Tyrese Martin missed a free throw, Zach Hunsaker grabbed the defensive rebound and the Brown Bears dribbled it out. It was over. Brown had picked up a win over the 8-3 Rhode Island Rams of the Atlantic 10, who had only one previous loss against a nonranked team and none against a non-power five team. Brown had capped its Division I nonconference schedule with arguably its most impressive win of the season. The Bears had gotten contributions from both their star upperclassmen and their budding underclassmen.
The only nagging feeling came from this question: Why hadn’t they been playing like this all year?
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.
The biggest story of the off-season was Miye Oni being selected in June’s NBA Draft. The Yale junior and reigning Ivy Player of the Year decided to leave school early and leave his name in the draft. Despite falling to the late second round, a perilous spot to making an NBA roster, Oni impressed in the Summer League and earned a guaranteed contract with the Utah Jazz. He is playing just as well in the pre-season and looks to be a real steal for the Jazz.
- The Dartmouth men have completed its staff for the 2019-2020 season with the hiring of Steve Ongley as an assistant coach. Ongley spent last year on Jim Engles’ staff at Columbia, where he worked with the front court players. Prior to that, he was an assistant for four years at Colby College, the alma mater of Big Green head coach Dave McLaughlin.
Ongley replaces John Andrzejek, a Columbia graduate and one-time Lions student manager who joined former boss Kyle Smith’s staff at Washington State. There has been no announcement from Columbia for its replacement of Ongley.
- Princeton women’s coach Carla Berube finished the hiring of her new staff, with the announcement of Helen Tau as director of basketball operations. Tau, a 2014 graduate of the University of Texas who was a walk-on in her senior year, spent 2014-2016 as a graduate assistant for the Longhorns and then worked for Georgetown as director of video operations the last two seasons.
Tau replaces Jessica Imhof, who went to the University of North Carolina to join former Tigers coach Courtney Banghart.
On Thursday, Brown coach Mike Martin announced the Bears 2019-2020 schedule. The 13-game nonconference schedule is highlighted by a visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium to visit Duke on Dec. 28. The team will also visit St. John’s, while welcoming in-state rival Rhode Island to the Pizzitola Sports Center for the first time since a 88-85 overtime loss in 2016.
The conference schedule begins at defending champion Yale on Friday, January 17, followed by five straight games at home against Yale, Cornell, Columbia, Dartmouth and Harvard. The Bears then hit the road for six of their last eight, including four in a row against Penn, Princeton, Columbia and Cornell. Bruno welcomes the Tigers on February 28, followed by a senior night contest against the Quakers. The regular season concludes with a match against regular season favorites Harvard and a visit to Leede Arena to take on Dartmouth on March 7.
Another week full of Ivy news, with none bigger than Courtney Banghart’s move from Princeton to North Carolina. The former Big Green All-Ivy guard and Tigers head coach signed a five-year contract to take over a Tar Heels program that needs a new start. Per Jeff Gravely of WRAL in Raleigh, Banghart’s contract starts at $650,000 in 2019-2020 and increases to $730,000 in 2024-2025. Athletic and academic bonuses are included that can increase the yearly salary by $10,000 to $470,000.
Mar. 20, 2019: a sparse but committed crowd enters the Pizzitola Sports Center as Brown men’s basketball hosts a playoff game, its first in five years. Hosting the UAB Blazers, the event is part of the College Basketball Invitational, a minor national tournament. The event is meant to mark the end of a historic season for Brown. Though it ended in disappointment, the regular season yielded 19 wins, tied a program record, so the event should be fun and happy.
But the atmosphere is muted because the situation is more complicated than that.
Eighty years after Brown’s appearance in the first ever NCAA Tournament, the Bears won their first postseason tournament game Wednesday night, also setting a program record for wins in a single season.
Brown defeated UAB, 83-78, at the Pizzitola Sports Center in the first round of the CBI, with senior guard and Ivy Defensive Player of the Year Obi Okolie extending his collegiate career at least one more game with a career-high 26 points on the strength of 7-for-14 shooting from three-point range.