Ivy men’s week five roundup: Ancient Eight’s Top 10

After another exciting weekend of Ivy hoops that saw all the home teams holding serve, the league standings have a tie at the top, and seven teams are separated by only two games. 

Yale continued its dominance of Princeton, winning for the eighth time in their last nine matchups.  Meanwhile, Penn, losers of three straight league contests, won its third straight over Harvard in a must-win game at the Palestra. 

Cornell, missing Nazir Williams, took care of Brown, which was without Kalu Anya, Dan Friday and Malachi Ndur.  Dartmouth continued its strong league play with a victory over Columbia, its third league win it its last four contests and finds itself over .500 at the halfway point for the first time since 2009.

Saturday results
Yale over Princeton, 87-65
Penn over Harvard, 83-68
Cornell over Brown, 80-73
Dartmouth over Columbia, 83-73

Standings 
Cornell 5-2 (15-5, overall)
Princeton 5-2 (14-6)
Yale 4-3 (14-6)
Dartmouth 4-3 (8-13)
Harvard 3-4 (12-9)
Brown 3-4 (10-10)
Penn 3-4 (11-11)
Columbia 1-6 (6-16)

The second half of the schedule starts with a big back-to-back weekend, highlighted by a matchup between the league leaders at Jadwin Gymnasium and Yale looking for revenge against Dartmouth at Leede Arena.

Fri., Feb. 3
Yale at Harvard, 5:00 p.m.
Brown at Dartmouth, 6:00 p.m.
Columbia at Penn, 7:00 p.m.
Cornell at Princeton, 7:00 p.m.

Sat., Feb. 4
Yale at Dartmouth, 6:00 p.m.
Brown at Harvard, 6:00 p.m.
Columbia at Princeton, 6:00 p.m.
Cornell at Penn, 6:00 p.m.

Below are 10 of the top performances from the weekend: – 

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Yale men pull away with hot hands in 87-65 win over Princeton

Junior forward Matt Knowling delivered 12 points on 6-for-10 field-goal shooting, nine rebounds and two steals in Yale’s 87-65 win over Princeton at the John J. Lee Amphitheater Saturday. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Editor’s note: Ivy Hoops Online writers George “Toothless Tiger” Clark and Richard Kent deliver audio and written recaps, respectively, of Yale’s stunning second-half offensive outburst that secured a win over Princeton:   

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Yale men boosted by stellar on-ball defense from Mbeng

Yale coach James Jones called sophomore guard Bez Mbeng the best on-ball defender he’s ever coached. Mbeng played a critical role in Yale’s 70-63 win over Penn Saturday. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

A few things had to go well for Yale to beat Penn last night at John J. Lee Amphitheater and keep its Ivy League title hopes alive.

They did.

Sophomore guard Bez Mbeng played lockdown defense on Penn’s dynamic Jordan Dingle in the second half, holding him to nine points after intermission en route to Yale’s 70-63 win over Penn.

”I love guarding the best player on the other team,” Mbeng said.

”Bez is the best on-ball defender I’ve ever coached,” Yale coach James Jones said, offering high praise in his 24th year at the Bulldogs’ helm after coaching other standout defenders like Trey Phills and Jalen Gabbidon. “He did a fantastic job in the second half on the league’s best offensive player and one of the best in the nation.”

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Three Quakeaways from Penn men’s loss at Yale

Junior guard Jordan Dingle’s 27 points, largely consisting of six three-pointers made on 11 attempts, weren’t enough to avoid a 70-63 defeat at Yale Saturday. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Penn squandered a golden opportunity to gain position in the race for Ivy Madness on Saturday after another brutal second-half offensive performance led to a 70-63 loss at Yale.

The Quakers (9-11, 2-4 Ivy) lost despite a 27-point performance from superstar Jordan Dingle in which the guard hit six three-pointers. After a nice hook shot from Penn sophomore forward Nick Spinoso tied the game at 49 coming out of the under-12 media timeout in the second half, the Red and Blue promptly committed turnovers on their next seven offensive possessions over nearly four minutes of game time.

Dingle, as great as he was on Saturday, committed turnovers on three of those trips, including an offensive foul.

Despite that brutal stretch, Penn still nabbed a 54-53 lead with roughly 5:50 remaining after guard George Smith hit an open three-pointer off an inside-out feed from center Max Lorca-Lloyd. But Yale (13-6, 3-3) immediately responded with a go-ahead jumper from junior guard August Mahoney.

Mahoney would later stick the dagger in the Red and Blue with roughly 90 seconds left. After Dingle hit a tough three to draw Penn within 62-60, Mahoney responded out of a Bulldogs timeout with an and-one finish over Spinoso which extended the Yale lead to five and effectively ended the game.

The Quakers lost a game which KenPom and Vegas expected them to lose. But the way they got there should leave fans with reason for both consternation and hope.

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Yale men hang on to best Brown at home, 81-78

Yale sophomore guard Bez Mbeng drew the assignment of guarding Kino Lilly Jr. in the Bulldogs’ win over Brown Monday. Lilly scored 28 points in 35 minutes, but Mbeng often draws the toughest assignment on defense. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Yale men’s basketball needed a strong performance from a shot-maker against Brown.

Junior guard August Mahoney provided that spark with a team-high 20 points on 7-for-9 shooting, including 4-for-5 shooting from deep, helping will Yale to an 81-78 victory over Brown in a near must-win situation at John J. Lee Amphitheater Monday.

