Reason for hope: A look ahead to 2022-23 for Penn men’s basketball

Penn men’s basketball is set to return nearly every significant rotation player from this season in 2022-23, led by Jordan Dingle.  (photo by Erica Denhoff)

I spent the first few minutes after Penn’s 67-61 loss to Yale in the Ivy Madness semifinals at Lavietes Pavilion mourning.

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Ivy Madness reporter’s notebook: Day 3

Princeton women’s basketball’s post-Ivy League Tournament final press conference was one of several revealing pressers during Ivy Madness. (photo by Rob Browne)

 

“This is the business we’ve chosen.” – Brian Earl and Hyman Roth

“We played for, I would say, a good 15 minutes tonight, but that’s not good enough against a good program.” – Columbia head coach Megan Griffith, following the Lions defeat to top-seeded Princeton

No matter what the coaches who did not earn victories on Saturday thought, I felt there were three really good games of college basketball on display at Lavietes Pavilion, including a fantastic opener that saw Princeton escape an upset big from Cornell, 77-73.  Hopefully, West Coast fans woke up at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning to catch it.

Here are some random thoughts and observations from the Ancient Eight’s Super Saturday:

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Four takeaways from the super Saturday semifinals at the Ivy League Tournament

Ivy Player of the Year Tosan Evbuomwan came through in the clutch in Princeton’s Ivy League Tournament semifinal win over Cornell, scoring 14 points in the final 10:14. (photo by Erica Denhoff)

After watching two scintillating semifinal games in the men’s basketball tournament at Lavietes Pavilion on Saturday, here are four takeaways from the perspective of a diehard Princeton fan:

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No. 2 Yale men push past No. 3 Penn, 67-61, to advance to Ivy League Tournament final

Webster’s defines “toughness” as the quality of being strong and not easily broken. The word and the definition define Yale men’s basketball.
Yale exhibited toughness throughout in defeating Penn, 67-61, to advance to the Ivy League championship game tomorrow at noon against Princeton, a winner in dramatic fashion over Cornell.
Both games were played at Harvard’s Lavietes Pavilion before 1,250 fans.
Yale held a 32-29 lead at the half off 50% shooting. The lead widened to 44-35 before Penn went on an extended run to take a 56-55 lead. After a timeout, the characteristic Yale toughness was apparent in a 7-1 run.
Penn cut the deficit to one, but a dominant Yale defense and a key bucket from Bez Mbeng closed out the win.
“It was another really good college basketball game,” Yale coach James Jones said. “We fought very hard.”
“We just couldn’t put the ball in the basket,” coach Steve Donahue said. “We had our open shots, I thought. It didn’t go in today.”
Penn shot 23-for-58 (39.7%) from the field and 11-for-33 (33.3%) when subtracting the shot output of sophomore guard Jordan Dingle, who notched a game-high 28 points on 12-for-25 shooting.
“Very disappointed that I couldn’t get it done this year with this group of guys,” Dingle said.
Azar Swain led Yale with 25 points on 9-for-15 shooting, including a 5-for-8 outing from three-point range. Captain Jalen Gabbidon was held to nine points, as Penn and Jelani Williams keyed on him. Gabbidon had a total of 53 points in the two earlier meetings between the teams. Swain had shot just 8-for-25 from the field in the teams’ previous two meetings, which they split.
“Azar’s been our guy, obviously, all year, but he was extremely efficient tonight,” Jones said.
Matt Knowling added 10 points for the Bulldogs with an efficient 5-for-9 shooting from the field.
Rookie forward/center Nick Spinoso scored 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting for Penn in just 22 minutes.
Yale committed only seven turnovers.
The Bulldogs improved to 18-11, and Penn finished its season at 12-16.
In attendance for the win were former Yale greats Butch Graves, 16-year NBA veteran Chris Dudley and Steve Leondis, who was recognized during the game and got to see a memorable win for their alma mater.

Ivy League Tournament: Men’s semifinals preview

 

“The expectations (for winning) are always there, they just felt even heavier this year (due to the pandemic).  There should be several asterisks next to it (being at the Ivy League Tournament) and that’s true of all the teams.” – Princeton coach Mitch Henderson

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2021-22 IHO All-Ivy Men’s Awards

The Ivy League announced its major men’s awards Tuesday, but we know this is the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Ivy Hoops Online’s 2021-22 All-Ivy Awards, as determined by IHO’s contributors:

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Princeton men claim outright Ivy title by pummeling Penn

Princeton junior forward and Ivy Player of the Year candidate Tosan Evbuomwan notched 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in 32 minutes in Princeton’s win over Penn Saturday night. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Princeton and Penn closed out the regular season at The Palestra this evening in the only Ivy matchup involving teams that will play next weekend in the Ivy League Tournament.

Since the field was set prior to this weekend, the games had no impact on the seeding for the tourney. But the way the Tigers manhandled their traditional rival on its homecourt in a 93-70 shellacking must have been as unsettling for the Quakers as it was exhilarating for the Tigers.

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Dartmouth men’s elder statesmen lead the way in Senior Day upset of Penn

Fifth-year forward Aaryn Rai posted a career-high 27 points and game-high 11 rebounds in Dartmouth’s win over Penn Saturday. (photo by Erica Denhoff)

In front of fans and family celebrating Senior Day, Dartmouth’s traditional seniors, fifth-year senior and graduate student led the way in an 84-70 defeat of Penn, keeping the Big Green’s Ivy League Tournament hopes alive.

Aaryn Rai, finishing up his fifth year in Hanover, paced Dartmouth (8-16, 5-8 Ivy) with a career-high 27 points, as well as a game-high 11 rebounds.  Graduate student Brendan Barry, along with four-year seniors Taurus Samuels, Garrison Wade and Wes Slajchert, helped the Big Green’s cause with a combined 44 points.

The Quakers (12-14, 9-4), trotting out their 12th starting lineup this season due to the absence of co-captain Jelani Williams and league-leading scorer Jordan Dingle, couldn’t keep up with the Big Green’s elder statesmen and missed a chance to get back into title contention.

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It’s unanimous: Clark Slajchert’s heroics elate Penn men and crush Brown

 

Even before the last-minute dramatics that resulted in a stunning road 88-87 win for the Red & Blue, everything about Saturday night’s game between Penn (12-13, 9-3 Ivy) and Brown (12-15, 4-8) was set up to made it a classic Ivy League showdown.

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Another huge game for Jordan Dingle as Penn men complete season sweep of Harvard

Sophomore guard Jordan Dingle became the first Penn player in program history to record three 30-point scoring games against Ivy opponents in a season in Penn’s 82-74 victory over Harvard Saturday. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

ESPN thinks Yale’s Azar Swain and Noah Kirkwood have the inside track to the Ivy League Player of the Year award. But don’t expect Vince Curran and the Penn faithful to agree.

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