Friday, January 30, 2015

News and Notes: Friday Edition

Below, news and notes for Friday...

  • Discussing Rick Pitino, BC Interruption asked Card Cronicle about their legendary coach.  Card Chronicle responded, "We know he's going to drop Lou Holtz-level hyperbole on us about the nature of the challenge in playing Cornell or Cal State Northridge."
    • The Yale Daily News writes, "The Elis sit atop the Ivy League thanks to a sweep of Brown coupled with home losses from Columbia and Cornell. Yale (13–6, 2–0 Ivy) and Princeton (8–9, 1–0 Ivy) remain the only two undefeated teams." 
    5. Cornell 68, George Mason 60- Sure, George Mason is no power, but this game was played on the road in November and few knew if Cornell was going to duplicate its inept effort of last season. Shonn Miller and Robert Hatter both posted 21 points.
    Cornell may have a defense that stacks up against Harvard’s—as shocking as that sounds. Big Red senior Shonn Miller picked up 18 points, nine rebounds, and four blocks on Saturday. Clearly, he was not going to be held down for two straight games, since the week before he tallied just eight points, four rebounds, and one block.
    And as Light Blue head coach Kyle Smith has implied in the past, it is not an easy task to face the same conference foe twice in eight days. Then again, Cornell faced the same dilemma, and there was no lid on its basket. 

