As we enter the July 4th holiday weekend, we at Ivy Hoops Online wanted to round up some postseason updates:
April 28, 2023 will go down as one of the darkest days in recent Penn basketball history.
That was the day news broke that reigning Ivy League Player of the Year Jordan Dingle had opted to enter the transfer portal instead of returning for his senior season and making one last run at an Ivy title and NCAA Tournament appearance with the Red and Blue.
This writer frequently looks for some sort of silver lining or happy takeaway, even after the worst Penn losses. There is none this time.
If you’re pessimistically inclined, Dingle’s departure arguably closes the book on Penn’s 2023-24 season, six months before it even begins.
Bart Torvik’s preseason 2023-24 rankings had Penn ranked 80th initially and 98th earlier this week as talent began to flow through the transfer portal. Sans Dingle, Penn now sits 150th, fifth in the Ivy League and only 36 spots clear of seventh-place Dartmouth.
With Dingle, Penn could reasonably have been called co-favorites for the Ivy title alongside Yale and an outside contender for a NCAA Tournament at-large bid with aggressive scheduling.
Now? It will be a battle to even qualify for the Ivy League Tournament.
The effects of Dingle’s exit — just a small handful of which are listed below — will be felt through not just the program but the Ivy League for years to come.
PRINCETON, N.J. — Penn and its fans will be replaying the final two minutes of Saturday’s Ivy League Tournament semifinal against Princeton for a long time.
What was setting up to be a thrilling finish ended only in deflation and disappointment, as a late series of critical 50-50 situations all broke the wrong way in a 77-70 loss to the hated Tigers.
Penn had the ball down 71-70 with 90 seconds left when junior guard Jordan Dingle made a pass out of a double team to sophomore forward Nick Spinoso at the top of the key.
Spinoso faked a pass to a cutting Dingle, then tried to spin off Princeton senior forward Keeshawn Kellman in the lane. Kellman flew backwards as if he had been hit by sniper fire, and the officials obliged with a charge call that mystified even the ESPN broadcast team. Penn never had the ball with a chance to take the lead again.
One call, of course, does not define a game. Penn had plenty of self-inflicted wounds on Saturday, one of many dispiriting Quakeaways:
Ivy League Tournament – at Jadwin Gymnasium (Princeton)
Game #1, 1/16/23: Princeton over Penn (home), 72-60
Game #2, 3/4/23: Princeton (home) over Penn, 77-69 (OT)
PRINCETON, N.J. — It is hard to envision a more disheartening end to an Ivy League regular season than the collapse Penn orchestrated on Saturday at Jadwin Gymnasium.
The Quakers (17-12, 9-5 Ivy) squandered a 17-point second-half lead before falling in overtime to Princeton (19-8, 10-4), 77-69, handing a share of the Ivy regular season title to their most bitter rivals.
Penn’s undoing was an offensive outage when it mattered most. After sophomore guard George Smith hit a contested layup to extend the Quakers’ edge to 66-58 with 4:16 to go, the team did not make a shot from the field for the remainder of regulation or overtime, a 9:16 stretch.
The Quakers are now locked into the No. 3 seed for next Saturday’s Ivy League Tournament, which will also be held at Jadwin. They will either get a third crack at Princeton or a rubber match against Yale, depending on the result of Yale’s Saturday night road game against Brown.
All the good feelings from Penn’s eight-game winning streak have disappeared in a flash, replaced by a handful of mostly painful Quakeaways:
In the league’s penultimate weekend, each of the three first place teams won, while Brown pulled a game ahead of Cornell for fourth place.
Penn and Dartmouth had their offenses clicking at the Palestra on Saturday afternoon.
The Quakers shot 73% from two and 42% from three, while the Big Green made 62% from inside the arc and 45% from outside. With most shots going in from the field, the Red & Blue pulled away for their eighth straight win on the strength of their free throw shooting (17-for-18 vs 8-for-14) and rebounding (28-21).
The victory allowed Penn to remain in first place, while the defeat ended Dartmouth’s chance for their first Ivy Tournament berth.
