Penn claims share of first Big 5 title since 2002, is back on track

For the uninitiated, I can tell you the Big 5 is a Big Deal. The Philly City Series is as important and frequently more difficult to capture than the Ivy Crown. The teams are generally better, the crowds are bigger and the games are significantly fewer. Villanova has owned the Big 5 for more than a decade, and rightfully so. To play the national champions every year is no easy feat for anyone. Since Penn’s last title in 2002, St. Joseph’s has been ranked number one in the nation, and the John Chaney-Fran Dunphy Temple Owls as well as La Salle are almost always solid squads from deep conferences.

So when Penn, coming off a four-game losing streak, faced Temple (14-3 and coming off a four-game winning streak) Saturday, a lot was on the line. In my opinion, it was a masterful performance by the Quakers. I would argue that it was even better than the Villanova win. Of course, Penn was still without last year’s leading scorer, Ryan Betley. Max Rothschild played only a few token minutes, Michael Wang does not appear to have fully regained his soft shooting stroke and the Quakers were playing away from home, before a full house, on national television. Still, Steve Donahue’s squad maintained complete control of the game. Their four-game hiatus from victory looked like a thing of the past. (I consider the losses to Princeton just a low point in a season where low points inevitability happen.)

Read more…

Ivy hoops weekend takeaways – Jan. 18-19, 2019

Women’s

Brown’s offense is too potent to miss Ivy League Tournament again 

If Brown misses the Ivy League Tournament for a second straight season with as much offensive firepower as it has, it’ll really be a shame.

Brown senior guard Shayna Mehta’s career-high 37 points led the way, and the Bears’ elder Mehta has been one of the league’s standout scorers for a long time now, going back to her Ivy Rookie of the Year campaign in 2015-16.

But Mehta wasn’t alone in gouging a strong Yale defense in the Bears’ 86-71 win over the Bulldogs Friday. Seniors Erika Steeves and Taylor Will, who missed Ivy play last season due to injury, and junior Justine Gaziano combined for 43 points on 18-for-34 shooting. The Bears overwhelmed Yale inside and out, topping Yale by double digits at Pizzitola Sports Center while scoring 80-plus points for the second straight season.

Read more…

Inside Ivy Hoops – Jan. 15, 2019

In the latest episode of Inside Ivy Hoops, Ivy Hoops Online editor Mike Tony is joined by all-time Cornell basketball great Jeff Foote and IHO writer Rob Browne.

Mike and Rob preview last weekend’s intriguing Princeton-Penn and Harvard-Dartmouth men’s games while looking ahead to this weekend’s men’s and women’s action:

 

Jeff Foote reflects on his time at Cornell, his keeping tabs on Cornell, Penn and Miami men’s basketball (which has played six games against Ivies the past four seasons), his professional basketball career, his team’s legacy in the conference’s upward trajectory, the Ivy League Tournament and much more:

 

Mike weighs in on why Cornell’s reign atop the Ivy League from the 2007-08 through 2009-10 seasons still feels special:

Penn men left looking for answers after being swept by Princeton

On an afternoon when the University of Pennsylvania honored the 1978-1979 Final Four team, the present-day Quakers played more like the 2014-15 squad in a 62-53 defeat to their arch rivals from Princeton. In another game of sloppy offense and tenacious defense from both sides, the Tigers (9-5, 2-0 Ivy) prevailed on the strength of their rebounding and free throw shooting.

An AJ Brodeur jump shot in the paint capped a 12-1 Penn (10-6, 0-2) run, giving the Red & Blue a 20-10 lead with 6:55 left in the first half. The lid then seemed to close for the rest of the half for the Quakers as the Tigers bounced back with two 6-0 runs to finish the half tied at 27.

Read more…

Princeton stymies Penn again, notches season sweep

Princeton notched its fourth season sweep of Penn in the past five seasons Saturday at the Palestra, once again overcoming an early deficit to grind out an ugly win over its arch-rival and defending Ivy League champion.

The 62-53 victory for Princeton (9-5, 2-0 Ivy) came despite the Tigers making just three treys (on 16 attempts), committing five more turnovers (13) than Penn (10-6, 0-2), missing 17 of their first 19 shots from the floor while turning the ball over seven times in the first 13 minutes and shooting 32.3 percent from the floor overall (20-for-62). Princeton’s emerging standout Richmond Aririguzoh turned the ball over three times in the first four minutes, and Penn built an early 20-10 lead with 6:55 to go in the first half, a throwback (on a night of throwbacks) to Penn’s 19-10 lead early in the first half at Princeton last Saturday.

Read more…

Inside Ivy Hoops – Jan. 10, 2019

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:

Can Princeton contend for an Ivy League title?

With back-to-back wins over No. 17 Arizona State and the defending Ivy League champion Penn Quakers, the Princeton men’s basketball team has their fans wondering whether the Tigers can contend for a league title.

A few weeks ago, thoughts of an Ivy League championship seemed wholly unrealistic.  After an exhibition win over Division III DeSales, the Tigers opened their Division I season inauspiciously with double-digit losses at Lehigh and at home against Farleigh Dickinson. Princeton’s prospects brightened after three straight wins over Monmouth, Maine and George Washington; however, both Monmouth and Maine were winless when Princeton played them, and George Washington was 1-6 when the Colonials invaded Jadwin Gym.

Another pair of double-digit losses to St. Joseph’s and St. John’s suggested that Princeton hadn’t cured its defensive woes of a season ago when the Tigers allowed nearly 72 points per game, worst in the Ivy League.  Then the Tigers suffered their most lopsided loss in program history, when the Duke Blue Devils thrashed Princeton by an astonishing 51 points at Cameron Indoor Stadium in a nationally televised game.

Read more…

Penn poised to bounce back against Princeton

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Red and Blue. After a euphoric start to the season with wins over New Mexico, Miami and, of course, the reigning national champions, the Quakers then had a bit of downturn, losing in blowout fashion to Toledo and enduring an embarrassing defeat to the heretofore winless Monmouth Hawks. Naturally, the last two losses can be explained as starters freshman Michael Wang and senior Max Rothschild were both out due to injury. Injuries are indeed part of the sport (just ask Harvard), and losing two productive members of the frontcourt rendered this Penn team substantially smaller and guard-heavy. (Oh, did I also mention that Penn had already lost its leading scorer from last year as well?) Although “super-stud” AJ Brodeur did his best, it hard for any team to win in this fashion.  

Read more…

Princeton has become a different team going into Penn rematch

Mike Tony posted an excellent recap of Saturday’s heart-stopping overtime victory by the Tigers over arch-rival Penn. I thought I’d share some of my own observations.

Pete Carril was on hand to welcome back one of his favorite teams, the 1969 Ivy Champions, celebrating the 50th anniversary of that title. Most of the members of that team returned, led by NBA first-rounders Geoff Petrie and John Hummer. The first game in Jadwin Gym, also against Penn, was played 50 years ago this month.

The Tigers of January are a far different team than the one that opened the Division I season absorbing a sound thrashing by Lehigh in Bethlehem. Let’s break down the changes, most of which have been positive.

Read more…