    • The Crimson previews the Ivy weekend and writes in part:
    ...Cornell, Penn, and Brown round out the standings—each with fundamental flaws. The Big Red (9-9, 1-1) has an excellent defense but a poor offense, with few prolific three-point shooting threats beyond Robert Hatter. The Bears (9-10, 0-2) are tough inside, but shaky on the perimeter. The Quaker’s (5-10, 0-2) Ivy opener—more on that later—prompted a local column that suggested coach Jerome Allen may be on the hot seat. Of course, 10 months ago members of the Penn women's lacrosse team were reported to be defacing local bars—stealing alcohol, breaking furniture, and, most offensively, tipping less than four percent on a $1300 tab. On-court concerns seem secondary.
    Amidst all this upheaval—and, well, debauchery—the Ivy League is a solid 15th in Jeff Sagarin’s conference ratings. At the time of year where small sample sizes have fans overreacting—West Virginia is great! Look out for Georgia!—nobody has separated themselves from the pack in the Ivy League. The 14-game tournament often has the unpleasant side effects of killing teams’ title hopes by the fourth week of the season; this year, no team looks to be the clear juggernaut Harvard was last year, when it blazed a path through the league General Sherman would have been proud of.
    Without further ado, onto the action, boss.
    Perhaps the most underappreciated team in the Ivy League is the frisky Big Red. Since starting a Cornell-like 2-4, the Big Red has won seven of 12 and were three points from sweeping Columbia earlier this year. Previous columnists in this space have opined we should kick them out of the Ancient Eight, but I have a soft spot for the Big Red.
    Pick: Cornell
    The stats tell us that this is the conference’s best team going against arguably its top player—Cornell forward Shonn Miller, who leads the league in defensive win shares. Unfortunately for Cornell, the Big Red have had roughly the same amount of success recently defending their home court that Tom had chasing Jerry.
    Pick: Yale 
     Ivy basketball stretch run is on for Cornell men, women
    The first of six consecutive two-game Ivy League weekends begins Friday for both the Cornell men’s and women’s basketball teams, as both begin the push to the finish line against Brown on Friday and Yale on Saturday.
    Coach Bill Courtney’s men’s squad (9-9 overall, 1-1 Ivy League) play host to the Bears at 7 p.m. Friday and the Bulldogs at 6 on Saturday. Both teams played in the Tournament (CIT) last season. Brown was swept by Yale (13-6, 2-0) in their Ivy-opening home-and-home series last weekend.
    Coach Dayna Smith’s women’s team (11-5, 2-0) has won five straight and sits tied with Yale atop the Ivy standings, a half-game ahead of nationally ranked Princeton (17-0, 1-0). Cornell takes on Brown at 7 p.m. Friday in Providence, R.I., then travels to New Haven, Conn., on Sunday for a 1 p.m. tip-off.
    The latter women’s game is being televised by the American Sports Network, but will not be available in Ithaca on Time Warner Cable. The game will be streamed live on the Ivy League Digital Network (subscription required) and at
    The Big Red men earned a season split with Columbia last weekend, parlaying a strong defensive effort into a 57-47 road defeat of the Lions. Cornell held Columbia to 33 percent shooting, including 24 percent from 3-point range, and just one field goal in the first eight minutes of the second half as the Red turned a two-point edge into a six-point margin and built the lead to 13 points late in the game.
    Leading scorer Shonn Miller paced the winners with 18 points and nine rebounds, while fellow senior Galal Cancer chipped in 16 points. After falling 48-45 to the Lions a week earlier at Newman Arena, the Big Red earned the split by shooting 44.9 percent from the floor and hitting nine of 12 foul shots to boost its league-leading average (73.5 pct.).
    The 6-foot-7 Miller leads the league in scoring at 16.7 points per game, and in rebounding at 8.1 per game. Other double-figure scorers for Courtney’s squad are sophomore guard Robert Hatter (12.1 ppg.) and senior backcourt mate Devin Cherry (10.0 ppg.), with Cancer close at 9.1 per game. Sophomore forward David Onuorah (2.2 ppg., 3.9 rpg.) leads the team with 33 offensive rebounds.
    Brown (9-10, 0-2) , which has lost three of its last four, is led by 6-9 junior forward Cedric Kuakumensah (11.1 ppg., 6.8 rpg.) and 6-6 sophomore guard Steven Spieth (10.3 ppg.). It was announced on Thursday that the team’s leading scorer, 6-7 sophomore forward Leland King (14.6 ppg., 7.8 rpg.), has left the team for personal reasons.
    King scored 18 points in the Bears’ 80-62 home loss to Yale two weeks ago, but was not in the lineup for last weekend’s 69-65 defeat in New Haven.
    “Leland has been a valuable member of the Brown basketball program for the last year-and-a half and will be missed by his teammates and coaching staff,” Brown head coach Mike Martin said in a statement issued Thursday afternoon. “We wish him continued success with his future plans.”
    Cornell leads the all-time series with the Bears, 74-47, and has won 16 of the last 20 but has lost the last three meetings.
    Yale (8-8, 2-0) — which stunned defending national champion Connecticut early last month in Storrs — sits atop the Ivies heading into Friday night’s game at Columbia. The Bulldogs are led by the 1-2 punch of 6-4 senior guard Javier Duren (13.9 ppg.) and 6-8 junior forward Justin Sears (13.7 ppg.), the Ivy League’s last two players of the week.
    Duren posted a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds in the road victory over Brown; Sears, who like Cornell’s Miller was named to the Lou Henson Award Watch List in the preseason, spearheaded a Yale second-half rally last weekend against Brown and finished with a game-high 27 points.
    Bulldogs junior guard Jack Montague (9.4 ppg.) will be forever remembered in Yale basketball history, as it was his 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds to play — his only points of the game — that took down the Huskies, 45-44, on Dec. 5 in Gampel Pavilion. His shot, combined with a Duren steal of the ensuing inbounds pass, handed the Huskies their first loss in 69 games against in-state opponents.
    It also made Yale just the second Ivy League team to knock off a defending NCAA champion. Princeton was the first, beating UCLA in the 1996 NCAA tournament.
    Sure it’s still early, but the Yale men’s basketball team has to be pleased right now.
    The Bulldogs sit atop the Ivy League standings. They came out of a very challenging non-conference schedule battle-tested and boasting the most wins in program history heading into league play. In addition, four-time defending conference champion and preseason favorite Harvard lost to Dartmouth on Saturday, a sign, perhaps, that the race for a conference crown is very much wide open.
    “We were surprised,” Yale senior Matt Townsend said. “We’re happy to see the team picked first lose early. At the same time, we’ve been there. More than anything, it’s a reminder that you can’t take any team lightly in this league. There’s definitely a feeling this year that if we work our butts off, we can really take it. It’s not a situation where we feel we need someone to slip up. If we come to play, we can take it.”
    Yale (13-6, 2-0 Ivy) now travels to New York for a two-game stretch. The Bulldogs face Columbia (9-7, 1-1) tonight at 8 p.m., and then take on Cornell (9-9) on Saturday at 6 p.m. The Lions have many pieces back from their first 20-win season in decades. Columbia is one of the nation’s top defensive teams and has one of the league’s best guards in junior Maodo Lo.
    The Big Red has the top scorer in the league in Shonn Miller (16.7 ppg).
    Yale hasn’t opened its Ivy League slate with three straight wins since 2000-01 and hasn’t won its first four league games since 1961-62.
    Just how good is this team?
    “It’s hard to say,” Yale coach James Jones said. “We’ve had a chance to win every game, except Florida (85-47 loss). That’s all you can ask for. How good are we? We’ll see. If we can stay healthy, we have a good chance.”
    Aside from the defeat against Florida, the Bulldogs haven’t lost by more than seven points and two of its losses came in double overtime.
    The Bulldogs have arguably the best one-two punch in the league in guard Javier Duren and forward Justin Sears. The two are coming off a combined 51-point effort in a 69-65 victory over Brown last week. Yale has good depth and balance. Players like sharpshooting guard Jack Montague are thriving in an expanded role and strong rebounding remains a staple.
    “First place, it’s where we want to be,” Townsend said. “But at the same time, we’re two games in of a 14-game season. We definitely have our eyes set on the upcoming weekend.”
    While an 0-2 start in the Ivy League was not what the men’s basketball team hoped for, the Bears can take a big step forward this weekend with their New York doubleheader at Cornell and Columbia, this Friday and Saturday, respectively.
    Bruno (9-10, 0-2 Ivy) dropped two contests to Ivy leader Yale (13-6, 2-0) in the first two weekends of conference play, and the road will not get much easier this weekend. Cornell (9-9, 1-1) and Columbia (9-7, 1-1) boast the top two scorers in the Ivy League, and each team has a number of weapons on both ends of the court. The Empire State rivals split with one another to open league play.
