-2020 season with the hiring of Steve Ongley as an assistant coach.  Ongley spent last year on Jim Engles’ staff at Columbia, where he worked with the front court players.  Prior to that, he was an assistant for four years at Colby College, the alma mater of Big Green head coach Dave McLaughlin.
    Ongley replaces John Andrzejek, a Columbia graduate and one-time Lions student manager who joined former boss Kyle Smith’s staff at Washington State.  There has been no announcement from Columbia for its replacement of Ongley.
  • Princeton women’s coach Carla Berube finished the hiring of her new staff, with the announcement of Helen Tau as director of basketball operations.  Tau, a 2014 graduate of the University of Texas who was a walk-on in her senior year, spent 2014-2016 as a graduate assistant for the Longhorns and then worked for Georgetown as director of video operations the last two seasons.
    Tau replaces Jessica Imhof, who went to the University of North Carolina to join former Tigers coach Courtney Banghart.

    Read moreIvy hoops roundup – July 25, 2019

No. 6 Harvard outlasts No. 3 Georgetown, 71-68, to advance to NIT second round

No. 6 Harvard registered the first win for an Ivy League team in the NIT in 17 years courtesy of a balanced scoring effort, turning in a 71-68 win at Georgetown.

Despite trailing 54-49 with 11:52 to play, the Crimson (19-11) fought back, overcoming a 5-for-24 (20.8 percent) shooting effort from deep at McDonough Arena for their postseason win since 2014, when the Crimson upset Cincinnati in the NCAA Tournament.

Read moreNo. 6 Harvard outlasts No. 3 Georgetown, 71-68, to advance to NIT second round

Princeton ekes past Dartmouth, bows to Harvard

With a record of 7-3, the Tigers headed to New England for the Dartmouth-Harvard trip needing a win on the weekend to punch its ticket to Ivy Madness. The fact that the Tigers’ record against their four remaining opponents contained all three of those losses and only one of the wins was a matter of grave concern to the Tiger staff. The lone win was a 69-68 nail-biter in Jadwin against the Friday foe, Dartmouth’s Big Green.

The staff itself suffered an unexpected loss when its head coach was unable to answer the bell in Hanover. Mitch Henderson was forced to scurry from the floor just prior to tip-off, suffering from what we shall describe as “flu-like symptoms.”

Read morePrinceton ekes past Dartmouth, bows to Harvard