Sports | Men's Basketball

Around the League: Harvard clinches share of Ivy men's basketball title

  • enduring another day | Yale guard Javier Duren hit four free throws in the final minute on Saturday to help the Bulldogs top Penn and keep their Ivy title hopes alive.

With a week left, Harvard’s four-peat is likely. The Crimson (24-4, 11-1 Ivy), once again, was perfect, in a weekend that featured matchups against Columbia (18-11, 7-5 Ivy) and Cornell (2-24, 1-11 Ivy).

Defense was the calling card for Harvard in both matchups. After a bit of a slow start, the Crimson rapidly pulled away from Cornell, leading by 16 at the half and winning, 72-47. Harvard also held Columbia to just 47 points, but had no trouble scoring, leading by 20 barely midway through the first half and cruising to a 80-47 win. Senior Laurent Rivard torched Columbia for 21 points, going 6-of-8 from downtown.

With Harvard’s sweep, the Bulldogs (15-11, 9-3 Ivy) are now the only team that could pull off an improbable Ivy title. But Yale only earned a road split last weekend. The Elis fell, 57-46, at Princeton on Friday night, receiving just one point from swingman Armani Cotton. The Bulldogs bounced back to defeat Penn, 70-63, as forward Justin Sears and guard Javier Duren combined for 38 points.

Elsewhere, Brown finished the weekend with one win and one loss, ending any Ivy title hopes for the Bears in standout guard Sean McGonagill’s final season. Brown’s lone win came against the struggling Quakers, 76-67. McGonagill, forward Cedric Kuakumensah, and guard Steven Spieth all scored in double figures. The Bears on Saturday were able to overcome a double-digit halftime deficit at Princeton, pulling within one point in the final minute after a pair of free throws by McGonagill, but Princeton hit its free throws to hang on, 69-64. Tiger guard T.J. Bray scored 21 points and added six assists in the win, which—after a win over Yale on Friday night—completed the weekend sweep for Princeton.

The Tigers’ travel partners, the Quakers (7-18, 4-7 Ivy), displayed offensive balance over the course of the weekend, but still lost both games. Guard Tony Hicks scored 25 points in Penn’s loss to Brown, while guard Miles Jackson-Cartwright scored 20 in a Saturday loss to Yale. 

Cornell was the other team to go winless last weekend. After a drubbing at the hands of Harvard on Friday, Cornell played a thrilling shootout against Dartmouth on Saturday. The Big Red, however, came up short, 87-78. Guard Devin Cherry and forward Dwight Tarwater combined for 45 points in the loss. 

Dartmouth’s win over Cornell salvaged a split for the Big Green. On Friday, Dartmouth got a good offensive performance, but wasn’t as good on the defensive end, as visiting Columbia shot 58 percent en route to a 82-74 win. Junior forward Alex Rosenberg notched 31 points for the Light Blue, which, like the Big Red, combined its trip to Hanover, N.H., with a blowout loss in Boston by Harvard.

With 12 games in the books—or 11, in the cases of Penn and Princeton—Harvard is the heavy favorite for the Ivy title. It will travel to Yale and Brown to finish its season, needing one win or a Yale loss to clinch the Ancient Eight championship. Yale and Brown will also host lowly Dartmouth. Meanwhile, Penn and Princeton will travel to Columbia and Cornell, and Penn visits Princeton on March 11 for the Ivy finale.

sports@columbiaspectator.com | @dmradov

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