Ancient Eight thoughts – Ivy Saturday women’s edition

Eight thoughts on the women’s side:

1. Aghayere on a rebounding spree

There was a whopping 77 points scored in the first half in Penn’s battle with visiting Cornell, featuring the Big Red’s No. 2 Ivy scoring defense vs. the Red & Blue’s No. 1 Ivy scoring defense. No. 1 eventually got the best of No. 2 as the game eventually settled into more of a grind-it-out struggle. Princess Aghayere posted a career-high 23 points and 10 boards, the fourth double-double of her senior campaign. Aghayere grabbed seven of Penn’s offensive rebounds, fueling a 15-6 scoring edge for Penn in second-chance points. Aghayere is one of three Quakers to rank in the Ivy’s top nine in offensive rebounding (fifth behind league-leading Eleah Parker and ahead of Ashley Russell in ninth place). If Penn goes to another 2-3 zone variation against Princeton tomorrow night, Aghayere will have to come up big on the boards as she did in Penn’s win at Princeton last month, when she snared a team-high 12 boards, limiting a Tigers squad that crashed the boards against the zone well that day.

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Ancient Eight thoughts – Ivy Saturday men’s edition

Eight thoughts on the men’s side:

1. Penn’s defense finds its stride

Penn held Cornell to 18 points in the second half and 0.78 points per possession for the night, an inspired defensive performance marking the latest glimpse of how high Penn’s ceiling can be when the defense is fully locked in. Matt Morgan’s usage rate was lower than usual, and Penn did a good job zeroing in on the second-all-time leading scorer in Ivy history. Morgan and company actually had a decent outing from beyond the arc (8-for-22, 36.4 percent), but it didn’t matter because everything else was effectively taken away. The Big Red typically thrive at the foul line, but Penn’s characteristically disciplined defense (the Quakers rank best in the Ivy League in defensive free throw rate) didn’t feed into that. Instead, Penn preserved its outside shot at an Ivy League Tournament berth, a feat only as realistic as its defense is strong down the stretch.

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Cornell fades at Penn, misses opportunity to gain ground in Ivy League Tournament hunt

Cornell led at Penn at halftime, 32-30, at the Palestra Saturday night in a game teeming with Ivy League Tournament implications.

Then the second half happened, and the Big Red faded in a 68-50 loss to Penn that kept the home team in the Ivy tourney hunt, even as Cornell maintains a one-game lead over Penn in the Ivy standings and is tied with Brown at 5-5, with the Big Red currently holding the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Penn opened the second stanza on a 14-3 run in the first 6:20 and never looked back, doing a much better job limiting touches for Cornell senior guard Matt Morgan.

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Ancient Eight thoughts – Ivy Friday women’s edition

Eight thoughts on the women’s side:

1. Dartmouth hanging in there 

Dartmouth did something it hadn’t done in a decade last night: defeat Yale at home. And the timing was pivotal as the Big Green notched its second win at the wire in the past four games courtesy of a Paula Lenart putback of a missed Isalys Quinones three-pointer with 1.3 seconds left, giving the Big Green a 56-54 victory to lift them to 4-5 in the Ivy standings – within a game of Yale with five outings to go. It was a gutsy win for the Big Green, whose savvy senior guard Cy Lippold suffered an injury versus Princeton last Saturday. Lenart and Quinones put Dartmouth over the top in a defensive battle, and Annie McKenna’s six steals helped stymie the Bulldogs. If Dartmouth can best Brown tonight and sweep Columbia and Cornell in the final weekend, it has a decent chance of tying Yale in the Ivy standings at 8-6, but the Bulldogs would still own the second tiebreaker: highest seed defeated (Yale has topped both Princeton and Harvard, while Dartmouth has beaten neither.) So the Big Green’s road slate at Penn and Princeton next weekend is a huge, if challenging, opportunity to neutralize or even claim the tiebreaker away from Yale.

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Princeton’s variety of contributors pays off in 68-59 win over Cornell

As a followup to Mike Tony’s excellent summary of last night’s Ivy League skirmishes, I offer some takeaways from the Tigers’ hard-fought win against Cornell at Jadwin Gym.

