Malik Mack, the reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Week and the conference’s leading scorer, put up a career-high 32 points as Harvard men’s basketball came back late at Massachusetts and outlasted the Minutemen for a 76-71 overtime win Friday evening.
With the hard-fought victory, Harvard started the year 4-0, the first time the team swept its opening quartet of games since the 2013-14 season. The streak ended early Saturday night as the Crimson fell to Boston College, 73-64.
With the season a few weeks away, the Ivy League hosted its Men’s Basketball Media Day on Thursday. the second of two hoops-themed media availabilities. The event was hosted over Zoom for media members and is available on the conference’s YouTube channel.
The preseason media poll was released on Tuesday with Yale, last year’s regular season co-champions, securing the top spot. Princeton, which used its Ivy League Tournament title victory as a springboard to a Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament run, was picked second.
The Bulldogs received 14 of 16 first-place votes, while the Tigers earned the other two top votes.
Yale men’s basketball picked up where its scorching hot hands left off last Saturday against Princeton, building a 19-point second-half lead and surviving a late comeback rush from Harvard to notch a 68-57 win at Lavietes Pavilion.
Harvard (12-10, 3-5 Ivy) had trailed 48-29 with 16:25 remaining but in the next 14 minutes of game seized enough momentum to trail by just five points, 62-57. Yale salted away the game from the free-throw line in the final minute after a defensive clampdown.
The Achilles heel of the Cornell men finally felled them Saturday afternoon at Lavietes Pavilion.
The Big Red allowed the Harvard Crimson to shoot 60% from the field as they fell 95-89 for their first Ivy League road loss of the season.
Cornell (14-5, 4-2 Ivy) showed its typical full-court pressure, but it didn’t faze Harvard (12-8, 3-3). The Crimson attacked the rim, scoring 42 points in the paint and 10 off the fastbreak.
Senior standout Chris Ledlum showed why he’s one of the best in the Ivy League, scoring 24 points and hauling down nine boards to lead the way. Senior guard Idan Tretout tallied 17, junior guard Sam Silverstein notched 16, junior forward Justice Ajogbor pitched in 12 and senior guard Luka Sakota added 10.
The addition of starting forward Kale Catchings to Harvard’s already sizeable frontcourt disabled list proved too much, as UMass defeated Harvard, 87-77, at the Mullins Center on Saturday afternoon.
Facing a Minutemen squad that lives and dies at the three point line, Tommy Amaker, whose Crimson (5-4) have been without the services of forwards Mason Forbes, Justice Ajogbor and Bennett Pitcher for the first part of the season, opted to use highly touted rookie wing Louis Lesmond in place of Catchings and go with a four-guard lineup.
Now’s the time of year that an Ivy League hoops slate would be revving up, and since there’s no Ivy hoops action to come this spring, here’s an IHO contributors’ roundtable pondering what might have happened in the 2020-21 Ivy season on the men’s and or women’s sides if there had been one instead of an exodus of much of the league’s top talent via the transfer portal. Behold the one-year Ivy hoops universes we created:
Despite the uncertainty that has come with COVID-19, Ivy hoops figures are still making plenty of moves.
Dunphy steps up again
In case you missed it, Temple named former Penn coach Fran Dunphy acting athletic director effective July 1 last week, 15 months after his 30-year head coaching career ended at Temple, which opted to hand over the coaching reins to assistant Aaron McKie and have Dunphy step aside after the 2018-19 season. Dunphy will succeed Patrick Kraft, who will be departing Temple to become Boston College’s athletic director on July 1. (Penn athletic director M. Grace Calhoun was also reportedly under consideration for the BC job, per the Boston Herald.) Dunphy is not expected to be a candidate for the athletic director’s job, but that could change, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, which reported that Temple hoped to have an athletic director named within 90 days.