Brown men’s basketball revamps its roster for a challenging 2017-18 season

Last season, the Brown men’s basketball team went 9-7 in nonconference action.  The nine wins tied the program’s record for non-league victories with the 2001-02 and 2014-15 teams.  The Bears’ 8-0 start at home was the best beginning since the 1934-35 squad. In league play, Brown appeared to get a boost of confidence from its nonconference schedule, dominating Penn and Cornell on the road and losing by one at home to Yale. With a 2-3 start in Ivy competition, the Bears were looking good for the fourth spot in the inaugural Ivy Tournament.  

Unfortunately, Brown lost its next five matches, derailing its hopes for an upper division finish. Despite beating Dartmouth on the road to start the next to last weekend of the season, the loss to Harvard the following evening eliminated the Bears from postseason play.  The team did bounce back in its penultimate game, beating Columbia by 20 and damaging the Lions’ hope for the league’s final four. A Senior Night loss to Cornell left the Bears with a 4-10 record (13-17 overall), tied for sixth in the Ancient Eight.

Read moreBrown men’s basketball revamps its roster for a challenging 2017-18 season

Bear necessity wins for Brown

After winning on the road against Central Connecticut this Saturday, Brown basketball finds itself as the only Ivy League team with a winning record (5-4) heading into the first week of December.  The Bears’ 75-58 victory was its best road victory since back-to-back wins against Providence and Central Connecticut State in December 2014. With its yearly rematch with the Friars scheduled for this Tuesday, it is worth spending time reviewing the first month of the Brown season before looking to the future.

Read moreBear necessity wins for Brown

Brown Season Preview – Bruno scars

What happened last year: (8-20, 3-11 Ivy) The Bears’ 2015-16 season was underwhelming overall. Brown tied for last in the conference despite being projected to finish fifth in the preseason media poll with two-time Ivy Defensive Player of the Year Cedric Kuakumensah still in tow and an unusual level of offensive depth. But a five-game skid in league play in February followed back-to-back 24-point losses to Yale and Princeton in the Bears’ second and third conference matchups, a tough slog for Brown.

What’s new: Kuakumensah is gone after leading the league in blocks and three-point percentage as well as ranking second in rebounding last season. Say howdy to freshmen forwards Joshua Howard and David Erebor as well as rookie center Brandon Charnov and frosh guard Brandon Anderson, who selected Brown over Columbia. Most of Brown’s offensive playmakers return, but the Bears were projected to finish last in the conference in this year’s preseason media poll, probably because of Brown’s distinct lack of defensive fortitude last season.

Read moreBrown Season Preview – Bruno scars

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

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.

Read moreIvy Friday roundup

Ivy Saturday roundup

Yale 77, Brown 68

As it did last season, Brown gave Yale a scare in New Haven, but not a loss.

Late free throws by Makai Mason and Jack Montague iced the game for the Elis, and Mason led Yale with 20 points in 32 minutes. Brown overcame an early 21-4 deficit to cut Yale’s lead to 37-31 at halftime. Cedric Kuakumensah, Tavon Blackmon and JR Hobbie combined for 50 of Brown’s 68 points and 15 of its 20 field goals. Brown and Yale combined for 49 fouls and 36 turnovers in what turned out to be a sloppy game.

Read moreIvy Saturday roundup

Ivy Tuesday roundup

New Hampshire 88, Brown 77

This could have been a really solid win against a KenPom No. 165 team for Brown, but it didn’t happen because its defense hasn’t gelled around two-time Ivy Defensive Player of the Year Cedric Kuakumensah yet. New Hampshire shot 54 percent from the floor and got to the line 34 times, making more free throws (28) than Brown made field goals (26). Freshman forward Travis Fuller fouled out in just 10 minutes and the Bears racked up 23 fouls on the night. On offense, the Bears play fast and loose, and  tonight, junior guard JR Hobbie stepped up with 12 points on 3-for-8 shooting from beyond the arc in 25 minutes off the bench. But just because Brown has a strong bench full of sharpshooters (now including freshman guard Corey Daugherty) and a defensive anchor doesn’t mean it has ample defensive discipline to make a run at the top half of the Ivy League.

Columbia 70, Wofford 59

This was a weird game for the Lions, and yet it revealed them to have one of the most complete offensive attacks the league has seen in some time. In the first half, senior forward Alex Rosenberg and senior guard Maodo Lo struggled offensively, with junior forward Jeff Coby leading all Lion scorers early into the next stanza – more than Lo and Rosenberg combined at that point. The Lions’ best ball distributor wasn’t Lo but senior guard Isaac Cohen, who notched nine assists. For more on Cohen’s crucial performance, check out Sam Tydings’ story on Columbia’s wonderfully weird win over Wofford.

A double OT thriller, trouble with triples and an Eli home run: A crazy week already

Yale – With Princeton missing Hans Brase for the 2015-16 season due to injury and Columbia’s defense still struggling to make an impact, Yale has to be considered the favorite to win the Ivy League title at this early point. The comfort sophomore guard Makai Mason has displayed in running this offense is perhaps the biggest reason why. Mason posted 21 points and five assists in 36 minutes in Yale’s 99-77 home win over Sacred Heart Monday, a game in which pretty much everything came together for the Elis. Yale notched 16 offensive rebounds, scored 27 second-chance points to Sacred Heart’s 10 and took 17 more shots than SHU as a result. The Bulldogs also enjoyed 24 bench points and shot 52.9 percent (9-for-17) from three.

A lot of Ivies can shoot the ball from deep and have offensive depth. None can hit the boards like the Bulldogs can, especially on the offensive end, and that will pay dividends for them come conference play. Yale proved in its season opener that it can win without reigning Ivy Player of the Year Justin Sears.

Read moreA double OT thriller, trouble with triples and an Eli home run: A crazy week already

Brown Season Preview – Get Out and Run

Coach Mike Martin enters his fourth season at the helm for the Bears, looking to improve on last season’s 4-10 Ivy record. With Martin’s early recruits coming of age and the addition of some under-the-radar talent, there’s reason for optimism in Providence.

First and foremost, this is Cedric Kuakumensah’s team, as the imposing senior center and captain looks to build upon the greatest defensive reputation in the league. Outside of Kuakumensah, the Bears will look to replace the contributions of reliable big man, Rafael Maia, and they’ll look to a young cast to do so. Watch out for Travis Fuller, the 6-9 freshman from Encinitas, Calif.  The early returns are positive on Fuller, as the skilled big man looks to fill Maia’s void in the frontcourt.

Read moreBrown Season Preview – Get Out and Run