February 21, 2006

Upsets Highlight Exciting Ivy League Weekend

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Last week’s action in the Ancient Eight will go down as the most exciting set of basketball games yet this season. Penn held on to its seat at the top, but not before tarnishing its perfect conference record with a stunning last-second loss to last place Columbia. And the Lions weren’t done wreaking havoc with the top of league, dispatching second place Princeton in similar fashion. Columbia completed its first sweep of the Quakers and Tigers since the 2000-01 season. Meanwhile, Dartmouth also picked up two wins against Yale and Brown, as the pack of seven teams behind Penn drew a whole lot closer when the dust settled after last weekend’s action.

Penn 60, Princeton 41

Last Tuesday’s affair at the Palestra was not exactly the Penn-Princeton classic that basketball lovers expected to enjoy on Valentine’s Day. The Tigers (8-14, 6-3 Ivy) shot just 31.4 percent from the field while Penn (16-7, 8-1) managed to connect on only 41.9 percent of its shots from the floor.

The Quakers held the Tigers to 13 points in the first half and pulled away in the second stanza thanks to some timely three pointers from forward Mark Zoller. Zoller recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Steve Danley scored a team-high 18 points for the Quakers and Ibrahim Jaaber recorded 17 points and four steals. Luke Owings tallied 18 points for Princeton while Scott Greenman added 14. The Tigers made just 11 field goals in the game, but went 15-of-16 from the charity stripe.

Brown 79, Harvard 66

Freshman Chris Skrelja had been averaging just 1.8 points per game, but came off the bench to score a career and game-high 19 points in the Bears’ (8-15, 4-6) victory over Harvard (12-11, 4-6) on Friday. Brown jumped out to an early 10-3 lead and never looked back, pushing its lead to as much as 25 points in the second half.

Harvard’s Jim Goffredo led the Crimson’s effort with 18 points and four assists, while Brown’s Keenan Jeppesen dropped in 17 points, along with four rebounds and four assists. The Bears’ received 38 points from their bench, while the Crimson’s reserves managed only eight.

Columbia 59, Penn 57

In possibly one of the biggest upsets of in all of college basketball this season, Columbia (10-13, 3-7) used a last second tip-in from center Ben Nwachukwu to stun the visiting Quakers on Friday night.

Penn held the lead with 51 seconds left in regulation, but two free throws from Nwachukwu (10 points, five rebounds) tied the score at 57. Columbia regained possession after drawing an offensive foul, and held the ball for the final possession, setting the stage for Nwachukwu’s last minute heroics. The Lions’ Justin Armstrong led the scoring for Columbia with 23 points, while Mark Montgomery added 10. Jaaber carried Penn with a game-high 24 points.

The Lions out-rebounded the Quakers 35-22.

Dartmouth 72, Yale 64

Dartmouth (5-18, 3-7), not to be left alone at the bottom of the Ivies, also pulled out a surprise win last Friday, winning at home against Yale (14-11, 6-4). The Green’s Leon Pattman came off the bench and scored 22 points. The Bulldogs led by seven at the half, but a 12-2 run from the Green, capped off by a Pattman three pointer, tied the game at 41 with 11:32 left to play in the second half. Another three less than a minute later put the Green ahead for good. The Bulldogs Dominic Martin led the scoring with 19 points and Eric Flato added 11.

Dartmouth 58, Brown 46

The Green continued to impress the following night, completing the sweep of its weekend homestand with a win over Brown on Saturday.

The Bears looked sluggish from their dramatic win over Harvard the night before, falling behind late in the first half after a 14-2 run from a fresher Dartmouth squad. The Green held a comfortable lead for most of the second stanza, but a put-back by the Bears’ Jeppesen brought Brown to within two points with 3:31 left to play. However, the Green went on an 8-0 run down the stretch to seal the victory. Mike Lang had a game high 16 points while Jeppesen led the Bears with 15 points, seven boards and four assists.

Columbia 65, Princeton 64

Not content with knocking off the top team in the Ivies, the Lions dispatched second-place Princeton the following night. Down 65-64 with 10.9 seconds left in regulation, Columbia’s Armstrong hit a baseline jumper to seal the victory for the Lions. Columbia had led by eleven at the half, but Princeton’s Greenman caught fire from behind the arc in the second half. His two free throws with under a minute left to play gave the Tigers a three-point lead. Columbia’s John Baumann answered with a pair of his own, and Princeton’s Noah Savage missed a one-and-one opportunity, setting the stage for Armstrong’s game-winner. Armstrong and Baumann paced the Lions with 15 points each, while Princeton’s Greenman led all scorers with 17 points.

Yale 77, Harvard 66

Yale moved into sole possession of third place in the Ivy League with its 11-point road win over the Crimson. The game was a showcase for two of the Ivy’s best centers, as Yale’s Martin had a career-high 26 points and Harvard big man, Brian Cusworth, grabbed 24 points. Harvard tied the game at 39 early in the second half, but Yale answered with a 10-point run to take firm control of the game. The Crimson shot just 34.4 percent from the field while Yale made 29-of-52 shots from the floor. The Ivy win was the Bulldogs’ first in four attempts on the road this season.

Archived article by Paul Testa
Sun Staff Writer