    A tightly matched battle against Yale on the road last Saturday could have given the Bears some momentum, but instead they took a hit this week with the news that starting forward and leading scorer Leland King ’17 is leaving the basketball program for personal reasons. The talented sophomore ranked fourth in the Ivy League in scoring and third in rebounding.
    The loss of King certainly diminishes the Brown attack. That said, the team played a much closer game against Yale the second time around when King was not in the lineup. But guard J.R. Hobbie ’17 said the difference lay in the team’s energy, not in King’s absence.
    “Leland is a great player, a great scorer, but it helps free things up a little bit,” Hobbie said. “We are moving the ball well.”
    The Big Red went a dismal 2-26 last season, winning just one conference game en route to a last place finish. But the new season has brought new life to the squad, particularly in the form of senior forward Shonn Miller.
    The 6-foot-7 Miller brought home First Team All-Ivy honors two years ago but missed all of last season due to a shoulder injury. He has returned this year and is quickly making up for lost time. Miller leads the Ancient Eight in scoring and rebounding, with 16.7 points and 8.1 boards per game. The senior occasionally steps out to hit a three but does most of his work inside, shooting 46 percent from inside the arc and 86 percent from the free throw line.
    “It’s going to be a team effort. Shonn Miller is … one of the best in the Ivy League,” Hobbie said. “We come into every game knowing defense is going to win us games, and stopping him is a big part of that.”
    After Miller, the Big Red is very top-heavy with its scoring. Three more starters — Robert Hatter, Devin Cherry and Galal Cancer — average more than nine points per game, but nobody else on the roster scores more than four. A member of Cornell’s top four has led the team in scoring and rebounding every game and in assists every game but one.
    After attempting to defend the league’s leading scorer Friday night, the Bears will face the league’s second-leading scorer Saturday in the Lions’ junior guard Maodo Lo.
    Preseason polls ranked Columbia close to Brown in a fight for third place in the Ivy League — behind Harvard and Yale. Thanks in part to Lo’s offensive exploits and a stout defense devised by Head Coach Kyle Smith, the Lions have some impressive games under their belt.
    Columbia made national headlines when it traveled to undefeated No. 1 Kentucky for what should have been a blowout. Instead, the Lion defense limited the powerful Wildcats all night, and Columbia lead until midway through the second half when Kentucky pulled out a 56-46 victory. The game also served as a coming-out party for Lo, who hit four threes as part of a game-high 16 points.
    Hobbie said the team is focused on Cornell and has not set its defense for Lo yet, but the Bears will likely counter him the way they guarded Yale guard Javier Duren, with a mix of Tavon Blackmon ’17 and Steven Spieth ’17. Martin may also put in athletic first-year Jason Massey ’18 to square up Lo, as he did with Duren.
    Most of Columbia’s scoring comes from its back court, where second- and third-leading scorers Kyle Castlin and Steve Frankoski join Lo. Senior center Cory Osetkowski is a big body at 6-foot-11, but Bruno should have the advantage down low with talented big men Rafael Maia ’15 and Cedric Kuakumensah ’16.
    With Columbia picked to finish third in the conference and Cornell resurging this season, the New York Ivies will make noise in the league. A strong showing this weekend is just what Bruno needs to forget its rocky start.
    With the first full weekend of Ivy action on tap, the Yale men’s basketball team finds itself perched atop the Ancient Eight with seven teams gunning for them. Two of those clubs will have a chance to dethrone the Elis this weekend, as Yale travels to New York to square off against Columbia and Cornell.
    “We’re very much aware that there’s a target on our back, sitting at the top of the league,” point guard Javier Duren ’15 said. “Teams are going to be coming for us — and that’s where we want to be at — but we also have to realize the danger of being in that situation.”
    Six of the eight conference teams have already dropped at least one Ivy matchup at this point in the young season, with Princeton — which has only played one league matchup — and Yale (13–6, 2–0 Ivy) the lone squads without a blemish on their conference records.
    As the only school to be 2–0 in the Ivy League, the sentiment of a target on their backs was shared by many members of the Bulldog basketball squad.
    “Everyone’s out to get us so we need to treat every game like it’s our last,” guard Jack Montague ’16 said. “It’s a 14-game tournament and we can’t afford to drop one here or there against a team that we should beat, so it puts a little bit of pressure on us.”
    The pressure begins tonight at Columbia (9–7, 1–1), where the Bulldogs have dropped two straight matchups. The road trip could take its toll, as the late 8 p.m. start against the Lions will have Yale’s players arriving in Ithaca in the early morning hours on Saturday before a 6 p.m. tip against the Big Red (9–9, 1–1).
    Yale has not swept the Columbia-Cornell road trip since 2003, and the Elis have not opened conference play 3–0 since the 2000–01 campaign.
    Forward Justin Sears ’16, who was named Ivy League Player of the Week for the second time this season after a 27-point outing against Brown on Saturday, said the keys to the weekend will primarily come down to focus between the ears rather than the X’s and O’s.
    “They’re two road games, and we haven’t played that well at Columbia in the past couple of years, and going up to Cornell is a long trip, like five hours,” Sears said. “Blocking out the distractions, whether it be the fatigue or the fans out there and just focusing on ourselves is the key.”
    Delving into the numbers, however, reveals what should be an intriguing matchup of offense versus defense. The Elis average 70 points per game, entering play as the most proficient scoring team in the conference, whereas Columbia and Cornell average 64.6 and 62.9 points per game, respectively.
    On the flip side, Columbia and Cornell rank second and third in scoring defense. One only has to look at the scores of the teams’ two battles the past two weekends to see how rarely the ball goes through the basket — Columbia outlasted Cornell in the first meeting 48–45 before falling 57–47 last weekend.
    Those two defensive struggles are a far cry from Yale’s open to Ivy play, as the Bulldogs averaged 74.5 points per game in its two victories over Brown.
    Both New York foes have capable scorers, however. In fact, Cornell’s Shonn Miller and Columbia’s Maodo Lo are the top two scorers in the Ivy League.
    Lo appears to be the most crucial to his team’s success. While Cornell has three players averaging double figures, Lo is the only such player for the Lions, who are without star forward Alex Rosenberg due to a preseason injury and his subsequent withdrawal for the remainder of the school year.
    “We’ll go over all our matchups [in practice], but we do know that he’s a huge part of Columbia’s offense,” Duren said of Lo. “I know a lot of it’s going to be detail on stopping him, containing him and making sure he doesn’t have a big game.”
    While the numbers point to a classic confrontation of great offense versus stout defense, Yale still prides itself on its own defensive capabilities as well as its +6.8 rebounding margin, which is more than double the next best Ivy squad.
    Duren said that defense and effort are two variables the Bulldogs can focus on this weekend if they wish to build on their quick start.
    “You never know if your offense is going to be there on any given night, but what we can control is our defense and how hard we work,” Duren said.
    Such constant grit and defensive effort can take its toll on a team as the conference schedule progresses, but the Elis seem intent on doing all that they can to prevent relinquishing control of the league.
    The upcoming slate against the Lions and the Big Red is the first of six consecutive two-game weekends, with all games coming on Fridays and Saturdays.
    Despite the grind, Sears said that he relishes the opportunity to make a statement, weekend after weekend, in the Ivy League.
    “Each game is a new opportunity to prove to the league that we’re the best team out there,” Sears said.
    Tonight’s matchup at Levien Gymnasium will mark the 228th time that Yale and Columbia have played, tied for the oldest continuous series in Division I history.
    Game Notes
    Providence, R.I. -  Brown looks to get back on the winning track in the toughest Ivy League road trip this weekend, traveling to the Empire State to battle Cornell and Columbia on Friday and Saturday, January 30 and 31. Both games tip-off at 7pm. Watch all the action on the Ivy League Digital Network or listen on WPRV AM-790 with Scott Cordischi calling the play and Russ Tyler '71 providing in depth analysis.

