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:
— Penn Men’s Basketball (@PennMBB) February 20, 2022
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.
Both Tiger squads punched tickets to the Ivy League tournament on Friday evening with blowout wins against the Brown Bears. Carla Berube’s women’s team, encountering a surprisingly spunky Bears quintet still smarting from a thorough pasting in Providence last month, was shocked in the first quarter, sharing the lead at 14 points apiece after 10 minutes. No Ivy team had such a start against the Tigers this season.
As we near the halfway mark of the 2022 Ivy League season, here are five thoughts about the state of the race for the men’s league title:
Brown coach Mike Martin was 6-2 against Yale and coach James Jones during his storied playing career for the Bears, but the tables have been turned in head-to-head coaching.
Penn broadcaster Vince Curran said he and Penn coach Steve Donahue reviewed the starting lineups for the team’s Ivy opening day game against Brown 20 minutes before tip-off. Shortly afterwards, Donahue inserted first-year guard George Smith into the starting five and it turned out to be the be the smartest move of the afternoon. The Salem, N.H. native had a day to remember, scoring a career-high 23 points to give the Quakers a huge 77-73 victory over the Bears.
Playing in front of a raucous but often times stunned crowd at the Dean Smith Center, Brown almost pulled off the biggest shocker of the young NCAA season against No. 19 UNC.
Mike Martin’s squad went toe-to-toe against Hubert Davis’ Tar Heels but ultimately could not overcome injuries, foul trouble and the late-game heroics of RJ Davis. Despite huge nights from Dan Friday and first-year Nana Owusu-Anane, the Bears fell, 94-87.
Things did not look good for the Bears (1-1) as they arrived for their first game against a Division I opponent in 616 days. The team’s leader and 2020 second team All-Ivy forward Tamenang Choh was sitting on the bench in street clothes. Choh has a hip injury and is scheduled for an MRI on Monday, according to ACC Network analyst and Columbia hoops alum Dalen Cuff. With Choh out and 2020 Defensive Player of the Year Jaylan Gainey still not at 100% following a preseason injury and a bout with mononucleosis, Bruno would need others to step up if they had any hope of tackling the Tar Heels (2-0).
With the deepest and most talented roster in his ten years in charge at Brown, expectations are high for Mike Martin’s team as they opened the season against Division III Salve Regina on Tuesday night. The Bears did not disappoint, as they ran past their in-state rivals, 89-59.