Trying to rebound from a huge second half collapse against Yale last weekend, Princeton used a 10-2 run over the last five minutes of the opening half to take a 37-23 halftime lead at Harvard. The Tigers upped their advantage to 18 at the 15-minute mark of the second half, but the Crimson used a 20-4 run to make it a two-point game with five minutes left in regulation.
Contrary to last week, the Orange & Black would not give up the lead.
The teams combined to make one of the next ten shots from the field, as Princeton held a three-point advantage with twenty seconds remaining. An Evan Nelson layup cut the deficit to one, but Ryan Langborg sank two free throws to make it 56-53. Tigers coach Mitch Henderson followed Jon Rothstein’s advice and fouled Nelson, who missed the first of a one-and-one. Caden Pierce came down with the rebound and hit both free throws to put the game away.
The win sets up a showdown with long-time rival Penn to claim at least a piece of the regular season championship.
Despite being without Matt Knowling for the second straight game, Yale posted a convincing win over Cornell in the team’s final game at the John J. Lee Amphitheater. The Bulldogs, who were up 34-28 at the half, stretched their lead to 21 by the 11-minute mark and the Big Red didn’t get any closer than 11 points the rest of the way.
The win was Yale’s eighth in the last nine games and allowed them to keep pace with the Ps. It was also the 200th regular season Ivy victory for coach James Jones. Jones, who is wrapping up his 24th year in New Haven, is 200-121 in league play and 110 conference wins away from former Princeton coach Pete Carril.
For Cornell, Saturday’s defeat was the fifth in their last six games and puts them on the wrong side of the Ivy Tournament bubble with one game to go.
Brown had a 14-point lead in the first half, but Columbia used four three-pointers in the latter part of the half to cut the Bears lead to five at the break. The game was tied at 59 with 8:30 to go, but a 9-0 run over the next two minutes gave Bruno enough of a cushion to dash the Lions’ hopes of getting their third league win.
The win breaks Brown’s two game losing streak and allows Bruno to control its own destiny for the program’s first-ever spot in Ivy Madness.
PHILADELPHIA — Penn is one win away from at least a share of the Ivy League regular season championship after a businesslike 89-79 win over Dartmouth at the Palestra on Senior Day.
The Quakers never trailed after the 16-minute mark of the first half, but there were some dicey moments along the way. At one point, a 9-0 Big Green run midway through the second half cut the visiting team’s deficit to 64-61 and forced Penn coach Steve Donahue into a timeout with 9:19 to play.
Coming out of the break, junior forward Max Martz proved to be Penn’s stopper.
Martz got a mismatch in the post against Dartmouth’s Ryan Cornish, backed down the guard and drained a righty hook to extend the Red and Blue’s lead back to five. He then went on to add two three-pointers from the corner and a second jumper over the next four-plus minutes to hold Dartmouth at bay. Martz finished the afternoon with 18 points and a team-high KenPom offensive rating of 163 points per 100 possessions.
Penn will need a performance like that from Martz next Saturday at Princeton in arguably the team’s biggest regular-season game in five years.
During the long wait, Quakers fans will have plenty to ruminate on, such as how …
Penn picked a good time to turn in its best performance of the season.
The Quakers (16-11, 8-4 Ivy) pummeled Brown on Saturday at the Palestra, 90-69, and vaulted themselves into a three-way tie for first place in the Ivy League standings.
Though neither Penn nor the league have provided official confirmation, analytics expert Luke Benz said postgame that the Red and Blue have now clinched a trip to the Ivy League tournament.
Usually, this writer uses the top of these articles to describe some pivotal moment where Penn seals either victory or defeat. The pivotal moment on Saturday was the opening tipoff. The Quakers shot out to a quick 9-0 lead and never looked back. It took a string of circus shots by the Bears (13-12, 6-6) in garbage time to trim Penn’s final margin of victory below 30 points.
Just how good were the Quakers on Saturday? BartTorvik.com, a KenPom competitor, assigns every team in Division I a game score of 0-100 for each game it plays. Think of the number as the probability a team will win through its performance on a given night.
Penn finished with a final game score of 97.
It’s all happy Quakeaways today after the Red and Blue pulled off their biggest Ivy weekend sweep in some time:
Penn took a huge step towards securing a berth in Ivy Madness on Saturday with a nearly wire-to-wire 80-72 win over Harvard in Cambridge, Mass.
Though the Quakers (14-11, 6-4 Ivy) led the game for 38:59, there were some nervous moments in the second half, as careless turnovers and a scoring drought that spanned 5:51 of game time let the Crimson (12-12, 3-7) close their deficit to as little as three points with 3:37 to go.
Penn only made one field goal in the game’s final 10 minutes — a corner three from sophomore guard George Smith — and relied on 20-23 free throw shooting in the final 3:18 to keep Harvard at bay. Smith hit five three throws in that span, as did senior swingman Lucas Monroe.
The Red and Blue pretty much stuck the dagger in Harvard’s playoff hopes with the victory; Harvard now sits alone in seventh place in the Ivy standings, three full games out of playoff position.
Meanwhile, Penn sits just a game out of first place in the league and controls its own destiny for at least a share of the Ivy crown.
That tantalizing possibility is one of many things Penn fans can chew over from an uplifting win, such as the fact that …
The opening games of the second half of the Ivy slate ended with sweeps by Princeton, Yale, Penn and Brown. The Ps did their traditional double wins from home, while the New Englanders were able to earn their victories on the road.
On Friday, the Tigers welcomed Cornell to Jadwin Gymnasium in a match between the league’s top two teams. Prior to the start of the contest, Princeton honored its championship teams from 1996 to 1998, which included Tigers head coach Mitch Henderson and Big Red coach Brian Earl. The Orange & Black overcame a 13-point second half deficit to claim sole possession of first place. The win gave Henderson his 200th career victory.
A day later, the Tigers gave Henderson win number 201 with a comfortable 22-point victory over Columbia, the last-place team in the Ancient Eight.
Yale showed it has completely rebounded from its opening losses to Columbia and Dartmouth by extending its winning streak to five.
The Bulldogs were hot on the offensive side in the first half at Harvard, opening up a 17-point halftime lead. The Crimson tightened the defense in the second half and cut the lead to five with 2:25 to go in regulation, but a 0-for-6 effort the rest of the way ultimately doomed Harvard. With the victory, the Bulldogs completed their second straight season sweep of their Boston rivals.
At Leede Arena, Yale used a 13-0 run to close out the first half and take an 11-point lead into the locker room. The visitors never let the Big Green get closer than 10 and cruised to a 19-point revenge win that gave them sole possession of second place.
Against Columbia on Friday night, Penn took an 18-point advantage at the 13:15 mark of the second half, but the Lions clawed their way back and made it a five-point contest with two minutes on the clock. Similar to Harvard against Yale, Columbia closed the game 1-for-6 and the Quakers came away winning by nine.
Saturday’s matchup between Penn and Cornell was an offensive slugfest with 10 lead changes over the first 30 minutes of action. The Quakers eventually opened up a nine-point lead with 7:19 to go and held on against the never-say-die Big Red. The win, which split the season series, gave Penn its fourth in a row and its 46th all-time sweep of the Empire Ivies.
The Big Red, meanwhile, dropped from the top of the leaderboard to a tie for third after the lost weekend.
In Friday’s game in Hanover, Brown tied a season high with 13-made three-pointers on their way to a season sweep of Dartmouth. Although limited to 24% shooting in the opening half, the Big Green got within seven points with 9:25 left in the contest. The Bears used a 10-2 run over the next four minutes to put the game away.
After four ties and five lead changes in a close contest between Brown and Harvard, Bruno used a 16-zero run to open up a 15-point lead almost halfway through the second half. For the second straight night, the Crimson battled back, eventually making it a two-point game with six seconds remaining. Brown made one of two free throws and the home team couldn’t convert the game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer.
Bruno’s win was the 133rd victory of head coach Mike Martin’s career, tying him for the program lead with Stanley Ward. It also avenged a 70-68 overtime loss to Harvard at the Pizzitola Center on January 6 and put the team in a three-way tie for third place with Cornell and Penn.
By late Saturday night, Dartmouth dropped to sole possession of sixth place, while Harvard, losers of three straight was alone in seventh.