A take on the top 10 teams in Ivy men’s hoops history

Editor’s note: Ivy Hoops Online writer Richard Kent has followed Ancient Eight men’s basketball for decades and after consultation with players, coaches and fans has compiled his personal list of the top 10 men’s hoops teams since the formation of the Ivy League as we know it in 1955. No top 10 list in this category is going to look the same, so if you have a top 10 of your own that you’d like to share, please share it in a comment below. 

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Princeton has become a different team going into Penn rematch

Mike Tony posted an excellent recap of Saturday’s heart-stopping overtime victory by the Tigers over arch-rival Penn. I thought I’d share some of my own observations.

Pete Carril was on hand to welcome back one of his favorite teams, the 1969 Ivy Champions, celebrating the 50th anniversary of that title. Most of the members of that team returned, led by NBA first-rounders Geoff Petrie and John Hummer. The first game in Jadwin Gym, also against Penn, was played 50 years ago this month.

The Tigers of January are a far different team than the one that opened the Division I season absorbing a sound thrashing by Lehigh in Bethlehem. Let’s break down the changes, most of which have been positive.

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Princeton pulls away past George Washington, 73-52

On the most consequential night of the still young Ivy League season, the Tigers did their part by extending their modest winning streak to three games.  Although their effort will be overshadowed by Cornell’s near-miss at Syracuse in the Boeheim Bowl and Yale’s big win at Miami, the Tigers’ play against the A10’s George Washington deserves some recognition.

Princeton won, 73-52, but the final score is a misleading indicator of the proceedings. The outcome was very much in doubt after 12 minutes of play in the second half. While Princeton held single-digit leads through much of the game, the Colonials “hung around,” as we say, appearing poised to make a run at any time.

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Devin Cannady continues his hot streak in another Princeton win

Princeton’s second straight game against an 0-6 opponent, this time the Maine Black Bears, offered the Tigers a chance to work on some of the bothersome trends that emerged in the first four games.

Shooting has been a real, although unexpected, issue throughout the roster except for Devin Cannady. Maine, coached by former Tiger women’s coach Richard Barron, has found it difficult to find its footing in Barron’s first season after several years at the helm of the Maine women.

The Tigers, getting a tremendous lift from Devin Cannady’s season-high 28, controlled this one throughout, leading by as many as 19 before closing the door at Maine, 73-59. Cannady was 7-for-10 from the field, 5-for-8 from beyond the arc and a perfect 9-for-9 from the charity stripe. Several of his long-range bombs drew “oohs” and “aahs” from the Bangor fans.

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Ivy 60 for 60: Geoff Petrie

Geoff Petrie (24) averaged 21.8 points, 4.6 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game during his Princeton career. (Princeton Athletics)

Following our countdown of the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s men’s basketball history this summer, Ivy Hoops Online is delighted to continue celebrating the 60th anniversary of modern Ivy League basketball by honoring the top 60 players in Ivy hoops history (in no particular order). For the next entry in our Ivy 60 for 60 series, we cover one of the greatest players in Princeton basketball history.

When Butch van Breda Kolff left Princeton for the glitz and glamor of the NBA after the 1967 season, the Tiger tank was anything but empty. Among the players Pete Carril found on his roster were two future NBA draftees, John Hummer and the subject of this profile, Geoff Petrie.

Petrie was, quite simply, the best player I have ever seen in a Tiger uniform. I did not see Bradley in person, and all must acknowledge that he was the most important player, if not the greatest, in the history of the League. Nevertheless, a strong case can be made that Petrie is the best player ever. (Paul Hutter makes it in his wonderful 2014 volume, The Golden Age of Ivy League Basketball.)

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Princeton all-time moment No. 1: Carril goes out a hero

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. We started with Princeton because, hey, it”s Princeton.

The 1995-96 season was Pete Carril’s 29th at the helm of the Tigers. At 65 years of age, he was slowing down, inevitably, and he knew it. His last great run had ended in 1992 with a fourth straight Ivy title, the only time one class achieved such a streak. Since then his teams were Ivy also-rans, failing to defeat archrival Penn even once in the last three years. His top assistant, Bill Carmody, was entering his 14th year on the bench. Carmody clearly aspired to run his own show. Retirement rumors would swirl around Carril all season.

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