Penn beats No. 17 Villanova for first time since 2002, snaps Wildcats’ 25-game Big 5 win streak

Penn did it.

The Red & Blue were simply better than the defending national champion Villanova Wildcats throughout their matchup at the Palestra Tuesday night, notching a 78-75 victory that underscored how each Big 5 squad is trending in opposite directions.

The continuation of Penn’s remarkable improvement made history at No. 17 Villanova’s expense, repeatedly getting easy buckets via cuts to the basket and making just enough free throws down the stretch to snap Villanova’s 15-game winning streak over Penn (dating back to Dec. 10, 2002) and 25-game Big 5 win streak (dating back to Dec. 5, 2013).

Read morePenn beats No. 17 Villanova for first time since 2002, snaps Wildcats’ 25-game Big 5 win streak

Penn’s got a title to defend … and plenty of assets

A happy crowd. (Penn Office of the President)

As Ivy Hoops coverage dwindles across the digital world like Princeton’s winning percentage, I have returned to the dismay of many and the delight of few for yet another year of Penn Basketball coverage for IHO. Therefore, I will now channel another Philly hero, Sylvester Stallone, and pick up exactly where the team left off last season.

Read morePenn’s got a title to defend … and plenty of assets

A turnaround to remember for Penn basketball under Steve Donahue

I must admit that there were times over the last 10 years that I began to despair.

Penn basketball has always been an essential part of my sports spectating life, and yet, inexplicably,
there was the “crown jewel” of Penn Athletics in shambles. For those of us who had always witnessed greatness on the hardwood from the Red and Blue, the past decade has been nothing less than a gut-wrenching, surreal descent into irrelevance and thus humiliation.

Read moreA turnaround to remember for Penn basketball under Steve Donahue

Finding yet another way to win, Penn musters knockout blow at Columbia

NEW YORK – For the last eight years, Levien Gymnasium has been a house of horrors for the University of Pennsylvania. Penn men’s basketball had lost seven of the last eight at Columbia, including five straight. There have been blowouts, ejections and a couple of photo finishes that went the home team’s way.

So when the Lions jumped out to a 17-6 lead, it followed an unsurprising trend.

“We definitely started off slow,” Penn sophomore Devon Goodman said. “They hit us first.”

Unlike previous seasons, the Quakers hit back, in large part thanks to a career night from Goodman, who scored a career-high 23 points with five assists and five boards. Add that to an impressive second half and an 18-0 run down the stretch and the Red and Blue staged a comeback to win 74-62 over the Light Blue on Friday night.

Read moreFinding yet another way to win, Penn musters knockout blow at Columbia

Ivy weekend roundup – Feb. 9-10, 2018

Some unexpected contributors carried their teams on their backs this weekend, yielding varied results.

In Harvard’s 66-51 win over Princeton Friday night, the Crimson offense flowed through sophomore guard Christian Juzang, who posted 20 points – 12 more than his career high up to that point – on 6-for-10 shooting alongside four assists. Columbia rookie guard Gabe Stefanini notched a career-high 20 points in just 27 minutes in the Lions’ wild overtime loss at Brown Saturday night, 17 of them coming in the second half or extra period. After scoring just 26 points in the previous five games, Yale freshman guard Azar Swain registered 25 this weekend, his 7-for-12 (58.3 percent) clip from deep lifting an Elis squad that had been hurting from three-point range.

Read moreIvy weekend roundup – Feb. 9-10, 2018

Looking at Penn through Red and Blue-colored glasses

After two weeks of league competition, Penn has lost its first three contests, including two at the Palestra. The most surprising was a loss to Brown, the eighth-place team in the league’s preseason poll, which was Bears’ first road conference win in almost two years. (Brown very nearly upset Yale Friday night in Providence, but that doesn’t change Penn’s current 0-3 hole in league play.)

Looking at where things stand, were Quakers fans viewing the team through Red and Blue-colored glasses as the Ivy League slate began?

Read moreLooking at Penn through Red and Blue-colored glasses

Penn Season Preview – YouthQuake

What happened last year (11-17, 5-9): Last year, Penn fans got pretty much all they could expect from the Quakers in Steve Donahue’s first year as head coach of the Quakers. Penn got off to a 4-1 nonconference start and even climbed to 5-5 in league play before dropping the last four games of the season.

Two white-knuckle losses to Princeton (including blowing a 97.6 percent win probability after leading 64-55 with 3:02 left in the first matchup at the Palestra), perhaps even more than Penn’s conference wins, provided a glimpse of what the Quakers could be more consistently under Donahue going forward:

Read morePenn Season Preview – YouthQuake

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.

Read moreIvy Power Rankings – Feb. 23, 2016

Hey look, Penn’s an upper-tier team again (for this week at least)

During Rex Ryan’s final season with the New York Jets in 2014, there was often so much chaos on the field I remember TV color analyst Cris Collingsworth lamenting that he often had “no idea what the Jets were doing.” For the past few years, I could say the same thing about the Quakers: the fouls, the turnovers, the fistfights, the lack of spirit and, of course, the confinement sentencings. After this weekend’s games, it appears Steve Donahue appears to have at least restored our dignity.

Read moreHey look, Penn’s an upper-tier team again (for this week at least)

Ivy Friday roundup

Yale 86, Columbia 72

Yale outlasted Princeton last Saturday by getting and staying hot, as its starters shot 54.9 percent from the floor and 61.1 percent from three-point range. Against also 4-0 Columbia, Yale asserted its place as the top team in the conference by getting even hotter, shooting 62.2 percent from the floor and 55.6 percent from beyond the arc. The Lions relied on active hands to notch 11 steals and force 17 turnovers, applying impressive pressure early in the game, but it never mattered. Yale hit what it wanted to hit, scoring 86 points on just 39 field goal attempts. (For comparison, Cornell scored six fewer points tonight on 76 field goal attempts, but we’ll get to that later.)

Read moreIvy Friday roundup