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Ivy League Notebook

January 14, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

Ivy League Notebook

by Owen Bochner

It was a week of ups and downs for the Ivy League, as the conference prepares to dive into conference play beginning this weekend. The ups belonged to Cornell, Harvard, Princeton, and Penn, while the week was a downer for Brown, Dartmouth, and Yale. Columbia experienced a little of both. After losing a very winnable game to cross-town rival Fordham, the Lions came back five days later to blow Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham off the court, thus doubling last year’s win total. We’ll just overlook the fact that all the Lions really accomplished by pounding the Devils was to push the Ancient Eight’s record against D-III opponents to 5-0, but who’s counting?

The coming week will be a quiet one. As Princeton and Harvard break for exams, the rest of the conference will meander its way to the beginning of the spring semester. But the spring semester means conference games, which will account for two of the five games on tap for this, the third week in January.

How They Stand

With two sets of travel partners set to kick off conference action this week, we figured there’s no better time than the present to introduce our weekly look at the Ivy standings.

At the moment, Dartmouth and Harvard are tied for, well, everything. Both the Big Green and Crimson are 1-1, having already completed their season series. Notable about the match up: Dartmouth broke a seven-game skid against the Crimson on Jan. 3 at the Leede Arena. Seven days later, Harvard won its second out of its last three contests, topping the Green 60-49 at Lavietes. The Crimson is now 2-12 on the season.

Game(s) of the Week:

Brown visits Yale on Jan. 16 at 7 p.m., while Cornell hosts Columbia on Jan. 17 at 8 p.m. It will be the conference openers for all four squads.

Player of the Week

Ka’Ron Barnes, Cornell

The senior point guard became the first member of the Big Red to be named Player of the Week twice in a season since John McCord in the 1996-97 season, averaging 27.5 points, 6.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.5 steals in Cornell’s two games. He dropped a season-high 28 on Lehigh Jan. 6 before leading the team with 27 points, including four 3-pointers in Cornell’s road loss to New Mexico on Jan. 9. Barnes leads the league in points (21.2), assists (5.9), and steals (2.2) so far this season.

Rookie of the Week

Mark Zoller, Penn

Zoller continues to make a name for himself, having now started five consecutive games for the front-running Quakers. He averaged 11.0 points and 6.5 rebounds, as Penn went 1-1 for the week. Zoller scored ten points with seven rebounds and three steals in Penn’s 88-68 thumping of Lafayette Jan. 7. He is shooting 50 percent from the field, and averaging 4.6 points and 3.4 rebounds this season.

Brown Bears (4-9)

After getting blown away by Wake Forest, 86-47, on Jan. 6, Brown finished up its non-conference schedule on a high note, beating up on Central Connecticut, 79-58, on Jan. 9. In just his sixth game since returning from knee and foot surgery that prematurely ended his 2002-03 season, senior guard Mike Martin had his best game of the season, scoring eighteen points and adding six rebounds and six assists against the Blue Devils.

When Brown returns to action at Yale on Jan. 16, it will be down a couple of players. Sophomore guard Adam Braun is out indefinitely with an ankle injury, while classmate Ben Logan has left the team to concentrate on academics. Logan is the third player to leave the Bears this season, after G.J. King and Jordan Jhabvala left the team just days prior to the start of the season. The Brown roster now stands at twelve.

Columbia Lions (4-9)

Trailing by 20 points midway through the second half Jan. 6, Columbia fought almost all the way back against Fordham. Unfortunately for the Lions, almost is only good enough in horseshoes. After trailing by just one with under a minute left in the game, the Lions unraveled, going cold from the field, and Fordham hit three of four free throws down the stretch to ice the game. With their 77-45 win over Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham on Jan. 11, the Lions doubled last seasons win total and recorded their largest margin of victory since Nov. 27, 1999. Sophomore Dodson Worthington scored sixteen points and classmate Dragutin Kravic added fifteen in the victory. Junior Colin Davis’s six offensive rebounds tied the league high for the season. Columbia visits Cornell Jan. 17 before returning home to complete the home-and-home with the Red on Jan. 24.

Cornell Big Red (5-7)

Led by the high scoring trio of senior Ka’Ron Barnes and juniors Cody Toppert and Eric Taylor, the Red will enter conference play on Jan. 17 having won two of its last three games. Barnes scored 28 points in the Red’s 89-76 come-from-behind victory against Lehigh, while Toppert scored 23. Despite Cornell’s 74-65 loss in the Pit at New Mexico on Jan. 9, the Red stuck with the Lobos almost all the way. Cornell trailed by only five points at the half, and came within eight points of the lead with a minute left in the game. Albuquerque native Toppert scored 20 points in his homecoming, but the Red struggled down the stretch due in large part to a lack of inside depth. Junior forward Gabe Stephenson, who injured his knee in the Red’s 70-62 victory against St. Francis (Pa.) on Jan.3 has left a hole in the Red’s lineup which junior Steven Marcetic has attempted to fill. Stephenson is expected to return for the second game against Columbia on Jan. 24.

