Last Week in the Ivy League: Princeton clinched at least a share of its 27th championship. Columbia kept its postseason hopes alive by beating Penn, throwing the final week into tiebreaker chaos. The Lady Bulldogs got hot, shaking up the other playoff race. Continue reading
Yale seemed to finally have it figured out Friday night, climbing out of an early deficit to grab a three-point halftime lead that probably could have been bigger if not for some poor shot selection and turnovers toward the end. Most importantly, it held host Harvard to 0.84 points per possession, showing some of the defense that led them to the Ivy League title last season.
Alas, the second half was still to come, and streaking Harvard sent them back into the skid they came from, shooting 18-27 from the field (74.1 eFG%) and scoring 1.28 ppp en route to a fairly easy 77-64 win in front of a sellout crowd at Lavietes Pavilion.
Tommy Amaker has taken Harvard – a program where basketball success was not only non-existent, but largely unfathomable – to four NCAA Tournaments, actually winning games in two, over the last six seasons. Prior to last season, he had led the Crimson to six straight 20-win seasons, five consecutive Ivy League titles, and a 59-15 league record.
So while no one is immune from any questioning or criticism of his methods or substitution patterns, certainly Amaker has more than earned the benefit of the doubt.
But coming off a 14-16 (6-8 Ivy) season, where the Crimson lost seven of eight conference games at one point, Harvard still looks to be a work in progress. It was picked second in the Ivy League largely due to a heralded recruiting class, but mixing and matching the new guys with the veterans has proven problematic with only five players allowed on the court at one time per current basketball rules.
With three-quarters of the Ivy League just hours away from tipping off their seasons, it’s time to unveil our Big Apple Buckets preseason awards.
The clock at Lavietes Pavilion showed seven seconds, with Princeton inbounding under its own basket down by two points. Yet it felt like the Tigers were exactly where they wanted to be. After trailing by as many as 10 points in the second half, they had quickly stormed back. On the last possession, they needed just one more bit of devil magic — just as they’d done at Penn and Columbia — to extend or win the game. Continue reading
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – There have been a few times that I’ve seen Lee Amphitheater full and rocking, and it’s one of my favorite sights in all the sporting world: an ancient cathedral whose history can be heard – even from the rafters – with every bounce of the ball and gasp of the crowd.
Alas, my recollections of Yale’s septuagenarian home growing up are mostly of the place being packed to see the other team, which doesn’t necessarily mean they were cheering for Pete Carril and Princeton or Fran Dunphy and Penn or even Steve Donahue and Cornell, but they were certainly the main attraction, and on the other nights of the Ivy season? Well, Ingalls Rink and the Yale hockey team was down the street.
For the third straight season, Yale beat Harvard at Lavietes Pavilion. But this year’s win, a 67-55 romp that kept the Bulldogs perfect atop the Ivy League, was much different than the prior two. Continue reading
When you’re on a five-game losing streak, style points mean nothing. Harvard’s 79-73 win over Brown wasn’t pretty, featuring ubiquitous foul trouble, weird lineups, long stoppages, and did I mention fouls? But it was a win nonetheless — the first in four weeks for the Crimson, pulling them out of the Ivy League cellar. Continue reading