Though the reputation of Ivy League basketball has improved, the Ancient Eight was unable to garner a postseason victory this year.
Ivy League champion University of Pennsylvania (22-6, 14-0) fell to Oklahoma State in the first round of the NCAA tournament, and Brown (17-12, 12-2) dropped the NIT opener to Virginia.
Oklahoma State 77, Pennsylvania 63 (NCAA)
Penn entered its March 21 game with Oklahoma State at the Fleet Center in Boston with a 15-game winning streak that was third among active Division I streaks. The No. 11-seeded Quakers led by as many as five late in the first half, but trailed 36-35 when Victor Williams made one of two foul shots after a technical foul was whistled on Penn for having six men on the court.
The 6-seeded Oklahoma State never trailed again. Williams finished with a career-high 29.
Led by repeat Ivy League Player of the Year Ugonna Onyekwe’s 30-point performance on 10-of-16 shooting and 9 of 9 from the free throw line, Penn trailed by only four with 2:58 remaining. With Penn fouling to stop the clock, Oklahoma State scored the last 10 points of the game to win, 77-63.
Penn’s Andrew Toole contributed 14 points and five assists. Tim Begley, who along with Jeff Schiffner are the only two players of the Quaker top six returning next season, sprained his ankle with just under eight minutes to play and did not return.
Virginia 89, Brown 73 (NIT)
Brown, whose only two Ivy losses came against Penn, closed to 47-46 in the second half, but a 21-7 Virginia run gave the Cavaliers a 13-point lead with 5:26 left.
Virginia was led by senior Travis Watson who finished with 29 points on 11-of-16 shooting, 6 of 6 from the charity stripe, 12 rebounds, and three blocks.
Patrick Powers’ 18 points paced Brown. Brown’s trio of All-Ivy performers combined for 35 points: Jason Forte had six assists to go with 14 points, Earl Hunt scored 11, and Alaivaa Nuualiitia had 10.