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February 7, 2014

Men's Basketball Preview for February 7-8

Complete Men's Basketball Weekly Release in pdf format

Photo courtesy of Brown Athletic Communications

PRINCETON, N.J. -- While the wintry weather continues throughout the Northeast, the Ivy League men's basketball title race heats up with intriguing matchups up and down the Ancient Eight footprint this weekend.

All eight games are slated to be carried live on The Ivy League® Digital Network.

Much of the focus on this first full weekend in February centers on Lavietes Pavilion in Cambridge, Mass., as Harvard (17-3, 4-0 Ivy League) plays host to Brown (11-7, 3-1 Ivy) on Friday night and Yale (9-9, 3-1 Ivy) on Saturday night. The Crimson is off to a 4-0 start for the fourth-consecutive year and holds the sixth-longest home winning streak (19 games) in the country behind Duke (29), Florida (27), Stephen F. Austin (26), Gonzaga (23) and Kentucky (22). Head coach Tommy Amaker has been getting production throughout his rotation but it is senior guard Laurent Rivard (9.8 points per game) who comes into the weekend having found his shooting stroke. He enters this back-to-back on the heels of the highest total of three-pointers (11) over a two-game stretch in his career.

Brown comes in with a its own sharp-shooter, senior guard Sean McGonagill, who ranks eighth nationally in three-pointers at 3.5 per game. In the Bears' last game, head coach Mike Martin got baskets from outside the three-point arc from an unfamiliar source: junior forward Rafael Maia. Maia hit his first two treys of the season, which were just the second and third career three-pointers. The Sao Paulo native has posted double-doubles in three of his last seven games and is close to averaging a double-double for the season (10.4 ppg, 8.5 rebounds per game).

Yale is getting a chunk of its points as of late from the free throw line, led by sophomore forward Justin Sears connecting on 35-of-44 (.795) in the team's four conference games. Sears is just one of Bulldogs averaging double figures (15.3 ppg). He and junior guard Javier Duren (13.4 ppg) pace a Yale squad looking to bring head coach James Jones his 200th coaching victory and make him just the fourth coach in Ivy League history to reach that milestone.

Dartmouth (9-9, 2-2) brings in most momentum into the weekend after its first home sweep of Penn-Princeton in 25 years. The Big Green has found some scoring options to fill the squad's shortened rotation with junior forward John Golden (9.9 ppg) and sophomore guard Alex Mitola (10.4 ppg), who dropped a season-high 25 points on Jan. 31 vs. Penn. That win over the Quakers gave head coach Paul Cormier his 200th coaching victory with 86 of those coming in seven seasons at Fairfield.

Down in the southern end of the conference, four teams are looking to get back into the win column. A key battle takes place Friday night at Jadwin Gymnasium when Princeton (12-5, 0-3 Ivy) squares off against Columbia (13-8, 2-2 Ivy). The Tigers are 13-1 in Ivy play at home under head coach Mitch Henderson and have won 23 of their last 24 home contests against conference foes. Senior forward Will Barrett (12.4 ppg) has had Princeton's hot hand coming off a career-high performance of 28 points vs. Dartmouth in the team's last outing.

Looking to get their first win at Jadwin in 20 years (since Feb. 13, 1993), the Lions need keep their collective hot hand from three-point range (.388, 169-of-436) to compliment the consistent play from junior forward Alex Rosenberg (14.1 ppg), who has reached double figures in each of his last 16 games.

Penn (4-13, 1-2 Ivy) hopes to reverse its fortunes with Columbia and Cornell (1-17, 0-4 Ivy) coming to the friendly confines of The Palestra. The Quakers have seen a mixed bag of contributors for fifth-year head coach Jerome Allen this season as he has deployed nine different starting lineups through 17 games. Senior forward Fran Doughtery (11.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg) has been the mainstay, starting every game and averaging 27.8 minutes per contest.

Conversely, the Big Red boasts three players who have started all 18 games for head coach Bill Courtney -- sophomore guard Nolan Cressler (16.3 ppg. 4.6 rpg), junior guard Devin Cherry (11.6 ppg, 3.1 apg) and senior forward Dwight Tarwater (6.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg).

Brown (11-7, 3-1 Ivy) at Harvard (17-3, 4-0 Ivy)
Date: Friday, February 7 – 7 p.m.
Location: Lavietes Pavilion • Cambridge, Mass.
Live Broadcast: The Ivy League® Digital Network
Brown-Harvard Series: Harvard leads, 94-74
Last Meeting: Harvard 65, Brown 47 • 2/22/13 • Providence, R.I.
Live Stats | Brown Game Notes | Harvard Game Notes

Columbia (13-8, 2-2 Ivy) at Princeton (12-5, 0-3 Ivy)
Date: Friday, February 7 – 7 p.m.
Location: Jadwin Gymnasium • Princeton, N.J.
Live Broadcast: The Ivy League® Digital Network
Columbia-Princeton Series
: Princeton leads, 145-84
Last Meeting: Princeton 65, Columbia 40 • 2/22/13 • New York
Live Stats | Columbia Game Notes | Princeton Game Notes

Cornell (1-17, 0-4 Ivy) at Penn (4-13, 1-2 Ivy)
Date: Friday, February 7 – 7 p.m.
Location: The Palestra • Philadelphia
Cornell-Penn Series: Penn leads, 146-74
Live Broadcast: The Ivy League® Digital Network
Last Meeting: Penn 79, Cornell 71 • 2/22/13 • Ithaca, N.Y.
Live Stats | Cornell Game Notes | Penn Game Notes

Yale (9-9, 3-1 Ivy) at Dartmouth (9-9, 2-2 Ivy)
Date: Friday, February 7 – 7 p.m.
Location: Leede Arena • Hanover, N.H.
Live Broadcast: The Ivy League® Digital Network
Yale-Dartmouth Series: Yale leads, 106-96
Last Meeting: Yale 78, Dartmouth 67 • 2/22/13 • New Haven, Conn.
Live Stats | Yale Game Notes | Dartmouth Game Notes

Cornell at Princeton
Date: Saturday, February 8 – 6 p.m.
Location: Jadwin Gymnasium • Princeton, N.J.
Live Broadcast: The Ivy League® Digital Network
Cornell-Princeton Series: Princeton leads, 139-79
Last Meeting: Cornell 72, Princeton 52 • 2/23/13 • Ithaca, N.Y.
Live Stats | Cornell Game Notes | Princeton Game Notes

Brown at Dartmouth
Date: Saturday, February 8 – 7 p.m.
Location: Leede Arena • Hanover, N.H.
Live Broadcast: The Ivy League® Digital Network
Brown-Dartmouth Series: Dartmouth leads, 76-71
Last Meeting: Brown 59, Dartmouth 50 • 2/23/13 • Providence, R.I.
Live Stats | Brown Game Notes | Dartmouth Game Notes

Columbia at Penn
Date: Saturday, February 8 – 7 p.m.
Location: The Palestra • Philadelphia
Live Broadcast: The Ivy League® Digital Network
Columbia-Penn Series: Penn leads, 137-86
Last Meeting: Columbia 58, Penn 41 • 2/23/13 • New York
Live Stats | Columbia Game Notes | Penn Game Notes

Yale at Harvard
Date: Saturday, February 8 – 7 p.m.
Location: Lavietes Pavilion • Cambridge, Mass.
Live Broadcast: The Ivy League® Digital Network
Yale-Harvard Series: Yale leads, 115-73
Last Meeting: Harvard 72, Yale 66 • 2/23/13 • New Haven, Conn.
Live Stats | Yale Game Notes | Harvard Game Notes