The Ivy League men’s basketball season opened over the winter break as Harvard throttled Dartmouth. The league as a whole managed a 5-5 record right after Christmas up until Dec. 29. But from that point forward, Ivy teams dropped 17 games and won only 10.
Harvard 67, Dartmouth 50
Brian Sigafoos dropped a career-high 24 points to help Harvard (10-5, 2-0 Ivy) to an early lead in the Ivy standings. Teammate Sam Winter grabbed 12 rebounds and added 13 points. The Crimson as a whole outrebounded the Big Green 45 to 28.
Charles Harris and Mike Lang led all Dartmouth (4-8, 0-2) scorers with 12 a piece, but the team shot a woeful 32 percent from the field.
Providence 74, Pennsylvania 71 (OT)
The University of Pennsylvania (5-4, 0-0) showed mettle in evening the score in regulation, going on a 26-8 run to erase the Friars’ 16 point lead, but in the extra period the Quakers choked worse than Greg Norman on the fourth day of a major.
Up six with only 1:44 to play, Providence’s Sheiku Kabba nailed a 3 and teammate Ryan Gomes, who finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, made two free throws.
Penn’s Jeff Schiffner had his shot blocked by Tuukka Kotti who then scored the go-ahead basket with 7.7 seconds left. Determined not to let a loss slip through their fingers, Penn’s ensuing inbounds pass was intercepted by Donnie McGrath, who then connected on two freebies.
Now down 3, Penn saw two chances to tie, but Ugonna Onyekwe and Schiffner deftly avoided that possibility as each missed on a three-point attempt in the closing seconds.
Schiffner completed the game with 15 points, while Andrew Toole tallied 22, 18 of which came in the second half.
Like Robert Horry who is often lost in the hype surrounding Shaq and Kobe, Penn’s Jeff Schiffner has established himself as one of Penn’s key players, even if the attention is focused on Ugonna Onyekwe, Koko Archibong and Andrew Toole.
As of Jan. 10, Schiffner had played more minutes this season than any player on Penn’s squad. He was shooting a team-best 88 percent from the foul line, trailed only Onyekwe in rebounding, and had turned the ball over only five times — far less than any other player receiving significant minutes.
Pennsylvania 99, USC 61
It’s not a misprint. The Penn Quakers whacked the Trojans (6-5, 2-1 Pac-10) at the Forum in Los Angeles.
Everyone caught fire for Penn, who made 15 of 20 3-point attempts and shot 72 percent from the field. Koko Archibong, who had struggled of late, led the Quakers with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Onyekwe grabbed only one board, but scored 19 points against a stunned USC squad.
With five minutes left, Penn led by a staggering 42 points. Penn dominated the first half, going 21 of 24 from the field, with 19 assists, a 22-to-8 advantage in the paint, and 10 more fast break points. The Quakers never trailed.
No USC player deserves mention except Nick Curtis, who led his team with 15 points and eight rebounds.
Texas 57, Princeton 54
The Tigers almost corralled the No. 7 Longhorns (10-2) to add to Princeton’s reputation as a giant killer. Princeton (5-7, 0-0) took a 21-18 lead into the half, and held a 46-44 advantage with just over 5 minutes remaining.
Texas’ Chris Ogden came off the bench to sink a 3-point basket that put Texas ahead for good. Texas’ star point guard, T.J. Ford made 4 of 4 foul shots to ice the game, though Princeton’s Ed Persia had a 3-point jumper with seven seconds left that could have tied the game.
Brandon Mouton carried Texas with 21 points and Ford had 10 and four assists. Kyle Wente had 14 for the Tigers and Spencer Gloger dropped 11.
Gloger, who is decimal points behind Brown’s Earl Hunt in the Ancient Eight’s scoring race, has scored 70 points in his last four games and connected on 12 of 28 3-point attempts. Gloger transferred back to Princeton after spending a season at UCLA.
Harvard 69, Dartmouth 68
The Big Green certainly improved on their performance in the first matchup against Harvard. After Charles Harris cut the Harvard lead to 2, the Crimson’s Patrick Harvey, who led all scorers with 27, gave his team a 3-point cushion when he hit one of two foul shots with 10 seconds remaining.
Harris connected on a last second jumper meant to tie the score but referees ruled that his feet were just inside the 3-point arc.
Harvard’s Elliot Prasse-Freeman fed teammates seven times and surpassed the all-time Ivy League career mark for assists. The Crimson’s Sam Winter had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Mike McLaren had a career-high 21 points for the Big Green.
Around the league notes
Cornell dropped to 4-7 after a loss to Georgia Tech. Columbia (2-11, 0-0 Ivy) has continued to struggle and is in the midst of a four-game losing streak.
Brown’s Earl Hunt averaged just over 25 points per game in five contests since Christmas. Hunt, who recently became the all-time leading scorer at Brown (4-9, 0-0) by surpassing Arnie Berman’s 1,668 mark, was leading the Ivy League in scoring at 17.8 per game as of Jan. 10. He is now 10th all-time on the Ancient Eight’s scoring list.