Ancient Eight thoughts: Ivy Friday men’s edition

Seeing it through 

Brown notched an outstanding 67-63 win at Jadwin Gym, hanging on after nearly surrendering a 60-47 lead with 2:17 left. Brandon Anderson was the best player on the floor off the bench, posting 21 points and three steals in just 28 minutes, his trips to the foul line and jumpers setting back the Tigers any time they got even a modicum of momentum. Brown’s defense shut Princeton down early and often, holding the Tigers to 0.79 points per possession and collecting a whopping 25 turnovers from the hosts.

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Princeton ekes past Dartmouth, bows to Harvard

With a record of 7-3, the Tigers headed to New England for the Dartmouth-Harvard trip needing a win on the weekend to punch its ticket to Ivy Madness. The fact that the Tigers’ record against their four remaining opponents contained all three of those losses and only one of the wins was a matter of grave concern to the Tiger staff. The lone win was a 69-68 nail-biter in Jadwin against the Friday foe, Dartmouth’s Big Green.

The staff itself suffered an unexpected loss when its head coach was unable to answer the bell in Hanover. Mitch Henderson was forced to scurry from the floor just prior to tip-off, suffering from what we shall describe as “flu-like symptoms.”

Read morePrinceton ekes past Dartmouth, bows to Harvard

Ancient Eight thoughts – Ivy Friday men’s edition

Eight thoughts on the men’s side:

1. Columbia was due

Columbia hadn’t won an Ivy road game since its very first under Jim Engles at Cornell on Jan. 14, 2017: 17 such games ago. The Lions were 3-8 in games decided by one possession this season, including a 72-70 loss to Penn at Levien Gym three weeks prior, and were 4-20 in games decided by six points or fewer dating back to the start of last season. So when Maka Ellis’s stunningly easy layup off an inbound pass went in with 0.4 seconds left in overtime to clinch the 79-77 win for the Lions at the Palestra, it was a long overdue coup de grâce for a program that had long been far more competitive under Engles than its win-loss column showed. Kudos to Gabe Stefanini for coming up just two rebounds shy of a triple-double (20 points, 10 assists, eight boards) and Ellis for pitching in five of his 14 points in the final 1:24 in overtime as a rookie on the road to erase Penn’s 77-72 lead at that point.

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Cornell overcomes dreadful start, bests Brown in overtime

Cornell has struggled in the first half this season, and Friday night’s game against Brown was no exception. It took Cornell 12 minutes to score their first 10 points, and its defense wasn’t stellar to start either. But the Big Red eventually rallied in a nail-biter, topping the Bears, 70-66, in overtime at Newman Arena to notch their fourth straight win over Brown.

Brown was able to get a few easy baseline threes early from Desmond Cambridge and Obi Okolie, who both struggled after the first 10 minutes. Matt Morgan had a rough, three-point first half.

It was Jimmy Boeheim who stepped up early with the team struggling, scoring 13 of the team’s 27 first-half points. Cornell trailed 31-27 at the half and by as many as 13 (26-13 with 6:12 to go in the first half). It looked like a blowout in the making.

Read moreCornell overcomes dreadful start, bests Brown in overtime

Army’s cold shooting fuels Brown’s third win in a row

In the final game of the Brown Bears Tip-Off Classic, the Army Black Knights went ice-cold from the field and Brown benefited, winning, 86-66. Brown improved to 3-2 with the win, and Army dropped to 1-4. Brown won all three games it played in the tournament, beating UMass-Lowell on Friday, 82-74, and Sacred Heart on Saturday, 82-77.

A balanced attack for the Bears saw five scorers in double digits, those being Brandon Anderson who had 16 points (4-of-8), Desmond Cambridge’s 13 (5-of-12), 12 each from Zach Hunsaker (4-of-7) and Tamenang Choh (3-of-7), and Obi Okolie’s 10 points as well (2-of-6). Tamenang Choh hauled in 10 rebounds to complete the double-double, and Joshua Howard was just two points short of a double-double as he also had 10 rebounds. Brown controlled the backboard, outrebounding the Knights, 49-33.

Read moreArmy’s cold shooting fuels Brown’s third win in a row

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

Ivy Power Poll – Jan. 21, 2018

1. Penn (12-6, 3-0 Ivy)

It says a great deal that, in just his third season at the helm on 33rd Street, that Steve Donahue has turned Penn around to the point that it’s No. 1 in the Ivy Power Poll during league play.

Donahue’s predecessor’s predecessor’s predecessor Fran Dunphy and the Temple Owls still dealt Penn the 11th consecutive loss in the teams’ series Saturday, overcoming a 51-48 deficit with 4:02 to play at the Palestra. Penn went ice cold from deep (8-for-31, 25.8 percent) and notched just 0.81 points per possession against Temple’s stout defense.

Read moreIvy Power Poll – Jan. 21, 2018

2017-18 Ivy League team-by-team season preview, part 1

This is part 1 of IHO’s 2017-18 Ivy League team-by-team season preview. Read part 2 here

The rise of the Ivy League is projected to continue.

The Ancient Eight is slated by KenPom as the 13th-best conference in Division I this season, just seven years after it placed 26th. That’s a quantum leap, a product of the league’s bolstered recruiting in that time frame. The Ivy hoops status quo now consists of top-25 recruiting classes, Nike Skills Academy members and expectations of NCAA Tournament success.

There’s a three-way cluster between Harvard, Princeton and Yale projected to top the league. In the Ivy Preseason Media Poll, Yale received the most first-place votes (eight) but Harvard garnered the most points overall. Without a clear conference favorite, it’s quite likely that the regular season champion will not also be the conference tournament winner, with Bart Torvik’s Ivy Tourney Simulator tabbing Penn as the favorite in an Ivy tourney as a No. 4 seed.

Read more2017-18 Ivy League team-by-team season preview, part 1

2017-18 Ivy Men’s Basketball Preseason Media Poll released, teleconference highlights

The Ivy men’s basketball preseason media poll was released Tuesday, confirming that the top of the league appears to be a three-way scrum between Harvard, Yale and Princeton at this point. Yale received the most first-place votes (eight) but Harvard garnered the most points overall, awarding the Crimson their first perch atop the media poll standings since the 2014-15 season, which was also the last time Tommy Amaker’s club was Ivy League champion. Princeton received three first-place votes, finishing just behind Yale overall.

Read more2017-18 Ivy Men’s Basketball Preseason Media Poll released, teleconference highlights

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