Another week full of Ivy news, with none bigger than Courtney Banghart’s move from Princeton to North Carolina. The former Big Green All-Ivy guard and Tigers head coach signed a five-year contract to take over a Tar Heels program that needs a new start. Per Jeff Gravely of WRAL in Raleigh, Banghart’s contract starts at $650,000 in 2019-2020 and increases to $730,000 in 2024-2025. Athletic and academic bonuses are included that can increase the yearly salary by $10,000 to $470,000.
Mar. 20, 2019: a sparse but committed crowd enters the Pizzitola Sports Center as Brown men’s basketball hosts a playoff game, its first in five years. Hosting the UAB Blazers, the event is part of the College Basketball Invitational, a minor national tournament. The event is meant to mark the end of a historic season for Brown. Though it ended in disappointment, the regular season yielded 19 wins, tied a program record, so the event should be fun and happy.
But the atmosphere is muted because the situation is more complicated than that.
Eighty years after Brown’s appearance in the first ever NCAA Tournament, the Bears won their first postseason tournament game Wednesday night, also setting a program record for wins in a single season.
Brown defeated UAB, 83-78, at the Pizzitola Sports Center in the first round of the CBI, with senior guard and Ivy Defensive Player of the Year Obi Okolie extending his collegiate career at least one more game with a career-high 26 points on the strength of 7-for-14 shooting from three-point range.
Seeing it through
Brown notched an outstanding 67-63 win at Jadwin Gym, hanging on after nearly surrendering a 60-47 lead with 2:17 left. Brandon Anderson was the best player on the floor off the bench, posting 21 points and three steals in just 28 minutes, his trips to the foul line and jumpers setting back the Tigers any time they got even a modicum of momentum. Brown’s defense shut Princeton down early and often, holding the Tigers to 0.79 points per possession and collecting a whopping 25 turnovers from the hosts.
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.
It’s been an up and down season for the Princeton men’s basketball team. During the nonconference schedule, the Tigers see-sawed up and down, with jaw-dropping losses and heart-stopping wins, including the largest loss in program history to Duke and a win for the ages at nationally ranked Arizona State.
The roller coaster ride has continued for the Tigers during the Ivy League season. The conference slate began with a surprising four-game winning streak, including a thrilling, back-to-back sweep of arch-rival Penn. As Princeton entered the heart of its conference schedule, the Tigers sat in the catbird seat, atop the Ivy League standings with a perfect 4-0 record. Even better, the team learned that its senior co-captain and leading scorer and rebounder, Devin Cannady, would be allowed to return to the team after serving a three-game suspension for a violation of team rules. The future looked bright.
But then the roller-coaster suddenly dived downward again. A second straight road weekend took its toll on the Tigers as Princeton was swept convincingly by Yale and Brown. A third straight loss by nine points at home to Harvard on Friday night dropped Princeton to fourth in the League standings, and suddenly the season sat on a precipice.
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.
Saturday’s contest between Harvard and Cornell was the exact opposite of Friday’s games for both teams, in the sense that offense would come at a premium.
After the Crimson dropped 98 points Friday in triple overtime, they were held to just 61 points on Saturday as Cornell stormed back to erase a 15-point second-half deficit to win the game, 67-61. Despite struggling to get shots all game, Matt Morgan had 15 points, good enough to move into second-place in conference history in career points (2,162), a night after meeting Jim Barton, the man he just surpassed.
Great to meet an Ivy League legend last night at his alma mater! Jim Barton was a great player and an even better role model for us as players! Thank you for the words of wisdom! Hope to see you again soon! pic.twitter.com/D5PwRQKgpr
— Matt Morgan (@TheRealMM10) February 10, 2019
Cornell moved up to 12-10 (4-2 Ivy) and Harvard dropped to 11-8 (4-2). Cornell has already met last season’s win total, with eight games remaining on the schedule.
In the latest episode of Inside Ivy Hoops, Ivy Hoops Online editor Mike Tony is joined by Yale coach Allison Guth and IHO writer George Clark.
Mike and George reflect on last weekend’s Ivy matchups, including a weekend to remember for the Princeton men and women, and also look ahead to a full slate of league games this weekend – including what appear to be several must-wins already:
Coach Guth walks Mike through the sequence leading up to Roxy Barahman’s buzzer-beating, game-winning three-pointer just past mid-court versus Harvard Friday, breaks down the reasoning behind adopting a pack-line defense this season, reflects on the development of Barahman and emergence of first-year standout Camilla Emsbo, discusses a scheduling committee’s ongoing review of Ivy back-to-back weekends and much more:
Sometimes you need a fiber prescriber, so Mike talks about Flannel Night: