As the Princeton men’s basketball team was coasting past the Missouri Tigers on Saturday en route to the program’s first trip to the Sweet 16 in the modern NCAA Tournament era, my phone began to buzz with text messages from friends and family members, many of whom were asking the same question: How is Princeton doing this?
Editor’s note: IHO reporter George “Toothless Tiger” Clark delivers an in-depth audio dispatch on the Princeton men’s and women’s clashes with Cornell while IHO reporter Nathan Solomon gives us the written rundown of the pivotal men’s game in the Ivy title race:
In the second consecutive game without sophomore guard Nazir Williams, the Cornell men capitalized on a hot start to lead by 10 at the half.
But Princeton flipped the switch in the second half, scoring 54 points and connecting on 66% of its shots to fend off the Big Red, 89-82, Friday at Jadwin Gymnasium.
The second meeting between the Tigers and the Big Red was a bigger blowout than the first. On Jan. 8, the Berube Brigade rolled over the Big Red in Ithaca, 65-41. This evening’s rematch at Jadwin Gym was a defensive tour de force for the Tigers as they held Cornell to 9.25 points per quarter while scoring 18.75 themselves.
- Ben Baskin of Sports Illustrated published a longform article Thursday on former Penn head coach Jerome Allen and his part in a recruitment scandal that saw the Ivy great accept money from a parent to place an unqualified student-athlete onto the school’s recruited athlete list. The author wrote his article, which is available online and in the print edition, “with the aid of court transcripts and exhibits, financial records, news reports and interviews with three dozen of his friends, classmates, teachers, coaches, players, mentors and coworkers, many speaking anonymously for fear of personal and professional ramifications.”
The article provided the following new information: During his playing career, Allen faced a series of civil suits over unpaid debts—$5,000 owed to a car-leasing company, $13,000 to a bank, $6,700 to a landlord.
– While Allen was coaching Penn, the school sued him for nearly $25,000 for failing to pay off two decades of accrued interest on a loan he had taken out as a student
Around 7:15 Thursday morning, Brown Athletics sent out a tweet that implied men’s head coach Mike Martin was receiving a contract extension:
4 years as a student-athlete at
@BrownUniversity and 7 as @BrownBasketball head coach and, thankfully, many more to come for @mmartinbrown! #evertrue
A little over an hour later, Jon Rothstein tweeted out a more definitive message:
Brown’s Mike Martin has received a long term contract extension, per release.
However, when Ivy Hoops Online requested a copy of the release from Brown Athletics that afternoon, we were informed that the department could not “confirm or deny that there was an extension.”
Former Princeton men’s basketball coach Bill Carmody announced his retirement from coaching late Tuesday afternoon, stepping down as coach at Holy Cross. In a career that spanned over 40 years, Carmody spent 18 of them with the Tigers as an assistant and head coach. He finishes with a record of 342-308 as a Division I head coach at Princeton, Northwestern and Holy Cross, including a 92-25 (.786) mark with the Orange & Black. Between 1996-2000, he led the Tigers to a 50-6 (.893) Ivy record, two first-place finishes, and a first round victory over UNLV in the 1998 NCAA Tournament.
- Following a 11-plus week paid suspension, Auburn University reinstated former Penn assistant coach Ira Bowman to his similar position on Saturday afternoon. The 1996 Ivy League Player of the Year was suspended by Auburn just before the SEC Tournament, after former Penn coach Jerome Allen testified that Bowman was involved in a scheme resulting in bribes by Florida businessman Philip Esformes to get his son, Morris Esformes, on the basketball roster for the fall of 2015.
Sam Blum of AL.com wrote that an Auburn athletics spokesman confirmed the news but did not have the results of the school’s investigation or information regarding the reasoning for Bowman’s reinstatement. AL.com has filed an open records request to obtain this information. Bowman returned to his reported $250,000 a year job, just in time to help with one of the biggest recruiting weekends in program history.
Kevin Bonner, Penn’s senior associate athletic director, governance and administration, did not respond to an email from IHO regarding the reinstatement, the Auburn investigation or any Penn investigation of Bowman.
The Princeton women’s team finished the 2017-2018 season 24-6 overall and 12-2 in the Ivy League. They opened up conference play with a 70-55 victory at the Palestra over two-time defending champion Penn and never looked back on their way to the regular season title. They dominated Yale and Penn in the Ivy Tournament to claim the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, their seventh appearance in the last nine years. Their magical season ended in a first round loss to the University of Maryland, the nation’s #16 team.
The Tigers had the Ivy League Player of the Year in sophomore forward Bella Alarie, who averaged 13.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 2.3 assists per game. Alarie, the league’s Rookie of the Year and a first team All-Ivy member in 2016-2017, was joined on this year’s first team by senior forward Leslie Robinson. Robinson, who was selected to last year’s second team All-Ivy, finished the season averaging 10.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per contest.
Courtney Banghart was named the Ivy League Coach of the Year for the second time in her career and the first time since she led the school to an undefeated 30-0 regular season record in 2014-2015. The former two-time first team All-Ivy Dartmouth guard completed this year with her sixth regular season Ivy championship, eighth 20-plus win season and eighth 11-plus conference win season in her 11th year at Old Nassau.