Harvard knows bigger challenges are ahead after sweeping Dartmouth

HANOVER, N.H. – Animated is not a word normally used to describe Tommy Amaker, but there he was Saturday night at Leede Arena exhorting his team on, almost screaming, at least as much as Amaker is capable of such a thing.

The timing seemed strange. Just past the midway point of the second half, his Bryce Aiken-less Harvard team had just started to put some distance between itself and a pesky Dartmouth team that pushed the Crimson fairly hard the week before at Lavietes Pavilion and was only a four-point underdog (sports gambling recently became legal in the state of New Hampshire, for those who care). Harvard wasn’t playing its best game, but it weren’t playing poorly, either.

Read moreHarvard knows bigger challenges are ahead after sweeping Dartmouth

Déjà vu for Harvard men at Dartmouth in Crimson win to sweep Big Green

One week later, and not much has changed.

Harvard once again came close to blowing a double-digit lead in the final minutes but again managed to hold on for just long enough to come away from Hanover its eighth straight win, 70-66, and a sweep of Dartmouth.

Read moreDéjà vu for Harvard men at Dartmouth in Crimson win to sweep Big Green

Harvard men hold on versus Dartmouth, 67-62, without Bryce Aiken

With Bryce Aiken watching from the sideline in a walking boot, Harvard withstood a late push from Dartmouth to take its Ivy opener, 67-62, at home.

The first half belonged to senior center Chris Lewis, who had 11 points and was perfect from the floor, while his freshman frontcourt partner Chris Ledlum led the Crimson (12-4, 1-0 Ivy) in the second half with 11 of his own. It was a game of highs and lows for Tommy Amaker’s squad, who withstood Dartmouth’s hot start and good shooting from behind the arc (41%) in the first half, but almost squandered a 12-point lead in the final minutes.

Read moreHarvard men hold on versus Dartmouth, 67-62, without Bryce Aiken

Harvard’s Seth Towns to miss entire 2019-20 season

One of the Ivy League’s biggest mysteries of the last two years has finally (mostly) been solved. Harvard has announced that Seth Towns, the 2018 Ivy League Player of the Year, will undergo surgery on his left knee and miss the entire 2019-20 campaign.

Towns finished the 2017-18 regular season with 15.8 points per game, including 18.6 per Ivy contest.  The versatile 6′ 7″ forward hit 49.3% of his three-point attempts, while averaging 5.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists per night. In addition to earning the league’s top award, Towns was named a Lou Henson All-America and an AP Honorable Mention All-American.

Read moreHarvard’s Seth Towns to miss entire 2019-20 season

Harvard takes No. 5 Maryland to the limit before falling short, 80-73

For a while, Black Friday looked completely Crimson.

Harvard gave the No. 5 team in the country all it could handle in the semifinals of the Orlando Invitational Friday, holding onto a double-digit lead well into the first half and attaining a 51-44 lead with 11:45 to play.

But Maryland took a lead with 6:41 remaining that it would never relinquish en route to an 80-73 victory.

Read moreHarvard takes No. 5 Maryland to the limit before falling short, 80-73

Thoughts on early Ivy men’s action

DINGLE’S DEBUT

Jordan Dingle’s 24 points in Penn’s 81-80 win at Alabama marked the highest scoring total by a rookie in his debut in school history.

Steve Donahue’s system of interchangeable players on offense has allowed rookies to be major contributors in any given matchup, so it’ll be interesting to see how much of the offensive load Dingle carries going forward. But the fact that Dingle scored 16 points in the final 12:40, including the game-winning shot with six seconds left, is impressive. Freshmen often fade late, but in his first ever collegiate game, Dingle became dominant instead.

Read moreThoughts on early Ivy men’s action

Ivy League coaching carousel

After three years without any head coaching changes, things changed in a big way at the end of April.  Princeton’s Courtney Banghart left after 12 seasons and seven Ivy titles to rebuild the program at the University of North Carolina. The Tigers search lasted a month, ending with the hiring of former UConn guard and long-time Tufts head coach Carla Berube.

On the men’s side, the conference almost lost James Jones to St. John’s, but the Yale coach finished as the Red Storm’s runner-up.  Weeks later, Jones signed an extension that will keep him in New Haven until the end of the 2025-2026 campaign.  In May, Brown’s Mike Martin was reported to be at Holy Cross interviewing for the Crusaders job, but a probable extension kept him in Providence.

Several Ivy assistants made the jump to head coaching positions with Columbia’s (and former Harvard’s) Kenny Blakeney heading to Howard, Penn’s Bernadette Laukaitis returning to Holy Family, Brown’s Tyler Simms going to Clark, and Brown’s Sara Binkhorst moving to Wheaton.

In the off-season’s strangest coaching news, Dartmouth promoted assistant coach Pete Hutchins to associate head coach on March 19th, only to see him jump to an assistant coaching position at George Mason on May 2nd.

The complete list of changes, from 2018-2019 to 2019-2020, for all 16 Ivy teams are noted below.

Read moreIvy League coaching carousel

Ivy hoops roundup – Sept. 25, 2019

  • Princeton’s Bella Alarie completed her last 3×3 tournaments with USA Basketball with a silver medal effort in  Edmonton this past weekend and a bronze medal showing in Montreal in early September.  Overall, her team came in seventh place in the 28-team field.
    The two-time Ivy Player of the Year, who also picked up a silver medal with USA Basketball at this summer’s Pan American Games, continues to improve her stock as she heads into her final year for the Tigers.  Michelle Williams of the WNBA listed Alarie as one of the 12 potential first-round picks in next years’s Draft, while Howard Megdal of High Post Hoops had her as the number five pick for the Minnesota Lynx.
  • Harvard men’s coach Tommy Amaker told Jon Rothstein that 2018 men’s Ivy League Player of the Year, Seth Towns, has been cleared for non-contact work.  Towns, a co-captain of this year’s Crimson team, missed all of last year due to a knee injury sustained in the 2018 Ivy Tournament final against Penn.
    Earlier this month, the senior from Columbus, Ohio, was one of 16 players attending the NCAA Elite Student-Athlete Symposium for Men’s Basketball in Indianapolis.

Read moreIvy hoops roundup – Sept. 25, 2019

Harvard men’s basketball releases 2019-20 schedule

The Harvard men announced a challenging 2019-2020 schedule, on Tuesday afternoon, which the Crimson faithful hope will prepare the team not only for its third straight regular season title, but its first Ivy Tournament championship and first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2015.

The 15 game nonconference schedule features the usual contests against in-state rivals, as well as trips to Toronto, Florida, D.C. and California.  The early part of the schedule will see the Crimson facing anywhere from four-to-five top-100 teams.

Read moreHarvard men’s basketball releases 2019-20 schedule

Ivy hoops roundup – June 29, 2019

  • The Brown men’s team officially hired Cooper Handelsman as an assistant coach and Sam Hershberger as its Director of Basketball Operations.  The Handelsman hiring was first reported at HoopDirt.com and later noted in IHO’s June 6 roundup.
    Handelsman was a point guard for Kenyon College (2011-2015), before spending the 2015-2016 season as Lehigh’s video coordinator.  He has been with the Hoop Group since the end of that season, and has been Director of Hoop Group Elite for the last two and half years.  Hershberger, a four year member of the Elon basketball team (2012-2016) spent 2017-2019 as a student manager at the University of Florida while he obtained his Master’s in Applied Physiology and applied Kinesiology.

    Read moreIvy hoops roundup – June 29, 2019