NCAA allows return of basketball in November, Ivy League will wait to decide

With most regular seasons and championships for fall sports postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, college athletes and fans have been anxiously awaiting word on the winter sports schedule. They received good news on September 16, when the NCAA Division I Council, chaired by Penn athletic director Grace Calhoun, announced that the men’s and women’s basketball seasons could begin on November 25.

“The new season start date near the Thanksgiving holiday provides the optimal opportunity to successfully launch the basketball season,” NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said to ESPN. “It is a grand compromise of sorts and a unified approach that focuses on the health and safety of student-athletes competing towards the 2021 Division I basketball championships.”

While basketball enthusiasts around the nation rejoiced with the news that meaningful games would soon be returning to the hardwood, fans of the Ancient Eight were left wondering if the league would move from its July 8 decision that teams could not participate in intercollegiate athletics competition prior to the end of the fall semester.

The short answer is no.

“There are no changes at this time,” responded Ivy League associate executive director, strategic communications & external relations Matt Panto to a request from Ivy Hoops Online. “The decision we have made is it (hold on competition) goes through the (end of the) fall term.”

Read moreNCAA allows return of basketball in November, Ivy League will wait to decide

Harvard men take sole possession of second place with win over Cornell

ITHACA, N.Y. – Despite the absence of Christian Juzang due to injury, Harvard pulled out a 67-58 win over Cornell, putting the Crimson in sole possession of second place in the Ivy standings.

“They’re an impressive group,” Cornell coach Brian Earl said. “I won’t miss some of their seniors on their team. They’re grown men.”

The first half was super streaky, although relatively close. Harvard (20-7, 9-3 Ivy) opened up on a 6-0 run, followed by an 8-0 run from Bryan Knapp for the Big Red (6-19, 3-9).

“My teammates [are] looking for me,” Knapp said. “I had five, then Terrance [McBride] was like, ‘I’m getting you the ball,’ and he drove, kicked it to me.”

Read moreHarvard men take sole possession of second place with win over Cornell

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

Harvard dominates at home against Cornell

In their return to Lavietes Pavilion after a harrowing five-game road trip, the Crimson turned in a thoroughly dominant performance against an overmatched Cornell squad. When the dust settled at halftime, Harvard was leading 42-15 and had long since dispelled any suspense about the game’s final outcome. The easy win came at a perfect time for Harvard after a four-game stretch in which each contest was decided by three points or fewer.

Harvard’s frontcourt pressed its athletic advantage throughout the game, with Chris Lewis, Chris Ledlum, and Danilo Djuricic combining for 41 points while shooting an astounding 75% from the floor. Harvard also outrebounded their opponents 40-30, creating a number of easy second-chance points. Freshman Idan Tretout took advantage of increased playing time in the second half to contribute nine points and was one of seven Harvard players to score at least seven.

Chris Lewis slams one home during Harvard’s win over Cornell Friday at Lavietes Pavilion. Lewis was the KenPom game MVP, shooting a perfect 5-for-5 from the field and 3-for-3 from the foul line for 13 points in 24 minutes of play. | Photo by Erica Denhoff

Read moreHarvard dominates at home against Cornell

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

Yale comeback falls just short versus Harvard

It was an ending that even the great Steven Spielberg could not have scripted.

Harvard traveled to John J. Lee Amphitheater Friday night in desperate need of a win after losing to Penn and Princeton on the road last weekend. The Ivy schedule makers dealt the Crimson a very tough early-season hand.

Harvard eked out a dramatic 78-77 win after Azar Swain hit a clutch three with one second left, was fouled by Rio Haskett and after a seemingly endless wait on the free throw line due to an official review of the time remaining, missed the free throw.

Harvard’s Rio Haskett after being called for what could have been a game-changing foul on Azar Swain as Swain hit a three with Yale trailing 78-74 with 0.9 seconds left at Yale Friday. But Azar Swain couldn’t complete the four-point play after a four-minute-long official review resulted in the addition of 2.1 seconds to the game clock, and the Crimson left New Haven with a victory by the slimmest of margins. | Photo by Erica Denhoff
Swain was brilliant in the second half ,scoring 27 of his game-high 33 points in that stanza. He almost single-handedly brought Yale back from a 13-point deficit in the last five minutes of the game resulting from a 9-0 run in a game played before a boisterous and student-laden sellout crowd of 2,706.
Harvard led 45-32 at the half, fueled by 19-for-33 (57.6%) shooting from the field, including 6-for-11 (54.5%) from three en route to an 8-for-19 (42.1%) showing from long range on the night. Yale finished the game just 7-for-22 (31.8%) from deep.
Harvard standout big man Chris Lewis (0) s scored just four points Friday at Yale, but Robert Baker scored 10 points and was one of five different Crimson players to hit at least one three-pointer in Harvard’s 78-77 win. Harvard shot 42.1% from outside, besting Yale’s clip of 31.8%. | Photo by Erica Denhoff
Noah Kirkwood had 18 points and Danilo Djuricic posted a pivotal 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting.
Paul Atkinson had a career-high 28 points on an efficient 11-for-16 from the field predicated upon fleet footwork which consistently befuddled numerous Harvard defenders.
Jordan Bruner was held to three points.
Harvard outrebounded Yale, 35-30, a feat almost never accomplished at JLA. The Elis trailed 71-59 with 5:42 to play but clawed back with 11 points from Swain the rest of the way, including three triples in the final 2:25. Yale had just dug too deep a hole.
“We need to get contributions from everyone,” Yale coach James Jones said.
 “It was hard-fought,” Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said. “We were fortunate to win.”
Yale now sits at 16-5 and 4-1 in the Ivy and Harvard at 14-6 and 3-2.
Noah Kirkwood celebrates after Harvard completed a 78-77 victory at Yale Friday. Kirkwood notched a team-high 18 points for the Crimson. | Photo by Erica Denhoff

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

No. 6 Harvard falls in back-and-forth tilt at No. 2 NC State in NIT second round, 78-77

No. 6 Harvard put up a valiant effort in the second round of the NIT Sunday night but fell, 78-77, at No. 2 NC State in a game that showed how talented the Crimson really are.

Read moreNo. 6 Harvard falls in back-and-forth tilt at No. 2 NC State in NIT second round, 78-77

No. 1 Harvard proves too deep, too strong for No. 4 Penn in Ivy League Tournament semifinal

Tommy Amaker summed things up simply when he stepped into today’s postgame press conference: “We had to do everything we could to make winning plays to win the game.”

But they did.

Harvard took Penn’s best punches in each of the two halves but proved to be too strong and too deep for a Quakers team that has been depleted by injuries all season long. Bryce Aiken, a two-time first-team All-Ivy guard, epitomized this for the Crimson as he scored 17 of his team-high 19 points in the last eight minutes of each half.

The game started out well for Penn, which used a 7-0 run to jump out to a 14-4 lead at the 13:21 mark of the first half.  Harvard chipped away and eventually took its first lead of the game, 31-28, after a Noah Kirkwood three with 3:56 left in the first half.  The Crimson held on and went to the locker room, up 36-34.

Read moreNo. 1 Harvard proves too deep, too strong for No. 4 Penn in Ivy League Tournament semifinal

Harvard shuts down Yale, 65-49, snaps Elis’ eight-game win streak

Ever have one of those really bad days at the office?
The copier is broken, the coffee is rancid, your client cancels an appointment and things get worse from there.
Well, Yale had that type of night at Lavietes Pavilion last night.
And Harvard didn’t.

Read moreHarvard shuts down Yale, 65-49, snaps Elis’ eight-game win streak