Richmond Aririguzoh (RA) turned in a season-best performance in Ithaca, scoring 20 points without a miss from the field in an overtime thriller. In a pregame conversation, Mitch Henderson was effusive in his praise for the Trenton product, stating flatly that he considers the 6’9″ junior the league’s best at his position.
Brian Earl was determined to prevent a repeat of the first game. He deployed two and sometimes three defenders on the big fellow. As a result RA was held to seven points, although he did corral eight rebounds. Earl won that battle but lost the war.

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Cornell charges back and fades out to fall at Princeton, 68-59

Cornell trailed 54-36 at Jadwin Gym with less than 14 minutes remaining and it looked like the game may be too far out of reach.

A 23-7 Big Red fun followed, with Riley Voss and Jimmy Boeheim leading the way on the scoring front.

But Cornell couldn’t muster a field goal in the final 5:58, losing 68-59, done in by eight points down the stretch from Ryan Schwieger en route to his leading all scorers with a career-high 23 points.

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Ancient Eight thoughts – Ivy Friday men’s edition

Eight thoughts on the men’s side:

1. Columbia was due

Columbia hadn’t won an Ivy road game since its very first under Jim Engles at Cornell on Jan. 14, 2017: 17 such games ago. The Lions were 3-8 in games decided by one possession this season, including a 72-70 loss to Penn at Levien Gym three weeks prior, and were 4-20 in games decided by six points or fewer dating back to the start of last season. So when Maka Ellis’s stunningly easy layup off an inbound pass went in with 0.4 seconds left in overtime to clinch the 79-77 win for the Lions at the Palestra, it was a long overdue coup de grâce for a program that had long been far more competitive under Engles than its win-loss column showed. Kudos to Gabe Stefanini for coming up just two rebounds shy of a triple-double (20 points, 10 assists, eight boards) and Ellis for pitching in five of his 14 points in the final 1:24 in overtime as a rookie on the road to erase Penn’s 77-72 lead at that point.

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Defense nonexistent as Yale tops Cornell, 98-92

In a matchup between two of the league’s best teams, Yale was able to escape Ithaca with a 98-92 win in a game in which nobody really seemed to play much defense. Both teams shot 53 percent from the field and well over 40 percent from three. Yale moved up to 17-4 overall (7-1 Ivy) and Cornell dropped down to 13-11 (5-3) but still remain two games over fifth place in the league, with a Penn loss.

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Cornell overcomes dreadful start, bests Brown in overtime

Cornell has struggled in the first half this season, and Friday night’s game against Brown was no exception. It took Cornell 12 minutes to score their first 10 points, and its defense wasn’t stellar to start either. But the Big Red eventually rallied in a nail-biter, topping the Bears, 70-66, in overtime at Newman Arena to notch their fourth straight win over Brown.

Brown was able to get a few easy baseline threes early from Desmond Cambridge and Obi Okolie, who both struggled after the first 10 minutes. Matt Morgan had a rough, three-point first half.

It was Jimmy Boeheim who stepped up early with the team struggling, scoring 13 of the team’s 27 first-half points. Cornell trailed 31-27 at the half and by as many as 13 (26-13 with 6:12 to go in the first half). It looked like a blowout in the making.

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Inside Ivy Hoops – Feb. 14, 2019

In the latest episode of Inside Ivy Hoops, Ivy Hoops Online editor Mike Tony is joined by Cornell coach Brian Earl and IHO writer Richard Kent.

Mike and Richard reflect on last weekend’s Ivy matchups, including another home sweep of the Ps for Yale and career scoring highs for Bryce Aiken, Miye Oni and Matt Morgan on the same night on the men’s side and several pivotal thrillers on the women’s side, while also looking ahead to another full slate of league games this weekend:

Cornell coach Brian Earl analyzes his team’s road sweep last weekend and defensive improvements throughout the season, Matt Morgan’s impact, whether Ivy back-to-back weekends are worth changing, where the Ivy League Tournaments should be held:

Mike takes note of how much the Ivy men’s side has gotten stronger this season relative to the 2017-18 campaign: