Whether you were black and yellow or green and yellow this past Sunday, you can all enjoy Tom’s basketball roundup for this past weekend…
After barely escaping their weekend at Princeton and Penn with one win, Harvard (16-4, 5-1) fans have got to be relieved this week. Things were looking dicey for the Crimson in double overtime at the (finally) raucous Palestra on Saturday night, as they trailed by three with less than two minutes to play after having already dropped their Friday contest in New Jersey. But Oliver McNally’s baseline jumper with 11 seconds to play saved the weekend for Tommy Amaker’s squad, who return to the friendly home confines of Lavietes Pavilion this weekend to host Yale and Brown.
The Harvard-Penn thriller was a fitting cap to a great weekend of Ancient Eight play which showcased the depth of the league this season. Princeton (16-4, 4-0) stayed perfect in conference play with crucial home wins against Harvard (65-61) and Dartmouth (68-53). Led by Ian Hummer (17 pts/4 rebs) and Dan Mavraides (15 pts/ 7 rebs/ 6 asts) – and assisted by the league’s best sixth man, forward Kareem Maddox (14/5) – Princeton found just enough offense to get by the Crimson in a tight, low-scoring affair typical of Jadwin Gym. What’s more impressive for Tigers fans is that Princeton found a way to slow down Harvard’s frontcourt stars, Kyle Casey and Keith Wright, who combined for just 27 points and 14 rebounds while racking up four fouls apiece.
Penn (9-9, 3-1) showed their class as well, taking Harvard to the wire (83-82) and earning a weekend split which keeps them very much alive in the title race. Also surging is Yale (11-9, 4-2), who got 21 points and 9 rebounds from Greg Mangano on Saturday night to see off suddenly struggling Columbia 72-67 at home on Saturday and complete an important weekend sweep. Now at 4-2 in the league, the Elis can safely be considered the dark horse contender for the Ivy crown.
Columbia’s (12-8, 3-3) troubles began the night before in Providence, where Sean “The Professor” McGonagill dropped 39 points on 15 of 19 shooting to lift Brown (8-12, 1-5) to its first league win by the final of 87-79. Despite playing with a facemask due to injuries sustained the night before the game, McGonagill still managed to dominate the Lions from start to finish, and consistently beat the multiple defenders Columbia tried on him. Meanwhile, Columbia star Noruwa Agho struggled all weekend, scoring just six points in each Light Blue contest while shooting just 33% from the field.
Cornell (5-15, 1-5)got off the schnide the following night against McGonagill and the Bears, who couldn’t replicate their Friday performance despite 26 points from Tucker Halpern. It was Andrew Ferry who led the Big Red, netting 20 points and going 7 for 8 from the line in the 91-79 win.
And Dartmouth (5-15, 1-5) was swept at Penn and Princeton. Big Green fans should try to find solace in the fact that nobody thought they were going to win anyway.