    The Records: Brown (9-10, 0-2 Ivy) lost to Yale, 69-65, on a late basket (3.6 seconds remaining), despite 18 points from Rafael Maia '15 and 17 points from Steven Spieth '17.  Cornell (9-9, 1-1 Ivy) defeated Columbia (9-7, 1-1 Ivy), 57-47, last week, to earn the season split. 

    Bear Facts:  - Forward Rafael Maia '15 leads the Ivy League in field goal percentage (.586).      
    -       Guard Steven Spieth '17 is the only Brown player to start all 19 games. He hit 13-of-14 free throws vs. Yale, and 18 of his last 19 free throws overall, and is sixth in the Ivy League in free throw percentage (.841).
    -       Tavon Blackmon '17 ranks fourth in the Ivies in assists (3.8) and seventh in free throw percentage (.833).
    -       Forward Cedric Kuakumensah '16 is the fourth player in Ivy basketball history to register 200 or more career blocked shots, now with 206 blocks. He leads the Ivy League with 2.6 blocked shots per game.
    -       Forward Leland King '17 has decided to leave the Brown team for personal reasons.
    The Brown vs. Cornell Series Record:  Brown and Cornell will be meeting for the 124th time, dating back to 1949-1950, with the Big Red holding a 74-49 series advantage. Brown has won the last three games with the Big Red, sweeping Cornell last year, 78-66 in Providence behind 18 points each by Steven Spieth '17 and JR Hobbie '17, and 81-75 in Ithaca, behind Cedric Kukumensah's 30 points and seven blocks.  Cornell had won the previous 13 games between the two teams, including a 69-66 win over the Bears on 2/16/13 in Providence.

    The Brown vs. Columbia Series Record: Brown and Columbia have met 133 times, dating back to 1900-1901, with the Lions holding a 69-64 series advantage. The two teams split games last year.  Brown earned a 64-56 decision on 2/1/14 in Providence behind Rafael Maia's '15 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Columbia rallied for a 70-68 decision in New York City on 2/21/14. Brown has won four of the last five meetings with Columbia.
    Blackmon Directs The Bears Attack: Sophomore point guard Tavon Blackmon (Upper Marlboro, MD) ranks fourth in the Ivy League in assists with 3.8 per game. Blackmon had a complete game vs. Yale with 15 points, 5 assists and four rebounds. He tossed in 11 points and handed out five assists vs. Lyndon State after scoring 10 points, handing out four assists and grabbing four rebounds vs. New Hampshire. Blackmon scored 13 points, dished out a career-best eight assists and made a career-best three steals in Brown's win over Sacred Heart, while connecting on 7-of-8 free throws. He came back vs. Rhode Island with 13 points and seven assists. Blackmon scored 16 points vs. Central Connecticut on 4-of-6 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 shooting from the free throw line. He played the most complete game of his career vs. Providence, scoring 11 points, and handing out seven assists, while turning the ball over just two times against the Friars pressure in 40 minutes of play.  He connected on 4-of-4 free throws in the last 52-seconds and also forced PC's high-scoring guard Kris Dunn into six turnovers. Blackmon tossed in 11 points and pulled down four rebounds in Brown's win over Bryant. He registered a career-high 18 points in Brown's season-opening win over St. Peter's, connecting on 8-of-8 free throws down the stretch. His 3.5 assists per game last year ranked fifth in the Ivy League, including a season-high seven assists against Harvard, Yale and Longwood.

    Spieth Steps Up vs. Yale: Sophomore guard Steven Spieth (Dallas, TX) is Brown's third leading scorer with 10.3 points per game, and ranks sixth in the Ivy League in free throw percentage (.841) and fifth in steals (1.4). He scored 17 points vs. Yale on 13-of-14 shooting from the free throw line, while grabbing eight rebounds. Spieth played a major role in Brown's win over Providence with 15 points on 9-of-9 shooting from the free throw line, while grabbing six rebounds and handing out three assists. He paced the Bears with 19 points and 10 rebounds in Brown's win over Central Connecticut. Spieth scored 12 points vs. Bryant, hitting 8-of-8 free throws, but played a huge role defensively, holding Bryant's high scoring Dyami Starks to just 5-of-18 shooting overall. He connected on 11-of-13 free throws in scoring 15 points vs. Johnson & Wales, and scored 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field vs. Prairie View in the final game of the Las Vegas Invitational. Spieth tossed in a career-high 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds against Illinois in the Las Vegas Invitational in Champaign, Ill., connecting on 7-of-10 field goals and 6-of-8 free throws. Spieth distributed a career high seven assists against Indiana State. Last year, Spieth started all 29 games and was a three-time Ivy Rookie of the Week. He ranked second in the Ivy League in free throw percentage (.860).  Spieth registered a double-double in a win over Penn with 19 points and 12 rebounds, and scored a then career-high 20 points vs. Dartmouth, hitting 11-of-13 free throws.
    Rafael Maia – Two-Time Ivy League Rebounding Leader: Senior forward Rafael Maia (Sao Paulo, Brazil), a two-year captain for the Bears, led the Ivy League in rebounding in each of the last two seasons, averaging 8.1 rebounds per game a year ago. Maia is the Ivy League leader in field goal percentage, connecting on 58-of-99 field goal attempts (.586), and ranks second in rebounding (7.8 rpg). Maia scored a season high 18 points on the road at Yale on 5-of-6 shooting from the field, while grabbing 9 rebounds. He posted a double-double vs. Yale at home with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, and 12 rebounds. Maia pulled down 10 rebounds in Brown's win over Central Connecticut. He scored a team high 15 points vs. New Hampshire and grabbed 12 rebounds, while scoring nine points vs. Lyndon State. He stepped up vs. Sacred Heart with 13 points and nine rebounds, and came back vs. URI with nine points and six rebounds. Maia netted 12 points and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds vs. Johnson & Wales. He scored 11 points vs. Prairie View at the Las Vegas Invitational after missing the previous game (Austin Peay) due to illness. He scored nine of his 13 points in the opening half against Illinois, while grabbing six rebounds. Maia opened the season by scoring 13 points and pulling down seven rebounds against St. Peter's. He came back with 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds against Northwestern. Maia was named the Ivy League's best rebounder by Lindy's Sports Annuals.   A CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, Maia started 22 games last season, missing seven due to injury. He had nine games with double-figure rebounding, including a season-high 14 rebounds vs. UMass Lowell. An Academic All-Ivy honoree, he also led Brown and ranked seventh in the Ivy League in field goal percentage (.478). The rugged Brazilian played for Brazil in the World University Games in Russia in the summer of 2013.
    Where are they now?  Former two-time first team All-Ivy guard Sean McGonagill '14, Brown's third all-time leading scorer, is playing for the Giants Dusseldorf in Germany.
    Bears Stun Providence:  Brown defeated defending Big East Champion Providence College for the second time in the last three years, 77-67, with tenacious defense and 12-of-13 shooting from the free throw line down the stretch at the Dunkin Donuts Center in the 121st meeting between the two Providence schools. Junior forward Cedric Kuakumensah earned Ivy League Player of the Week honors after scoring 15 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Steven Spieth threw in 15 points on 9-of-9 shooting from the free throw line, while pulling down six rebounds. 
    More Bear Facts: Freshman guard Jason Massey (Cooper City, FL) scored nine points vs. Prairie View, and earned starts vs. Johnson & Wales and American. He grabbed a career-high four rebounds in Brown's win over Bryant…Freshman guard Patrick Triplett (St. Louis, MO) scored a career best 11 points vs. Lyndon State…Senior forward Longji Yiljep earned a starting role vs. Prairie View.  He had two points and two rebounds vs. Lyndon State…Senior forward Jon Schmidt (Baltimore, MD) had four rebounds and two points vs. Lyndon State… Brown's 59 rebounds vs. Lyndon State were the most rebounds since 12/4/99 vs. New Hampshire… Since the Ivy League began playing basketball in the 1954-55 season, Brown has posted four non-league winning seasons, including this year's 9-8 mark. Brown's 2001-02 team compiled a 9-4 non-league record, its 1966-67 squad was 7-5 in the non-league, and the Bears' 2013-14 team earned an 8-7 non-league mark. This year's team tied the school record for non-league wins (9). 
    Kuakumensah – Records 200th Career Blocked Shot: Junior forward Cedric Kuakumensah (Worcester, MA), the Ivy League leader with 2.6 blocked shots per game, is the premier defensive player in the Ivy League, having been named the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year for two straight years. He holds the Brown school record for blocked shots in a career with 206, and became the fourth player in Ivy basketball history to block 200 or more shots. Kuakumensah's 47 blocked shots in 2014-15 are fifth in the Brown record book. His 11.1 points per game are second on the Brown team, while grabbing 6.8 rebounds per game are sixth in the Ivy League. Kuakumensah registered a double-double vs. New Hampshire with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while adding three blocked shots. He scored 21 points, grabbed five rebounds and blocked three shots vs. Rhode Island, followed by a 14 rebound, six blocked shot performance against UMass Lowell. Kuakumensah turned in a strong performance in Brown's win over Central Connecticut with 13 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots. He was named the Ivy League Player of the Week after his dominating performance in a win over Providence with 15 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots against the defending Big East Champions. Kuakumensah exploded for 20 points vs. Bryant and completed the double-double with 15 rebounds, while blocking four shots. He also netted a team high 17 points vs. American. Kuakumensah blocked four shots, scored 15 points and grabbed five rebounds vs. Austin Peay at the Las Vegas Invitational. Kuakumensah opened the season by scoring 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field, while grabbing seven rebounds and blocking three shots vs. St. Peter's. Last year, Kuakumensah established a new Ivy League single-season record with 93 blocked shots, and ranked sixth nationally with 3.2 blocked shots per game. He scored a career-high 30 points against Cornell last year on 12-of-19 shooting from the field, while grabbing a career-best 14 rebounds and blocking seven shots against the Big Red. He has blocked seven shots four times in his career, a Brown single-game record. Kuakumensah, who played at the St. Andrew's School in Barrington, RI, averaged 7.2 rebounds per game last year, third best in the Ivy League.
    Ivy League Career Blocked Shots – Top 5
    1.         252 ... Brian Gilpin (Dartmouth, 1993-97)
    2.         225 ... Walter Palmer (Dartmouth, 1986-90)
    3.         213 ... Greg Mangano (Yale, 2009-12)
    4.         206…Cedric Kuakumensah (Brown, 2012-present)
    5.         195 ... Geoff Owens (Penn, 1997-01)
    Brown: Individual Single Season Blocked Shots
    1.            93*…Cedric Kuakumensah (2013-14)          
    2.            66…Cedric Kuakumensah (2012-13)
    3.            59…Matt Mullery (2008-09)
    4.            48…Matt Mullery (2009-10)
    5.           47…Cedric Kuakumensah (2014-15)
    6.            42…Jamie Kilburn (2003-04)
    7.            41…Andrew McCarthy (2011-12)
    8.            40…Alai Nuualiitia (2002-03)
    9.            39…Stark Langs (1983-84)
    10.          37…Matt Mullery (2007-08)
           * Ivy League record

