- Following a 11-plus week paid suspension, Auburn University reinstated former Penn assistant coach Ira Bowman to his similar position on Saturday afternoon. The 1996 Ivy League Player of the Year was suspended by Auburn just before the SEC Tournament, after former Penn coach Jerome Allen testified that Bowman was involved in a scheme resulting in bribes by Florida businessman Philip Esformes to get his son, Morris Esformes, on the basketball roster for the fall of 2015.
Sam Blum of AL.com wrote that an Auburn athletics spokesman confirmed the news but did not have the results of the school’s investigation or information regarding the reasoning for Bowman’s reinstatement. AL.com has filed an open records request to obtain this information. Bowman returned to his reported $250,000 a year job, just in time to help with one of the biggest recruiting weekends in program history.
Kevin Bonner, Penn’s senior associate athletic director, governance and administration, did not respond to an email from IHO regarding the reinstatement, the Auburn investigation or any Penn investigation of Bowman.
No. 6 Harvard put up a valiant effort in the second round of the NIT Sunday night but fell, 78-77, at No. 2 NC State in a game that showed how talented the Crimson really are.
No. 6 Harvard registered the first win for an Ivy League team in the NIT in 17 years courtesy of a balanced scoring effort, turning in a 71-68 win at Georgetown.
Despite trailing 54-49 with 11:52 to play, the Crimson (19-11) fought back, overcoming a 5-for-24 (20.8 percent) shooting effort from deep at McDonough Arena for their postseason win since 2014, when the Crimson upset Cincinnati in the NCAA Tournament.
With Yale trailing by one, 54-53, in a back-and-forth Ivy League Tournament final battle Sunday, Yale junior guard and Ivy Player of the Year Miye Oni picked up his fourth foul and was promptly benched. Even on its home floor at John J. Lee Amphitheater, the Bulldogs looked like they’d been bit.
But they were about to bite back.
Tommy Amaker summed things up simply when he stepped into today’s postgame press conference: “We had to do everything we could to make winning plays to win the game.”
But they did.
Harvard took Penn’s best punches in each of the two halves but proved to be too strong and too deep for a Quakers team that has been depleted by injuries all season long. Bryce Aiken, a two-time first-team All-Ivy guard, epitomized this for the Crimson as he scored 17 of his team-high 19 points in the last eight minutes of each half.
The game started out well for Penn, which used a 7-0 run to jump out to a 14-4 lead at the 13:21 mark of the first half. Harvard chipped away and eventually took its first lead of the game, 31-28, after a Noah Kirkwood three with 3:56 left in the first half. The Crimson held on and went to the locker room, up 36-34.
Spirits were high at Jadwin Gym as last night’s battle for second place between the Tigers and Harvard got underway before a hyped up home crowd and a national TV (ESPNews) audience. Most knowledgeable observers and the oddsmakers predicted a one-possession game in the final minute, the type of game in which home court advantage might be crucial. For the most part, the somewhat limited success Princeton coach Mitch Henderson has enjoyed against Harvard coach Tommy Amaker has been at home.
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.
The Harvard men arrived for their league-opening match with Dartmouth as a five-point favorite, according to KenPom. They also had former first team All-Ivy guard Bryce Aiken in uniform for the first time this season. Neither of those things mattered, in the end (and Aiken didn’t play anyway), as the Big Green used a sizzling 68 percent shooting performance to beat the Crimson, 81-63, for their first Ivy opening victory in 12 years.
The Dartmouth men’s basketball team welcomes Harvard on Saturday night for both programs’ Ivy tip-off. The Crimson have won the last four meetings and five of the last six, including both games in 2018. On Jan. 6, Harvard beat Dartmouth 61-51 at Lavietes Pavilion, while earning a 62-57 overtime victory at Leede Arena on Jan. 20.
The Big Green, picked eighth in the Ivy media preseason poll, finished the nonconference schedule at 9-7, already the most single season wins in coach David McLaughlin’s three-year tenure and the school’s best mark since going 8-4 in the 1996-97 campaign. The team is now ranked at No. 223 by KenPom, the program’s best since 2015, and look to defend their home court against the 2018 regular season co-champs and 2019 preseason Ivy favorites.
In the latest episode of Inside Ivy Hoops, Ivy Hoops Online editor Mike Tony is joined by Columbia women’s basketball coach Megan Griffith and IHO writer George Clark.
Mike and George recap last weekend’s Penn-Princeton doubleheader, preview the rematch between the Ps at the Palestra Saturday and weigh in other action from around the league:
Coach Griffith reflects on Columbia’s big win at Mercer Sunday, her team’s relative youth and the importance of confidence, her thoughts on the Ivy League Tournament and much more:
Mike notes the payoff of continuity and experience for Ivy men’s and women’s hoops this season – and the few rookies who are breaking through so far: