As we enter the July 4th holiday weekend, we at Ivy Hoops Online wanted to round up some postseason updates:
A wild Saturday capped the regular season for the Ancient Eight. When the dust settled, Yale and Princeton tied for the league title, while Penn settled for third place and Cornell captured the final spot for this weekend’s Ivy League Tournament at Jadwin Gymnasium.
In what was arguably the conference game of the year, it was the worst of times in the opening half and the best of times in the second stanza for the hometown Tigers.
Yale won its fifth Ivy League championship in the last eight seasons Saturday with an 84-75 win at Brown before a sold-out, rowdy crowd of 2,003 at the Pizzitola Sports Center.
“It’s a wonderful feeling,” 24-year Yale coach James Jones said. “To be able to win on the road in a hostile environment shows the character of the guys in our locker room.”
Brown, meanwhile, missed out on an opportunity to punch the program’s first ever Ivy League Tournament ticket with the loss, allowing Cornell to sneak into the tourney.
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.
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.
After another exciting weekend of Ivy hoops that saw all the home teams holding serve, the league standings have a tie at the top, and seven teams are separated by only two games.
Yale continued its dominance of Princeton, winning for the eighth time in their last nine matchups. Meanwhile, Penn, losers of three straight league contests, won its third straight over Harvard in a must-win game at the Palestra.
Cornell, missing Nazir Williams, took care of Brown, which was without Kalu Anya, Dan Friday and Malachi Ndur. Dartmouth continued its strong league play with a victory over Columbia, its third league win it its last four contests and finds itself over .500 at the halfway point for the first time since 2009.
Yale over Princeton, 87-65
Penn over Harvard, 83-68
Cornell over Brown, 80-73
Dartmouth over Columbia, 83-73
Cornell 5-2 (15-5, overall)
Princeton 5-2 (14-6)
Yale 4-3 (14-6)
Dartmouth 4-3 (8-13)
Harvard 3-4 (12-9)
Brown 3-4 (10-10)
Penn 3-4 (11-11)
Columbia 1-6 (6-16)
The second half of the schedule starts with a big back-to-back weekend, highlighted by a matchup between the league leaders at Jadwin Gymnasium and Yale looking for revenge against Dartmouth at Leede Arena.
Fri., Feb. 3
Yale at Harvard, 5:00 p.m.
Brown at Dartmouth, 6:00 p.m.
Columbia at Penn, 7:00 p.m.
Cornell at Princeton, 7:00 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 4
Yale at Dartmouth, 6:00 p.m.
Brown at Harvard, 6:00 p.m.
Columbia at Princeton, 6:00 p.m.
Cornell at Penn, 6:00 p.m.
Below are 10 of the top performances from the weekend: –
No Nazir Williams, no problem.
Despite missing the standout sophomore guard due to injury, the Cornell men preserved and overcame a difficult perimeter shooting afternoon to defeat Brown, 80-73, Saturday at Newman Arena.
Cornell coach Brian Earl was forced to alter the starting lineup for the first time all season with Williams’ absence, inserting junior guard Chris Manon.
Despite missing two of their starting five for this weekend’s games, the Brown men came away with two convincing road victories against Bryant and Hartford.
The Bears (5-4), winners of four straight wins and five of their last six, are playing their best basketball of the year as they head into the last and hardest stretch of their nonconference schedule.
Only five points separated the top three teams in the Ivy League Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll, and our final tabulation was even tighter. Just three points separated the team atop IHO contributors’ preseason poll.
Yale gets the slight nod here, with our contributors trusting James Jones to lead the Bulldogs to their fifth Ivy League title in an eight-season span in a bid to represent the conference in the NCAA Tournament for a third straight time. Penn, the Ivy League preseason poll’s top team above Princeton by a single point, also finished a single point above Princeton in our standings. Our contributors saw potential for success in a roster that returns most of the key players from last year’s squad that placed third in the Ivy standings. We’ve got Princeton pegged to finish third, aided in their quest to repeat as Ivy League champions by returning 2021-22 Ivy Player of the Year Tosan Evbuomwan but losing significant backcourt production from last year’s conference title team.
Harvard was the clear No. 4 finisher in our poll, a showing that would improve upon the disappointing sixth-place result that locked the Crimson out of the Ivy League Tournament on its home floor last season. We have Cornell ranked slightly ahead of Brown as the Big Red look to build on last season’s overachieving Ivy League Tournament berth and the Bears look to bounce back from an underachieving sixth-place finish (tied with Harvard) a season ago. Columbia and Dartmouth tied in our voting tally at the bottom of the standings as both programs look to secure their first Ivy League Tournament appearances.