As this Ivy non-season progresses, we thought it’d make sense for us to do an Ivy Hoops Online contributors’ roundtable looking ahead to next season, assuming there is one:
Brown just missed out on an Ivy League Tournament berth for the second straight year this weekend, again getting edged out by Penn for the tourney’s No. 4 seed despite an impressive road sweep of Harvard and Dartmouth. And as coach Mike Martin indicated on Twitter after the loss, letdowns like this really sting.
2nite was 1 of the hardest post game talks I’ve ever had. We had just swept a tough r
oad trip + did it with grit, toughness, and togetherness- I was so proud of our team. But then we learned the news that it wasn’t enough. Hurting for our players – I’m lucky to be their coach.
— Mike Martin (@mmartinbrown) March 8, 2020
Another wild night on the roller coaster that is Penn men’s basketball, so what else is new?
One night after losing a 10-point lead lead over the last 98 seconds at Yale, the Red & Blue faced a similar situation up nine at the 2:39 mark in a win-or-go home showdown against Brown. On this night, the Quakers would hold the line and defeat Brown, 73-68, to get back in the battle for the No. 4 seed in the Ivy League Tournament.
Cornell seized a lead with 14:51 left in the first half and never looked back, beating Brown in dominating fashion, 63-45, at Newman Arena Saturday night.
After a back-and-forth first five minutes, the Big Red (6-17, 3-7 Ivy) jumped ahead by as many as 14 in the first half but went to the locker room up nine.
Cornell came back out hot, scoring the first seven in the second half. Bryan Knapp hit a jumper, Kobe Dickson converted a layup, and Terrance McBride drilled a three to push the Big Red lead to 16. They led by 20 at times in the second half but would eventually win by 18.
Brandon Anderson led four double-digit scorers as Brown pulled away late against Columbia to grab the opening game of its New York state weekend, 72-66, and secure its sixth win in its last seven games.
Bruno (13-9, 6-3 Ivy) jumped out to a 18-10 lead at the 10 minute mark, before the Lions went on a 17-3 run over the next four minutes. The Bears knotted the game at 30, but Jack Forrest nailed a three from the left elbow and Luke Bolster hit a jumper from the free throw line to give Columbia (6-19, 1-8) a 35-30 lead at the half.
The Lions opened the second half on an 8-2 run to stretch its advantage to a game-high 11. Tamenang Choh and Zach Hunsaker scored six points each to lead Brown on its own 12-2 run to cut the deficit to one, 45-44.
The Bears reclaimed the lead, 49-47, at the 12-minute mark, after David Mitchell blocked a Mike Smith layup and Bruno broke out on a quick Josh Howard-to-Choh-to Anderson transition layup. Anderson hit a fadeaway jumper from the line to make it 57-50 with seven minutes left, but the Lions would not go away without a fight.
Senior guards Brandon Anderson and Zach Hunsaker combined for 51 points, including 39 in the second half, to lead Brown over Penn, 75-63, at the Palestra on Friday night.
Despite playing without All-Ivy wing Ryan Betley, who is weekend-to-weekend with a sprained left ankle, the Quakers (12-8, 4-3 Ivy) ran out to an 21-10 lead over the first 10:30 of the contest. The Red & Blue maintained an 11 point advantage, following a Max Martz layup with a minute to go, but a Hunsaker three and Anderson layup cut the Penn lead to 35-29 at the half.
The Bears (12-8, 5-2) came out of the locker room a different team.
Brown needed to sweep Cornell and Columbia at home this weekend to shore up its standing for an Ivy League Tournament run.
Although it wasn’t easy, the Bears completed that sweep Saturday against Columbia, holding the Lions to four points over the final 5:04 to erase a four-point deficit at the start of that stretch and walk away with a 72-66 win.
The Cornell Big Red got off to a good start, but things went downhill towards the end of the first half as the Brown Bears picked up their first Ivy League victory of the season, 74-63.
The Big Red (4-12, 1-2 Ivy) led 30-23 with 6:48 left in the first half after Bryan Knapp drilled a three. The Bears (8-8, 1-2) then proceeded to go on an 18-4 run to end the first half and take a 41-36 lead into the locker room.
Tyrese Martin missed a free throw, Zach Hunsaker grabbed the defensive rebound and the Brown Bears dribbled it out. It was over. Brown had picked up a win over the 8-3 Rhode Island Rams of the Atlantic 10, who had only one previous loss against a nonranked team and none against a non-power five team. Brown had capped its Division I nonconference schedule with arguably its most impressive win of the season. The Bears had gotten contributions from both their star upperclassmen and their budding underclassmen.
The only nagging feeling came from this question: Why hadn’t they been playing like this all year?