    Walker – Impact In The Middle: Senior forward Dockery Walker (Magnolia, DE), who has started 45 career games for the Bears, scored six points and grabbed six rebounds in Brown's first meeting with Yale. He pulled down 11 rebounds and scored seven points vs. Lyndon State, and scored seven points and pulled down three rebounds in Brown's win over Sacred Heart. Walker also had six points and four rebounds in the Bears' win over UMass Lowell and added seven points and three rebounds vs. New Hampshire. Last year, Walker earned two starts in 29 games played, and scored 17 points against UMass Lowell and Daniel Webster.  Walker pulled down a season-high nine rebounds in wins over Daniel Webster and UMass Lowell, and scored in double figures seven times. He missed all of the 2012-13 season due to injury.  As a sophomore in 2011-12, he scored in double figures 13 times, including a career-high 23 points against Cornell, connecting on 10-of-11 field goals, while completing the double-double with 17 rebounds against the Big Red.  Walker, who started 19 games as a sophomore, was Brown's second-leading rebounder with 4.6 rpg.

    Hobbie From Three:  Sharpshooting sophomore JR Hobbie (Spring Lake, NJ) ranks fifth in the Ivy League in three-point field goal percentage (.398) and seventh in treys made per game (1.9). He scored seven points vs. Yale, and led the Bears with 12 points in a win over UMass Lowell. Hobbie netted 12 points with four treys vs. Lyndon State.  He scored 13 points in Brown's win over Providence, connecting on 4-of-7 treys and converting a four-point play. Hobbie scored 13 points in Brown's win over Johnson & Wales and eight points vs. Bryant.  He played a big role in Brown's win over Prairie View with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the three-point arc. He stepped up against Northwestern with 12 points, after scoring eight points in Brown's season opening win over St. Peter's, connecting on 2-of-3 treys. He netted six points vs. Holy Cross on 2-of-4 shooting from beyond the three-point arc. Last year, Hobbie was a three-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week, who ranked fifth in the Ivy League in three-point field goal percentage and seventh in treys made (1.7 per game). He scored a career-high 20 points vs. Daniel Webster, connecting on 6-of-13 treys, and netted 18 points vs. Cornell on 6-of-9 shooting from beyond the three-point arc.
    Head Coach Mike Martin: Former Brown basketball standout Mike Martin '04, the 31st head men's basketball coach in the program's 109-year history, has changed the direction and culture of the program in two years as head coach of the Bears, with the building blocks in place to develop an Ivy Championship team. Martin took over the reins of the program in 2012-13 and was named a finalist for the Joe B. Hall Award as the nation's outstanding first-year head coach after leading the Bears to a turnaround season with a 13-15 overall record, including a fourth-place finish in the Ivy standings with a 7-7 mark after winning four of its last five games. Martin's 2013-14 team posted a 15-14 overall record and hosted Brown's first-ever home postseason game, playing Holy Cross in the Postseason Tournament at the Pizzitola Sports Center.  In addition, Cedric Kuakumensah '16 was named the Ivy League's Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season. Martin's first recruiting class proved to be one of the most honored in Brown basketball history, with three different freshmen being named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week a school record 10 times. A four-year starter at Brown, Martin was part of the winningest class in Bears' basketball history, posting a 63-45 four-year record from 2000-04. He also helped the Class of 2004 to a school-record 39-17 Ivy League mark during that period - the best by an Ivy League team, other than Penn and Princeton, since 1970. An Agawam, Mass., native, Martin launched his coaching career at Brown as an assistant coach in 2005-06 and was an assistant coach at Penn from 2006-12.

    Williams Contributes In The Backcourt:  Freshman Tyler Williams (West Chester, OH) scored a career-high eight points in three straight games: eight points vs. Rhode Island on 3-of-4 shooting from the field, including 2-of-2 from behind the three-point arc; eight points again, this time vs. UMass Lowell; and eight points vs. New Hampshire. Williams earned the starting point guard role in Brown games against Holy Cross, Indiana State and Yale. He netted four points and handed out three assists vs. Indiana State, and earned his first career starting role vs. Holy Cross, scoring four points.  Williams tossed in five points and pulled down two rebounds against St. Peter's in Brown's season opener.

    Bears On The Air:  Brown's entire 31-game schedule is being broadcast on WPRV-AM 790 with Scott Cordischi, the voice of Brown basketball and football, calling all the action. Former Brown basketball star Russ Tyler '71 (1,133 career points) provides the color analysis. Brown fans can also listen to the broadcast on

    Watch Live Video of The Bears On BrownBears.TV: Brown fans can watch a multi-camera HD broadcast of all Brown home games and away Ivy League contests on BrownBears.TV as part of the Ivy League Digital Network. Powered by NeuLion, the Brown Channel is a part of the Ivy League's completely redesigned, nine-channel digital network that includes an easy-to-navigate interface, a League-wide network schedule and new interactive features, such as simultaneous four-game viewing, full DVR controls and social media integration. These new features enhance the viewing experience for the expanded range of events and other content offerings, all of which are available on computer, mobile and tablet devices without the use of an app. Packages for BrownBears.TV are $89.95 for 12 months, $39.95 for four months, $10.95 for one month and $9.95 for a single day and include multi-camera HD coverage of all available home and Ivy away games in football, and men's and women's basketball.

