Columbia (10-4, 1-0 Ivy)
The Lions, still sporting the Ivy League’s best record, finally broke into Ivy League play, squaring off against Cornell at home in Manhattan Saturday night. Columbia stumbled out of the gate, trailing an ailing Big Red team 36-34 at halftime. But after a 13-6 run to start the second half, the Lions, led by Jeremiah Boswell’s 14 points, brought their lead to as high as 12 and coasted to a 70-61 victory. While Cornell’s Eric Taylor led the game with 15 points, Boswell still holds a razor-thin lead in Ivy League field-goal percentage, at 61.8 percent to Taylor’s 61.1. Columbia beat Navy, 69-63, last night and faces a rematch with the Big Red in Ithaca Saturday.
Princeton (8-5, 0-0)
The Tigers were inactive this week, in the midst of a 19-day break for exams following their 59-46 loss to No. 5 Duke Jan. 5. The only league team besides Columbia with a winning record, Princeton gets back to work Jan. 24 against Division III Haverford, before they sink their teeth into their first Ivy League action at home against the Bears. They will meet the Bulldogs the following weekend.
Brown (7-7, 0-0)
Brown battled its way back to .500 Friday night with an 87-38 steamrolling of a dreadful 1-12 University of Maryland Eastern Shore squad. Senior point guard Jason Forte, the 2004 Ivy League player of the year, exploded for 25 points in the blowout, and junior forward Luke Ruscoe pulled down eight rebounds. Forte has been exceptional this year after sitting out the first two games with a suspension, with his Ivy League-best 17.4 points per game two points higher than Yale’s Edwin Draughan’s. After breaking even in their first 14 non-league games, the Bears come to Payne Whitney Saturday to kick off their Ivy League season against the Bulldogs.
Cornell (5-9, 0-1)
The Big Red took a pounding from freshmen in their last non-league game at Dayton Jan. 9. First-year Flyers Norman Plummer and Trent Meacham combined for 23 second-half points, and Cornell was never ahead in the eventual 62-51 loss. Junior Lenny Collins led the losing effort with 13 points and sits at fourth in Ivy League scoring with 14.7 PPG. The squad, inconsistent for much of the season, found no luck in their first Ivy League game, a matchup against Columbia in Morningside Heights. The Big Red blew a slight halftime lead and were outscored 36-25 in the second half en route to their second straight loss and their fifth loss in seven games. Cornell has the opportunity to exact revenge against their in-state foe quickly, as the Lions travel to Ithaca for the rematch Saturday night.
Pennsylvania (5-7, 0-0)
Penn’s four game losing streak was extended Jan. 12, as a 74-68 loss at Rider left the slumping Quakers still looking for their first road win. Senior forward Jan Fikiel’s career high 21 points could not match an explosive effort from Rider’s Jerry Johnson, who netted 23, including eight in overtime. Saturday night’s explosion in Albany may have been the jolt the Quakers needed, as they not only racked up their first road win, but destroyed hapless Siena 89-62. Mark Zoller and Eric Osmundson combined for 35 points, and the Saints never got closer than 14 in the second half. The Penn squad, inconsistent thus far in non-league play, stays close to home against Lafayette and St. Joseph’s before opening the Ivy League season Jan. 28 against the Bulldogs in Philadelphia.
Harvard (6-9, 1-1)
After splitting its two inaugural Ivy League opening games against Dartmouth, the Crimson headed home for one last nonleague game before breaking for exams. Harvard easily bounced back from their Jan. 8 loss to the Big Green with a 97-84 win over Sacred Heart in Cambridge. Five players scored in the double digits, including league rebounds leader Matt Stehle, who, with 14 points Wednesday night, held his fifth place standing in the Ivy League with 14.6 PPG. Following a prolonged break, it’s nothing but Ivy League games for the Crimson, who next play Columbia and Cornell in a New York state swing the weekend of January 28-29.
Dartmouth (4-11, 1-1)
The Big Green’s woeful season continued as they faced Vermont’s twin towers Jan. 10. Dartmouth watched Taylor Coppenrath and T.J. Sorrentine, the nation’s top scoring duo and both in the all-time top five in points for Vermont, net 60 of the Catamounts’ 78 points, and even with nine three-pointers the Big Green buckled 78-68. The team lost again last night, falling to Colgate, 69-61. The Big Green will follow in Harvard’s footsteps to New York to face Columbia and Cornell on January 29 and 30.