March 7, 2006

Penn Cements Ivy Title With Win Over Yale

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It’s all over for seven teams in the Ivy League, as Penn clinched the conference title and became the first team to earn its NCAA tournament bid with a hard-fought victory over fourth-place Yale on Friday night. The volatile reputation of Ivy League basketball continued to the end, as fifth-place Brown upset second-place Princeton to end any Tiger hopes for a league crown.

Cornell (13-15, 8-6 Ivy) finishes the season in third-place, while Harvard settled for sixth. Columbia and Dartmouth share company in last place.

Penn 57, Yale 55

Following this 57-55 win over the Bulldogs at the Palestra Friday night – and thanks to Yale’s upset win over Princeton the same night – the Ivy League title and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament belong to the Quakers once again. Penn (20-7, 12-1) narrowly held on to become the first team to earn an invitation to the Big Dance. Although the Quakers held an 18-point lead in the second half, the Bulldogs (15-14, 7-7) nibbled away and cut the lead to 55-53 with less than a minute to play. Steve Danley was sent to the line for the Quakers with 11.3 seconds left, and connected on both free throws to put Penn ahead by four. Yale’s Ross Morin sunk a jumper on the other end of the court to cut the lead to two once more. With seconds left to play, Brian Grandieri waited to inbounds the ball. His pass flew over teammate Eric Osmundson’s head, however, and into the hands of Yale’s Dominck Martin. Martin passed to Eric Flato at the top of the circle, who turned and fired at the basket – but Flato’s attempt for his fourth trey of the night fell well short. After Brown defeated Princeton later that night, the Quakers became the first team in the country to earn their tourney invite. Mark Zoller ignited the Quakers with 14 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, three blocked shots, and four steals. Osmundson finished with 15 points, while Danley had 12 points and seven caroms. Martin led the Bulldogs with 18 points and seven boards, while Flato had 13 points. Morin added 12, all in the second half.

Dartmouth 69, Columbia 62

In a battle between the two cellar dwellers of the Ivy League, the Green held off a late charge by the Lions to claim a 69-62 victory in Hanover, N.H., on Friday night. Dartmouth (6-21, 4-10) led from start to finish, running up a 12-3 lead in the opening minutes. Although the Lions (11-16, 4-10) managed to tie it up, 17-17, with nine minutes left in the opening stanza, Calvin Arnold gave the Green a boost with a three-pointer and Dartmouth raced to a 41-31 lead at the half. The Green connected on 57.7 percent of its field goals and 6-of-11 trey attempts in the opening frame. Columbia trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half, but used a 15-3 run to close the gap to 65-62 with 1:11 left on the clock. Leon Pattman scored the final points of the game, going 4-for-4 from the charity stripe in the last 14 seconds to seal the victory for Dartmouth. Pattman finished with 27 points in just 26 minutes on the floor. John Baumann paced Columbia with 14 points and nine boards, while Dragutin Kravic added 13 tallies, and Chuck Flynn recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Lions.

Brown 61, Princeton 46

Brown capitalized on home-court advantage Friday night, knocking off second-place Princeton, 61-46, at the Pizzitola Center. The Tigers (11-15, 9-4) committed 21 turnovers, and connected on just three treys over the course of the game, ending any shot they may have had at an Ancient Eight title. The Bears (10-17, 4-8) went on a 9-0 run over the last six minutes of the opening frame to build a 31-18 halftime lead, an advantage Princeton never cut to less than nine points over the rest of the game. Keenan Jeppesen paced the victors with 16 points, while Mark MacDonald and Marcus Becker added 11 tallies each. Luke Owings led Princeton with 13 points, and Scott Greenman and Justin Conway added 12 and 10 points, respectively, in the losing effort.

Harvard 69, Columbia 64

Veteran experience trumped youthful exuberance on Saturday night in Cambridge, Mass., as the senior-heavy Crimson defeated a Lions squad built around six sophomores and two freshmen, 69-64. Columbia found itself trailing in the early going for the second night in a row, as the Crimson built an 18-6 lead in the first 10 minutes. Harvard held off an early comeback attempt, maintaining a 37-27 advantage at the break. The Lions clawed into the lead in the second frame, going on a 12-2 surge over the first seven minutes, jumping into the lead off a Dragutin Kravic layup at the 13:22 mark.

The two squads traded buckets over the next five minutes, until a jumper from Jim Goffredo gave Harvard a lead it would hold onto down the stretch.

Goffredo had 23 points on the night, while Matt Stehle chipped in with 16 points for the hosts. Justin Armstrong paced the Lions with 13 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, and four steals. Ben Nwachukwu added 13 points and seven boards for the visitors.

Penn 74, Brown 68 OT

Penn survived its second overtime game in as many weeks with a 74-68 victory against Brown on Saturday night in Philadelphia. Brown jumped out to a double-digit lead early on, and Penn managed to gain an advantage on the scoreboard just once until there was just 2:55 left in regulation. David Whitehurst hit two free throws for the Quakers at this point to put the hosts out in front.

The two teams traded points down the stretch, with Brian Grandieri giving Penn a 60-57 lead after connecting on a pair from the charity stripe with 21 seconds left.

Ibrahim Jaaber stole a Bears’ pass on the ensuing possession, drove to the basket and dished to Grandieri. Grandieri went up for a shot, but was rejected by Marcus Becker. Brown gathered the rebound and took off on a fast break that was capped by a game-tying trey from Becker from the corner as the buzzer sounded. Mark Zoller reeled off five straight points for the Quakers to open overtime, but Becker hit another trey and Keenan Jeppesen connected on two free throws to tie it up once more.

Mark MacDonald gave Brown a brief lead with a free throw, but Steve Danly hit consecutive jumpers to put the Quakers ahead, 69-66, with 45 ticks left.

A Jeppesen dunk cut the lead to one, but Jaaber went 3-for-4 from the free throw line to ice the game for the Quakers. Zoller was the high scorer for Penn with 17 points and 10 boards, while Osmundson added 15 points, Danley had 12 and Grandieri added 13 points off the bench. Jaaber capped the scoring for the Quakers with 13 tallies. Jeppesen had a game-high 21 points to pace the Bears, while Scott Friske added 13. Becker finished with 10.

Princeton 56, Yale 45

Princeton clinched runner-up status in the final Ivy League standings with a 56-45 win over Yale on Saturday night in New Haven, Conn. It looked as though the Tigers might fall for the second time in as many nights, as they trailed the Bulldogs, 22-20, at halftime. But Princeton regained the lead three minutes into the second stanza, and held off any comeback attempts by Yale over the final 17 minutes.

Scott Greenman poured in 11 of his 13 total points after the break, and the Tigers went 7-for-8 as a team from the charity stripe in the last 1:17 to seal the result.

Eric Flato paced Yale with 15 points in the losing effort, while Eric Hughes added 10 points for the Bulldogs. Noah Savage and Kyle Koncz joined Greeman in double figures for the Tigers, chipping in 10 and 11 tallies, respectively.

Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Sports Editor