The Harvard players celebrated and pointed to their fans as the TV cameras gazed admiringly upon the champs as they whooped it up after the buzzer sounded on yet another banner season for the Ivy’s newest dynasty. Meanwhile, silent Yale fans gritted their teeth, the inhumanity of their arch rival celebrating on their home court too much to bear. Tommy Amaker happily took in the moment, pointing to the stands and clapping briefly before moving swiftly and purposefully toward his team, directing them to the locker room. The message was clear. Winning the Ivy (again) is a great accomplishment, but Harvard’s work is not done. The Crimson have an eye on bigger things.
Harvard was overmatched from the tip against Arizona, as the athletic Wildcats sprinted out to a 17-2 lead and never let the Crimson back in. Mark Lyons was unstoppable, scoring 27 points on 12-17 shooting. Harvard struggled to find open looks all day, shooting an icy 27.6% from the field. Wes Saunders, who has carried the load for the Ivy champs all season, could not find the bottom of the net on this day, going 1-11.
The Crimson rolled right past the Lobos on Thursday night, clogging the paint and contesting every shot, en route to holding New Mexico to just 37.5% shooting. Coach Tommy Amaker”s game plan was executed to perfection, as Siyani Chambers” quickness inside forced New Mexico to collapse, opening up space for Laurent Rivard (5-9) and
Christian Webster (3-5 from 3PT) to blast off from deep.
Rivard hit a 3 with 6:21 to play to put Harvard ahead and the Crimson never relinquished the lead. Saunders followed with a jumper from above the elbow, and Kenyatta Smith made a great move on the block to push the lead to 59-53 with 4:42 left. From there, the Crimson went
Chaos reigns yet again in the Ivy League. At one point on Saturday night, Dartmouth and Penn led Princeton and Harvard by healthy margins. Princeton would fight back to win, 68-63 on Senior Night, moving to 9-2 in the conference. Harvard, on the other hand, was unable to dig itself out of a 16 point hole, and fell a game behind Princeton in the loss column when Christian Webster”s desperation three at the buzzer fell short. Meanwhile, Brown completed a surprising road sweep of the C”s when Tucker Halpern”s step back three at the buzzer splashed through the net to spoil Senior Night at a stunned Levien Gymnasium. In Ithaca, Yale”s victory over undermanned Cornell was the only ho-hum result of the night.
Tony Hicks is making a serious late push for Rookie of the Year. The award seemed completely wrapped up for Siyani Chambers a few weeks ago, but Hicks is averaging 23.8 ppg in his last four games, including 24 points in Saturday”s victory vs. Harvard. Hicks convincingly outplayed Chambers, who struggled to a 1-5 shooting, 7 turnover performance. Fellow freshman Darien Nelson-Henry was the other half of this superfrosh tandem, as the big man took advantage of Harvard”s size disadvantage, going for 18 points and 11 rebounds. Henry Brooks and Miles Cartwright also pitched in with 12 a piece for the Quakers, who had one of the wildest
up and down weekends imaginable, falling at home to Dartmouth before outplaying league-leading Harvard for the unconventional split.
On a night in which he passed Doug Davis to move into 2nd on the all-time scorers’ list in Princeton history, Ian Hummer took after his old teammate and refused to allow Harvard to walk away with the Ivy title in hand. With the game hanging in the balance in the final minutes, Hummer played with the desperate urgency of a senior who recognized the enormity of the moment. His put-back to take the lead, followed by a strong move to get position down low and get fouled were game-changers in the last two minutes, but Hummer brought the intensity from the tip. He had eight rebounds in the game’s first eight minutes and set the tone for his squad early on.
The start of back-to-back Ivy weekends did not disappoint as we
were treated to some thrilling contests last night. Storylines abound at all levels of the league, so let”s just jump right in.
The biggest story of the weekend was Columbia crashing out of the title race after getting swept by the Ps, just like old times. The Lions put forth a valiant effort on national TV against Princeton, but couldn”t convert late and went down 72-66 at Jadwin, falling to 1-3 on the young season. Despite a career night from Maodo Lo (16 pts) and only three team turnovers, the Lions couldn”t stop a hot shooting Tigers squad. Princeton shot 51% from the field and a scorching 73% (8-11) from three. Hummer was just 2-8 from the field, but made his impact in other ways, getting to the stripe and knocking down 12-14, and dishing out seven assists to go with seven rebounds. TJ Bray had another great performance, hitting 6-10 including 3-3 from deep and committing zero turnovers. Brendon Connolly, who has seen his minutes dwindle as of late, knocked down a pretty running hooking shot to put the game away late. Princeton continues its perfect homestand and moves to 3-0. Brown and Yale visit Jadwin next weekend.
Ian Hummer– The Princeton star is a large favorite to win this award. The Tigers” offense is heavily dependent on his production and ability to slice through the lane. Hummer is probably the toughest guy to defend in the league because even if you can keep him from scoring, he”ll find his teammates for open looks, as he currently leads the league in assist rate, chalking up dimes on over 36% of his teammates” field goals when he”s in the game. If Princeton wins the league, it”s hard to see a scenario in which Hummer doesn”t win this award.
Stats: 2nd in PPG,
4th in APG, 4th in RPG, 9th in SPG, 6th in BPG. He”s scored in double figures in 13 of 15 games, and has had 25 in three games (high of 28 at Lafayette and at Elon).
Wesley Saunders- Harvard”s leader plays nearly 90% of his team”s minutes and is very efficient from the field. Saunders” ability to score and draw fouls is essentially unmatched in the league, and he”s even shooting 50% from deep right now (7-14). If Harvard wins the title and Hummer”s stats don”t blow everyone else out of the water, it”s probably Saunders” trophy to lose.
Stats: 1st in PPG, 5th in APG, 16th in RPG, 1st in SPG, 15th in BPG. Has scored in double figures in all 16 games, and has had a season-high 21 twice (vs. Vermont and vs. Rice).
Believe it or not, the conference slate is merely three days away, and in some sense, that”s a bit of a shame because the Ivy League has really been cranking into gear over the last couple weeks, sticking it to some big conference squads. Wins over California, Bucknell, and Providence (among other impressive performances) have elevated the league all the way to 18th in the Pomeroy conference rankings and to 23rd in the conference RPI. While some had feared that in such a down year, the Ivy champ would receive a dreaded #15 or even #16 seed in the NCAA tournament, it now seems that the Ancient 8 king will earn a more palatable #13 seed, according to Joe Lunardi”s first edition of Bracketology, released January 8th. Furthermore, all eight Ivy teams have defenses ranked in the top 215
teams of Division I, but only three have offenses ranked in the top 215. With that in mind, we are going to buck convention and predict that offense wins championships as those three top 215 offenses make up our top 3 spots in this week”s Power Poll.