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Ivy League Notebook

January 8, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments



Ivy League Notebook

by Owen Bochner

As if only to quiet any doubters, Penn resumed its familiar post as the Ivy League frontrunner with a stellar non-conference performance in the 2003 portion of its season. Following their Holiday Festival tournament championship, the Quakers stand at a non-so-impressive, but conference-leading 5-4 record, prepared to lead the rest of the Ancient Eight into conference play later this month.

But don’t expect Dartmouth to follow the crowd into its Ivy slate. In the traditional early conference opener, the Green snuck past struggling Harvard Jan. 3 to stake an early claim to first place in the league standings.

Meanwhile, others throughout the league continue to mend from injuries as the final non-conference week of the season begins.

Player of the Week

Ed Persia, Princeton

Persia averaged 20.5 points over two games to lead the Tigers to a 1-1 record against Loyola (Md.) and No. 7 Oklahoma. He went 15-for-26 from the field for the week, scoring a career-high 22 points against Loyola before leading the team with nineteen points in Princeton’s near-upset of the Sooners on Jan. 3.

Rookie of the Week

Leon Pattman, Dartmouth

Pattman, a guard from Memphis, was named Rookie of the Week for the second consecutive week after his 16-point performance in the Green’s win against Harvard. Pattman led a furious first-half rally that allowed the Green to take a 29-28 lead into the break after trailing by as many as twelve points. He added six rebounds and two steals to the winning effort.

Brown Bears (3-9)

The Bears finally broke their losing skid with an inspired performance at Stony Brook on Dec. 30. Senior swingman Pat Powers scored a game-high 25, including seventeen in Brown’s 57-point second half to race past the Seahawks, 90-79. Unfortunately for head coach Glen Miller, the losing continued following the team’s first win since November, as the Bears dropped their next two contests at Hartford and No. 3 Wake Forest. Senior Mike Martin made his first start of the season against Hartford on Jan. 4 after returning from injury in late December. He scored nine points in the 70-63 loss. The Bears became the Demon Deacons’ tenth straight victim on Jan. 6, falling 86-47 in Wake Forest’s 25th straight home victory.

Brown will play host to Central Connecticut on Jan. 9 in its final non-conference game of the season.

Columbia Lions (3-9)

December 28 was a momentous day for Columbia’s basketball program. Even though all the Lions did was manage a narrow 72-69 victory against Prairie View A&M in the consolation game of the Golden Bear Classic, the win was Columbia’s third of the season, and thus a 50 percent improvement over last year’s win total. Junior forward Matt Preston recorded the first double-double of his career in the win, pouring down 21 points and eleven rebounds to lead the team. Sophomore Dragutin Kravic contributed 20 points and nine rebounds of his own.

The Lions then proceeded to lose their next three straight, including an 88-51 shellacking at the hands of Washington on Dec. 30, an 82-73 loss to Lafayette on Jan. 3, and 61-57 loss to local rival Fordham on Jan. 6. The Lions wrap up their non-conference schedule on Jan. 11 with an afternoon home tilt against Farleigh Dickinson.

Cornell Big Red (5-6)

Within the space of a week, the Red stumbled in overtime, struggled against inferior competition, and then began to redeem itself. After dropping road contests to St. Francis (N.Y.) and Duquesne by a combined three points just before New Year’s, Cornell returned home Jan. 3 to oust St. Francis (Pa.), 70-62. The Red followed up that performance on Jan. 6 with a huge second half to beat Lehigh, 89-76. Four Cornell players scored in double digits, led by senior guard Ka’Ron Barnes’ 27 points. Junior Cody Toppert added 23, while sophomore Lenny Collins scored a season-high 15.

Cornell will face a stiff challenge on Jan. 9, when it travels to The Pit to take on New Mexico in a homecoming for Toppert.

Dartmouth Big Green (3-8, 1-0 Ivy)

After a 71-58 loss to Ohio State on Dec. 28, Dartmouth began the new year with the season’s first conference game – a 56-54 win over travel partner Harvard. Junior center David Gardner scored twelve points, including eleven in the second half, to lead the Green. His lay up with 3:41 remaining in the second half gave the Green a 50-49 lead it would not relinquish. In addition, freshman Leon Pattman scored sixteen with six rebounds and two steals. Pattman scored a pair of three pointers in the victory.

On Jan. 6, the Green fell to Holy Cross at home, 60-52. The game was tied as late as nineteen minutes into the second half, before the Crusaders’ Nate Lufkin hit a lay up to give Holy Cross the lead for good. Pattman again scored sixteen points and added a career-best thirteen boards. Junior Steve Callahan led all scorers with seventeen points.

Harvard Crimson (1-12, 0-1)

Harvard snapped its longest losing streak since the 1991-92 season with a 58-53 victory at San Jose State on Dec. 30, but failed to carry the momentum into the League opener, falling to Dartmouth 56-54 on Jan. 3. The Crimson had won the last eight consecutive meetings between the two squads. During its win at San Jose State, the Crimson snapped a streak of 23 consecutive free throws spanning three games. The run began with the final two attempts from the charity stripe against Rider, and then continued as Harvard went 14-for-14 against Stanford. The Crimson proceeded to convert on its first six chances against San Jose State.

Sophomore center Brian Cusworth, who continues to be troubled by a stress fracture in his left foot, may return for Harvard’s Jan. 10 game against the Green.

Pennsylvania Quakers (5-4)

The Quakers won the Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden for the second time in eight appearances, winning a pair of nail-biters against St. John’s and Manhattan. In the tournament opener Dec. 28, senior Jeff Schiffner drove the lane against Darryll Hill to score the game-winner in double overtime. In the final against Manhattan the next night, freshman Mark Zoller provided a tremendous lift to the exhausted Quakers, scoring twelve points, eight rebounds, three blocks and two steals in his third career start to help Penn to a 49-47 victory. Schiffner was named the tournament MVP and junior guard Tim Begley was a member of the all-tournament team.

Penn plays host to Lafayette on Jan. 7 and will visit Rider on Jan. 10. The two teams have a combined 6-0 record against Ivy League opponents thus far this season.

Princeton Tigers (5-5)

The Tigers continued in what is becoming an annual tradition for them, giving a top-10 team the scare of the season, this time nearly pulling the upset over Oklahoma on Jan. 3. Princeton had a chance to tie the game late, when senior guard Ed Persia’s three-point attempt was off the mark. The Tigers staged a strong comeback after trailing by 56-43 with less than ten minutes remaining, but the Sooners were able to hold off the charge. Persia scored a game-high nineteen points, including fifteen in the first half, after which the Tigers held a 27-26 lead.

In Princeton’s five losses this season, the Tigers had a chance to tie or take the lead within the final ten seconds in four. The losses have come against teams with a combined 39-10 record. The Tigers play host to Monmouth on Jan. 7 before visiting Minnesota on Jan. 10 in the team’s final game before its exam break.

Yale Bulldogs (4-7)

Yale has continued to struggle after opening the season with a 4-2 record. The Bulldogs dropped games on the road to South Carolina and American on Dec. 30 and Jan. 3, respectively, by a combined score of 143-121. Despite the losses, Yale continues to shoot well from the field, going 27-for-52 against American with a season high-tying ten three-pointers. Junior center Dominick Martin is shooting .616 from the field on the season, including .721 in the last five games. Classmate Alex Gamboa led the team with fifteen points in the Elis 59-48 loss to South Carolina, and is averaging 53.2 from the floor over his last six games.

The Bulldogs visit Rhode Island Jan. 7 in another stiff non-conference test, and then complete their pre-Ivy League slate Jan. 10 at home against SUNY-Old Westbury.

     

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