Dartmouth Big Green (3-9, 1-1 Ivy)

The Green shot only 27.3 percent from the floor in its 60-49 loss to Harvard on Jan. 10. It was the second meeting this season between the travel partners, completing the traditionally early series. In that loss and another to Holy Cross early in the week, the Green totaled 35 turnovers and played very streaky basketball, as both opponents went ahead big with second-half runs. Against Harvard, it was an 18-3 run beginning with twelve minutes left in the second that spelled Dartmouth’s doom. The game had been knotted at 31 prior to the Crimson’s streak. Freshman Jonathan Blakley continues to improve for the Green following a bout with mono. He started against both Holy Cross and Harvard.

Harvard Crimson (2-12, 1-1)

Harvard opened the season with eleven straight losses, but has since won two of three, including its first home win of the season, Jan. 10 against Dartmouth. The Crimson, trailing by five points midway through the second half, went on a 23-3 run to jump ahead, 49-34. Sophomore forward Matt Stehle led the scoring with eighteen points in 33 minutes after being limited by foul trouble in the teams’ first meeting on Jan. 3. Harvard will conclude its non-conference slate on Jan. 14 against Sacred Heart before heading into exams.

Penn Quakers (6-5)

While the rest of the Ivy League may have had trouble with Lafayette, Penn gave Lafayette plenty of fits of its own, winning 88-68 Jan. 7. Senior Adam Chubb led the team with seventeen points and eight rebounds, while the Quakers shot 51 percent from the field in the victory. Four freshmen, led by Rookie of the Week Mark Zoller totaled 31 combined points. Zoller scored ten points and Ibrahim Jaaber added eight. The Quakers’ momentum came to an end on Jan. 10, as they fell 77-72 in overtime to Rider. Penn shot 47 percent from the floor, but allowed fifteen second-opportunity points. Penn had 24 assists on 27 baskets in the game, as junior guard Tim Begley led the team with nine assists. He averages 3.9 assists per game this season to lead the team, a stat good enough for fifth in the league. The Quakers visit Big 5 rival La Salle on Jan. 14 and host Temple on Jan. 21, as they wait for travel partner Princeton to finish exams before beginning Ivy play.

Princeton Tigers (6-6)

The Tigers had no difficulty dispatching Monmouth on Jan. 7 in Jadwin Gym. For Minnesota on Jan. 10, it was a different story. Princeton suffered its second near miss to a big-name program in three games, falling 57-53 in Williams Arena. Trailing only 50-48 with 1:31 left in the game, the Tigers were called for a costly offensive foul, allowing the Golden Gophers to reclaim control of the game and go on to claim the win. Princeton was led by junior forward Andre Logan’s sixteen points plus thirteen from junior center Judson Wallace. Since Princeton’s 74-54 victory over Loyola on Dec. 29, the team has demonstrated much stronger offensive play, led in large part to a reduction in three point attempts. Nine games into the season, the Tigers were 21.7 attempts per game. That number is now down to 20.4 attempts. Princeton is a perfect 6-0 when shooting 50 percent or better and 0-6 when shooting below 50 percent. The Tigers will take a week off for final exams.

Yale Bulldogs (5-8)

It was the same old story for Yale on Jan. 7 against Rhode Island. The Elis fell behind early, couldn’t get anything going inside, and were unable to stick around long enough in the second half to challenge for the lead. Thus, the Bulldogs lost their sixth straight game, despite strong play from senior forward Paul Vitelli, who scored fourteen points in his return to the starting lineup, replacing injured freshman Sam Kaplan. Fortunately for Yale, the schedule had a treat in store on Jan. 10, as the Bulldogs hosted SUNY-Old Westbury in their final non-conference game of the season. Against Old Westbury, Yale teed off, soaring past the D-III opponent, 89-59. Fourteen different players scored for Yale, led by junior guard Edwin Draughan’s seventeen points. The Bulldogs shot 71.1 percent from the floor, the team’s best percentage since recording a team-record .716 against Swarthmore in 1989. The Bulldogs host Brown on Jan. 16 in the conference opener for both teams, a game to be televised on the YES Network.


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