While most Ivy League students were on leave from their respective campuses, each of the Ancient Eight basketball teams were in action during the holiday, preparing for conference play. Columbia has the best record at 10-6, but teams including perennial powerhouses Princeton and Penn lurk in the coming weeks. This should make for an exciting battle in the conference as we look back on the past few weeks of Ivy League action.
Brown: 7-7, 0-0 Ivy
After a slow start, the Bears headed into Winter Break on a four-game winning streak, but lost on Dec. 21 to Holy Cross by 13 points. Brown rebounded to win the UCF Holiday Invitational at Orlando, FL, defeating Central Florida and Charleston Southern on the way, as senior guard and last year’s Ivy League Player of the Year Jason Forte earned tournament MVP honors. Forte is averaging 17.4 points and 4.7 assists a game, while junior guard Luke Roscoe leads the team in rebounding, pulling down 5.9 boards and adding 12.8 points a game. Its first Ivy League game against Yale last Saturday, was postponed due to poor weather conditions.
Columbia: 10-5, 1-1 Ivy
Joe Jones’ squad has been a surprise to the Ivy League this season, with his Lions garnering the best non-conference record in the Ivies thus far. Columbia started the break off on the wrong foot, losing to Hofstra by 24, before dropping a close encounter to then-No. 15 N.C. State, 84-74. The Lions subsequently won four out of its five next games with wins over Canisius, Lafayette and Navy, while splitting two games with Cornell in its first league action of the season. Columbia is led by senior forward Matt Preston, who averages 14.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and a block a game.
Dartmouth: 4-11, 1-1 Ivy
While the Green earned a 3-3 record prior to the break, they have recently fallen on tough times — losing eight out of its last nine games. Visiting the west coast, Dartmouth dropped decisions to UC Davis and Stanford, before being defeated by Harvard in its first Ivy League action. The Green were able to exact some revenge against the Crimson a week later, when it beat Harvard at Hanover, N.H. behind a 15-point, six rebound performance by senior guard Steve Callahan. Junior guard Michael Lang is leading the team in points per game with 13.4.
Harvard: 6-9, 1-1 Ivy
Harvard’s results over the break are a mixed bag. While the Crimson were able to defeat Lehigh and LIU Brooklyn, it dropped consecutive decisions to the College of Charleston and Tennessee Tech. After splitting two games with Dartmouth, Harvard regained some momentum more than a week ago, when it defeated Sacred Heart, 97-84, behind a 21-point, six rebound effort by junior center Brian Cusworth. Cusworth is leading the team in points, rebounds and blocks, while junior forward Matt Stehle averages 14.6 points and 8.9 boards a game.
Penn: 6-7, 0-0 Ivy
After losing to regional powerhouse Temple by one point on Dec. 8, the Quakers didn’t play its next game until 23 days later. Unfortunately for Penn, it went on a five-game losing streak before finally breaking it on Jan. 15, when it defeated Siena, 89-62. The Quakers followed up that effort with an 85-63 win three days later at Lafayette behind a 24-point performance by sophomore guard Ibrahim Jaaber. Jaaber’s teammate Tim Beagley leads his team in points, rebounds and assists, while Jaaber averages 2.6 steals to go along with 10.2 points a game.
Princeton: 8-5, 0-0 Ivy
The Tigers, with two nationally televised games over the break, had mixed results. After dropping a 48-46 decision to Temple, it beat Tulane, 59-51, before losing to UTEP a day later. Princeton won its next two games against Loyola MD and Davidson, giving itself momentum into its game against No. 2 Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. In an ugly game in which both teams shot less than 38 percent from the field, the Blue Devils pulled away to win, 59-46. The Tigers were led by a 21-point performance by Will Venable, while Judson Wallace recorded a double-double, scoring 12 and pulling down 10 boards. Wallace (14.5 ppg, 6.4 reb) and Venable (11.5 ppg, 4.9 reb) lead the team in points and rebounds per game.
Yale: 4-9, 0-0 Ivy
The Bulldogs came into the break on a two-game losing streak and this run continued with losses to Boston College (82-80) and Charlotte (80-74). However, Yale was able to string together consecutive wins against Santa Clara and Fairfield. Still, the New Haven, Conn. team was unable to maintain this momentum, most recently falling to St. Peter’s, 79-68. Yale was led by guard Edwin Draughan, who racked up 16-points and seven assists in the loss. Draughan (15.4 ppg, 4.2 ast) and center Dominick Martin (15.3 ppg, 8.0 reb) lead the team in points.
Archived article by Brian Tsao
Sun Senior Editor