The league's No. 7 seed, Columbia, waltzed into Gampel and gave the defending champion UConn quite the battle for 40 minutes. Meanwhile Ivy No. 8 seed Dartmouth was within a possession of Rutgers before ultimately falling by six.
The rest of the weekend was a combination of okay and downright scary results. Brown and Harvard took care of their Division III opponents with relative ease. Penn pulled away late to coast to a win in an ugly game against UMBC. Yale used an 18-1 run to open up a commanding lead on Central Connecticut, only to have the Blue Devils close a 14-point deficit to one with under two to play before the Bulldogs closed out a 73-69 victory.
Cornell and Princeton were the biggest losers of the weekend, as the Big Red had no answers for Andrew Nicholson and St. Bonaventure in a 21-point defeat and the Tigers looked lost in their first game under Mitch Henderson, committing 28 turnovers while getting steamrolled at home by Wagner.
ON THEIR WAY UP
- As suspected, Dartmouth's freshman can at the very least hold their own in a Division I basketball game, which is a huge development for the Big Green. But let's hold off on effusive praise just yet. John Golden went 3-for-12 en route to his eight points, and J'Vonte Brooks' team-leading offensive efficiency is a little less surprising when you consider that he used just 10.8% of possessions and took just 5.3% of his team's shots.
- Tickets went on sale today for the Blaise Staab bandwagon. He was the Lions best player against the Huskies, but skepticism is the prevailing feeling here. Might be worth picking up an option for a first class seat, but I wouldn't board just yet.
- And the best Harvard rookie is... Steve Moundou-Missi? The 6'7 Montverde product got 25 minutes against MIT and was a rebounding machine on both ends of the floor. Wesley Saunders logged just 10 minutes in the opener, though his solid performance probably earned him more time going forward.
- Zack Rosen showed up to play basketball on Friday. That shouldn't be too much of a surprise to Ivy followers. But Mike Howlett logging 21 good minutes with high quality production is positive news for the Quakers. Howlett deserves a full, healthy season after all he's been through.
- Greg Mangano used over 30 percent of his team's possessions and took 37 percent of its shots, knocked down a couple threes, grabbed 13 rebounds, blocked two shots and rescued a kitten from a tree en route to his 350th career double-double. He's your 2011-2012 Ivy POY. It's just going to happen.
- Reggie Willhite had a monster day as well (9-of-14 shooting, six rebounds, six steals) and could be a dangerous 'X' factor in Yale's quest for an Ivy title.
- The top five players by minutes for Princeton all turned the ball over at least four times each. Ian Hummer, for some reason, launched three treys (he actually made one). Will Barrett had a nice offensive outing, but managed to foul out in just 17 minutes on the court. The Tigers shot the ball well when they actually held onto it, but this was the worst Ivy performance of the weekend.
- Barely edging Cornell's, that is. Chris Wroblewski had an uncharacteristically poor performance, despite his eight assists. Johnathan Gray and Drew Ferry combined to go 5-for-17 from the field. St. Bonaventure also was able to dominate the glass, as was expected, given Nicholson's status as a NBA draft prospect.
- Noruwa Agho dropped 16 points on UConn. On 25 shots. Here we go again.
- Penn's defense was stifling, but its offense struggled. Aside from Rosen, the team shot 11-for-35 from the field, had six offensive rebounds and turned the ball over 11 times.