“I know my shots are going to fall,” Mahoney said.

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Cornell men explode in second half to notch comeback victory over Yale

Brian Earl addresses the media after he was hired by longtime athletic director Andy Noel as Cornell men’s basketball coach in April 2016. Nearly seven years later, Earl has rejuvenated the program, with his team delivering a dramatic win over Yale Friday on Noel’s last day on the job before retiring. (Cornell University)

ITHACA, N.Y. — With 12:06 remaining, the Cornell men faced a 68-53 deficit to Yale and seemingly had no answers on the defensive end. The Bulldogs were shooting nearly 69% from the field and were dominating the interior.

But all of a sudden, something clicked for the Big Red. Cornell finished the game on a 41-14 mega-run to defeat the defending league champions 94-82 and move into solo second in the Ivy League.

“We don’t necessarily care being down a lot,” Cornell coach Brian Earl said. “Yale’s a great team. They scored on us a lot, but the waves of us coming and never stopping I felt was good. Our guys hung in there.”

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Dartmouth men drop Yale to 0-2 in Ivy play in road upset

Dartmouth junior forward Dusan Neskovic scored an efficient 24 points in 32 minutes, making all four of his three-point attempts and shooting 7-for-10 from the field in the Big Green’s. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Yale men’s basketball was the clear favorite to claim a fifth Ivy League regular-season crown in the last seven seasons under James Jones.

Suddenly, though, the Bulldogs are 0-2 in Ivy play.

“For the last two hours, I did not see anything which resembled Yale basketball, and tip your cap to Dartmouth,” Jones said after his Bulldogs lost to Dartmouth, 81-77, at John J. Lee Amphitheater Friday night.

Yale had not given up more than 72 points in a game all season.

In fact, Yale (10-5, 0-2) hadn’t lost consecutive Ivy games since March 2019 and had not lost to Dartmouth since March 7, 2015, a game that opened the door for Harvard to tie Yale atop the Ivy standings and win an Ivy playoff game to nab its most recent NCAA Tournament berth.

Dartmouth (5-11, 1-1) held a narrow 34-33 lead at the half. Yale’s shooting woes from three-point land carried over from the Columbia loss last Friday, as the home team shot 0-for-8 from deep in the half. The Bulldogs finished 2-for-14 (14.3%).

Yale fell behind by as many as seven in the second half (54-47) but knotted the score at 58 on a Matt Knowling shot from close range.

Dartmouth then pulled ahead, 77-71. Yale cut it to 79-76 with junior guard August Mahoney on the free throw line with under five seconds remaining. Mahoney made the first and intentionally missed the second, but he committed a lane violation. Then the visitors added two free throws to seal the win.

“Winning games on the road is extremely hard,” Dartmouth coach David McLaughlin said. “We executed well.”

Dartmouth junior forward Dusan Neskovic posted 24 points on 7-for-10 field-goal shooting, including 4-for-4 from three-point range, in a standout performance. Sophomore guard Ryan Cornish contributed 18 points in just 23 minutes.

There were nine ties and nine lead changes.

“We tried to mix up our defenses,” Jones said. “Our team defense was not there.”

Yale was led in scoring by Knowling with 17 points. Sophomore guard Bez Mbeng had 15 and Mahoney 13. Both Mbeng and fellow sophomore guard John Poulakidas fouled out.

Yale is next in action Saturday night at home against Harvard. Dartmouth visits Providence to take on Brown after its overtime loss to Harvard there Friday night.

Yale men outlast Fairfield, 77-64

Remember Yale’s romp over Vermont last month?

Yale was down at the half by 30-27 and blitzed Vermont 46-14 in the second half. The Elis played a similar game against Fairfield at the Leo D. Mahoney Arena last night, winning 77-64 after being down 29-24 at intermission.

In a game marred by 41 foul calls and 55 free throws, Yale shot 62% in the second half in an eventually dominant win.

Fairfield (4-7) opened up a 14-5 lead, and it looked like the Bulldogs were still jet-lagged from their long trip back from Lexington, Ky. after a loss to the Wildcats, which included a three-hour layover in Raleigh, N.C.

”We got off to another slow start and we didn’t react well to it,” coach James Jones said. “[In] the second half, we got to play more Yale basketball.”

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Yale men can’t dig out of Hinkle hole in 71-61 loss at Butler

You can’t spot a power conference team a 22-7 lead on the road before 7,042 screaming fans and expect a good outcome. Yale didn’t get one Tuesday night at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse, where Butler defeated Yale, 71-61.

Yale (8-2) did fight back and cut the Butler lead to eight at the 3:24 mark of the second half. But sharpshooter Simas Lukosius hit two dagger threes in the last minute to preserve the victory for Butler (7-3).

“It was a hard-fought game. Our guys didn’t go away,” coach James Jones said. “Those first 10 minutes we did a poor job of taking care of the ball.”

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Yale men suffer first loss of season at Colorado, 65-62

Colorado beat KenPom No. 3 Tennessee and Associated Press No. 24 Texas A&M earlier this month by a combined 40 points.

But it took the Buffaloes – including Yale graduate transfer and defensive stalwart Jalen Gabbidon – all they could muster to hold off Yale Sunday in Boulder.

The Bulldogs fell, 65-62, to Colorado, their first loss of the season.

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