Oh, you again? Last month, Penn played a hard-fought game with the Elis but lost, 68-59. Yale took a 10 point lead late in the second half before a 9-0 run engineered by freshman Tony Hicks brought the Quakers within one point. But the run was not enough as the Bulldogs pulled away behind a clutch three from senior guard Austin Morgan and took the game by nine.
What have you been up to? Yale is coming off its biggest win of the season, as the Bulldogs upset then first-place Princeton yesterday, 71-66. The win completes the season sweep for Yale over the Tigers since the Elis also defeated Princeton the day after their first matchup with Penn. In the three weekends after the sweep of Princeton and Penn, Yale has split its six games, with wins against Columbia, Cornell and Dartmouth. After losing at Columbia last weekend, the Elis took advantage of a shorthanded Cornell squad and won 79-70 in Ithaca.
Leading the way: Yale’s signature this season has been a truly balanced lineup, with 10 players averaging at least 4.5 points per game, and 12 players getting over 13 minutes of court time per contest. In the Elis' last three games, Morgan has led the way, putting up double figures in each contest. Sophomore Matt Townsend has played well in the post for the Bulldogs, averaging 13 points per game in Yale’s last four Ivy matchups. But one Yale forward has been cold in recent games, and that is freshman Justin Sears. Sears had 11 points and seven rebounds off the bench in the Bulldogs’ first game against Penn, but he has scored just a combined eight points in Yale’s last three games.
SIZING IT UP
Scoring: YALE- Both teams struggled at times offensively in the first matchup at the Palestra, but Yale has proven to be the more consistent offensive team this year. The Bulldogs are second in scoring offense in the Ancient Eight and have put up at least 70 points in four of their last six games. They have surpassed 70 points in 11 games this season, compared to just four times by the Quakers.
Coming off back-to-back wins against Harvard last Saturday and at Brown last night, the Quakers go for their third consecutive conference victory tonight when they visit Yale. Who's up and who's down as we head into Yale?
Tony Hicks: The freshman guard has been outstanding of late, capturing two consecutive Ivy League Rookie of the Week awards. Hicks averaged 23.8 points per game in the four contests leading up to last night's matchup against Brown. While the Bears were able to limit Hicks to only five points, on 1-for-9 shooting no less, expect Hicks to bounce back nicely tonight against the Bulldogs. The freshman scored 11 points in the first meeting between Penn and Yale on Feb. 8. If Hicks wants to pick up his masterful play against the Ivy League, he will need to limit his turnovers and look for opportunities to get easy points at the free throw line.
Upsets: While the Ivy season developed as most expected it to in January and February, the madness of March has hit the Ancient Eight. On back-to-back weekends, the two teams leading the pack, Harvard and Princeton, were upset by Penn and Yale, respectively. Though the Quakers and Bulldogs have both been eliminated from contention for the Ivy League crown, both have stepped up lately to salvage big wins for their programs and play spoiler. Even though tonight's game may seem like a routine conference matchup, if the past few weeks have taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected.
A four-year starter for the Bears, Martin graduated from Brown in 2004. After playing a year professionally for Dart Killester in Ireland, Martin returned to Brown and served as an assistant under then-coach Glenn Miller for the 2005-06 season. When Miller was appointed Penn’s head coach the following year, Martin followed him to the Palestra.
Martin remained at Penn even when Miller was fired seven games into the 2009-10 season. While serving under both Miller and current head man Jerome Allen, Brown was instrumental in the recruiting process that brought players such as Zack Rosen, Henry Brooks and Miles Cartwright to the Quakers. Allen released a statement on Mike Martin’s appointment via Penn Athetics:
I am extremely happy for Mike and his family; his hiring is well-deserved. Mike has done the University of Pennsylvania a great service for the last six years, and it is only right that he get the opportunity to run his own program.
As I have learned the past three years, it is a special opportunity to oversee a program that you once played in, and I know that Mike will embrace that opportunity at Brown. With the exception of two times each season, I wish Mike nothing but the best of success.
It's my night off of recap writing, so while instead of sitting at Press Row watching Brown's Josh Biber shoot hoops with his teammate and babies rolling around on the other end of the court while Jennifer and Alyssa write, I'll come up with my Good, Bad & Ugly.
THE GOOD: Getting back on track. The Quakers technically still have control of their own destiny after tonight's win. And we don't have to say how big Friday's game against the Crimson is. Of course, though, Rob Belcore says Friday's matchup represents "the sixth Ivy League game." Ok.
Also good: Rob Belcore. Beast mode. 17 points (tied for a career high) and 10 rebounds, plus three steals. He went 7-for-10 and 3-for-6 from 3.
THE BAD: Penn's defensive breakdown to open the second half. Brown's Andrew McCarthy got through traffic not once, not twice, but three times for easy buckets in a 1:14 span. Belcore called it "unacceptable" and coach Jerome Allen said his players let up on the gas a bit. In the scheme of the game, the letup didn't make much difference. But come Friday, those kinds of lapses will really hurt the Quakers.
THE UGLY: Brown's shooting. At one point, the Bears were shooting just 8-percent from three. They ended up at 20-percent from three (4-for-20) and 37.7-percent overall (20-for-53). And 4-for-7 from the charity stripe. No bueno.
data-text="M. Hoops Liveblog: Penn @ Brown — Brought to you by the Blarney Stone" data-url="http://blogs.dailypennsylvanian.com/thebuzz/2012/02/04/m-hoops-liveblog-penn-brown-brought-to-you-by-the-blarney-stone/"