    Next Game:  Brown returns home to the Pizzitola Sports Center after three straight league road games for a key Ivy League weekend, hosting Harvard on Friday, February 6 at 7pm, and Dartmouth on Saturday, February 7 at 6pm.  It's also Basketball Alumni Weekend, with the annual Alumni Game being played on Saturday at 2pm.
    Purchase Brown Tickets:  Tickets for all Brown men's basketball home games can be purchased online at, calling the Brown Athletics Ticket Office at (401) 863-2773, or walking up to the Box Office located in the Pizzitola Sports Center, open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
     New York Weekend On Tap For Bulldogs
    Yale Faces Columbia Friday, Cornell Sunday
    Yale Game Notes  |  Columbia Game NotesCornell Game Notes
    Ivy League Digital Network Video  |  Yale-Columbia Live Stats | Yale-Cornell Live Stats
    Where To Watch Yale-Columbia On American Sports Network
    Yale Basketball On Twitter  |  Yale Basketball On Facebook
    NEW HAVEN, Conn.  – The first full weekend of Ivy League play takes the Bulldogs to New York. Yale meets Columbia on Friday at 8 p.m. in a game that will be syndicated by the American Sports Network (available on SNY in Connecticut) and then has a short turnaround before playing Cornell on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Ithaca, N.Y.
    The Bulldogs (13-6, 2-0 Ivy) got the league season off to a strong start by sweeping travel partner Brown on back-to-back Saturday's. Javier Duren and Justin Sears led the way. Duren posted his first career double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds) in the 80-62 victory at Brown and then hit the winning shot with 3.6 seconds left a week later in New Haven. Sears averaged 21 points in the two games, including scoring a game-high 27 in the 69-65 victory at Lee Amphitheater. Duren was named the Ivy League player of the week following the win in Providence, while Sears was honored this week.
    Yale has been far more balanced for the rest of the season. Duren (13.9 ppg.) and Sears (13.7 ppg.) lead the team in scoring, but there are seven players averaging at least 5.4 points, and 10 players averaging double figure minutes.
    The Bulldogs lead the league in scoring (70.0 ppg.), rebounding margin (+6.8), assists (14.6 per game) and offensive rebounds (12.4 per game).
    Yale hasn't started league play at 3-0 since 2000-01, James Jones' second year as head coach. The Bulldogs haven't won their first four Ivy games since 1961-62.
    Post Play – In the Bulldogs' two victories over Columbia last year, they were successful getting the ball inside. They'll likely look to do the same thing again as the Lions are one of the top teams in the nation defending the three-point line.
    Be Ready At The Start – Columbia struggled from the field in the second half last Saturday against Cornell. Expect the Lions to come out strong.
    Contain Shonn Miller – After missing all of last season with an injury, Miller has returned to lead a much improved Cornell team. He leads the league in scoring and rebounding so Yale must pay close attention to him.
    Yale and Columbia played three times last year. The teams split the two regular season meetings, with each winning on their home floor, but the Bulldogs knocked off the Lions 72-69 in the quarterfinals of the postseason tournament (CIT). Yale and Columbia have met at least once every year since 1902, which ties the series with Yale-Princeton as the oldest continuous series in Division I. The Lions lead the all-time series 124-103.
    The Bulldogs have won the last three meetings with Cornell, including the last two in Ithaca. The Big Red, though, lead the all-time series 110-106. The teams first played in 1899, a 49-7 Yale victory. It was the Bulldogs' first game against an Ivy League opponent.
    Yale last swept the Columbia-Cornell road trip in 2003.
    The Lions (9-7, 1-1 Ivy) split with their travel partner Cornell with each team notching a road victory. Columbia is second in the Ivy League and 21st in the nation in scoring defense (58.4 ppg.) and leads the league and is ninth in the nation in three-point field goal percentage defense (.274). Maido Lo leads the team in scoring at 15.8 ppg., which is second in the league. Cory Osetkowski averages a team best 6.4 rebounds.
    The Big Red (9-9) is one of the most improved teams in the nation after winning only two games last year. A big reason why is the return of Shonn Miller, who missed all of last season with an injury. Miller leads the league in scoring (16.7 ppg.) and rebounding (8.1 rpg.). Other big differences in Cornell's turnaround include the return of Galal Cancer (9.1 ppg., 3.8 rpg., 3.2 apg., 1.0 spg.) after a year away from basketball, the move of Devin Cherry to point guard (10.0 ppg., 4.6 rpg., 3.7 apg., 1.0 spg.) and the maturation of sophomores Robert Hatter (12.1 ppg., 2.6 rpg., 1.4 spg.) and David Onuorah (2.2 ppg., 3.9 rpg., 1.3 bpg.).

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