IHO 2015-16 Ivy Awards

IHO’s writers voted on the best this Ivy season had to offer, voted on and tabulated prior to the announcement of Ivy League’s official awards Wednesday:

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Justin Sears, Yale (Sr., F – Plainfield, N.J.)

For the second straight season, Sears wins IHO’s Player of the Year honors, a game theory-free decision. It’s no coincidence that Yale’s conference-winning wheelhouse – defense and rebounding – is centered on Sears’ own strengths. The POY was a much better ball distributor this season, scoring with slightly more consistency as well as he reached the 20-point plateau seven times and recorded five double-doubles. This is a clear case of the best getting better.

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The four that roared for Columbia

If you had told Kyle Smith over the summer that Columbia would set their high-water mark in Ivy wins during his tenure and the Ivy title would be clinched on Levien Gymnasium’s sub-sea level court, he would have been elated.

Even if you had told him that was a trick question, it was hard to imagine even nine months ago that this would be the Lions team that won 10 Ivy games for the second time since Ronald Reagan took office, title or no. At various points in the last year, there was a distinct possibility that none of Smith’s four seniors (Isaac Cohen, Maodo Lo, Grant Mullins and Alex Rosenberg) would take the floor for him ever again. Despite the hardships suffered as individuals and the fact that Yale and Princeton were on their schedule four times this season, Columbia is going back to the postseason for the second time in three years. Kyle Smith believes it was this mismashed class of 2016 that turned the tide of the program from mediocrity to one that is on the rise and can ascend to a title in the near future, even without these players being a part of it. This is the story of how it all came together despite nearly falling apart.

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Ivy Saturday roundup – Yale nabs first NCAA Tournament berth in 54 years

Cornell 75, Brown 71

Cornell won this season finale for both teams, scraping up a win with Brown offensive linchpin Tavon Blackmon missing the game due to an ankle injury. In his final collegiate game, Cedric Kuakumensah posted a characteristic 21 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, with Steven Spieth adding 13 rebounds, 12 points and seven assists. But Cornell’s 27-18 advantage in points off treys and 11-0 advantage in fastbreak points proved enough, featuring freshman Matt Morgan with 25 points, four assists and four rebounds, a steal and a block.

Read moreIvy Saturday roundup – Yale nabs first NCAA Tournament berth in 54 years

Ivy Friday roundup – Princeton loses control of own destiny at Harvard

Yale 88, Cornell 64

Yale entered into this game with seemingly little momentum despite having won 15 of its previous 16 contests. The Elis eked out an overtime win at home against lower-tier Ivy Dartmouth with Makai Mason shooting just 4-for-18 from the floor and sporting a gimpy ankle, while the program continues to deal with controversy stemming from the team’s show of support for departed ex-teammate Jack Montague. But in Ithaca Friday night, Yale steamrolled Cornell for 40 minutes, building a 30-point lead late in the second half courtesy of another perfect Brandon Sherrod performance from the floor. Sherrod’s 18 points on 6-for-6 shooting led all scorers and anchored an offense that posted 32 made field goals on 54.2 percent shooting, taking advantage of Cornell’s inferior defense early and often. Robert Mischler, Cornell’s only senior, helped spark an 18-9 run for Cornell midway through the first half that brought Cornell to just a 22-20 deficit, but the Elis finished the stanza on an 18-2 run of their own in the final 7:32. That first half featured some promisingly even scoring distribution, with Sam Downey, Anthony Dallier and Khaliq Ghani consistently joining Sherrod and Mason in the scoring action. Yale was additionally rewarded for its efforts when

Read moreIvy Friday roundup – Princeton loses control of own destiny at Harvard

Columbia beats Brown, can still play spoiler against Yale

Saturday night could be Yale’s coronation, a moment of pure joy even while a big black cloud slowly forms above the program.

The team standing in its way still has plenty to play for.

For Columbia, Saturday night’s game at Levien Gym will be the end of an era. It’ll be the final regular season home game for Isaac Cohen, Grant Mullins, Maodo Lo and Alex Rosenberg, a senior class that revived a struggling program and brought it to contender status.

Read moreColumbia beats Brown, can still play spoiler against Yale

Ivy Friday roundup

Princeton 88, Columbia 83

In a cruel twist of fate for Columbia fans, the Tigers outdid the Lions at Jadwin by the same score as they did earlier this month, when Princeton made not one but two unlikely comebacks in its overtime win at Levien. In Princeton’s previous win against the Lions, Henry Caruso, Spencer Weisz and Steven Cook shot 4-for-24 from the floor. Friday night, that trio shot 22-for-31 en route to 60 combined points, with freshman guard Myles Stephens adding 15 points in 26 minutes off the bench.

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Ivy Power Rankings – Feb. 23, 2016

1. Princeton (18-5, 9-1 Ivy)
The Tigers have it all on the table. Princeton’s toughest game remaining, according to KenPom, will be at Harvard next weekend, not hosting Columbia Friday night. But Princeton’s lowest win probability, which comes visiting the Crimson, is still 75 percent. To take advantage of a favorable schedule, Princeton must continue firing on all cylinders offensively, which means getting the most out of X-factor Amir Bell, whose effective field goal percentage has been solid ever since he dominated in the Ivy opener at the Palestra.

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Ivy Saturday roundup

Harvard 76, Cornell 74

This will surely be remembered as the weekend that ensured Bill Courtney’s exit as Cornell’s head coach after six years of no postseason tournament appearances, following him taking over a program fresh off a Sweet 16 run in 2010. On Friday night, Cornell came out flat and struggled mightily for long stretches in a home 78-66 loss to Dartmouth, a game that the Big Red had to have after being on the wrong end of back-to-back weekend sweeps. Then this game happened.

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Four falls of Columbia

With 90 seconds left in Saturday night’s Columbia vs. Princeton game, I was sure I was going to write about how Maodo Lo took over the game and held off a charging Princeton squad, or how the Lions were able to dominate the Tigers defensively even with their small lineups. With two minutes left in overtime, I was sure I was going to write about how even after blowing a late lead in typical Columbia fashion, Grant Mullins willed his fellow seniors to victory with his performance on both ends of the floor in overtime. Safe to say those articles will be written as soon as I put on one of my Bills Super Bowl Champion t-shirts while listening to Detox. Instead, this is an article about coming back after the buzzer sounds.

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Ivy Power Rankings – Feb. 2, 2016

1. Yale (13-5, 4-0 Ivy)
The Elis have been getting everything they want lately. Brandon Sherrod’s perfect streak from the floor has been well-documented, but what makes Yale so dangerous is that the production can come from anywhere. Nick Victor, the quiet glue of the team, is capable of providing critical points as he has against Princeton and Brown so far in league play, and Sam Downey ranks fifth in the nation in individual offensive rating. To beat Yale, you have to spread the Bulldogs out defensively and hope they’re not too hot on the other end of the floor. Columbia can do that, and Princeton did do that, but Yale just wasn’t cool enough to lose to the Tigers. Like last season, Yale’s biggest games down the stretch will come on the road, with six of its last eight games away from New Haven, including a season-ending showdown at Levien on Mar. 5. The time to build a cushion is now.

Read moreIvy Power Rankings – Feb. 2, 2016