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Men’s basketball ends season with resounding victory on senior night

Bruno’s up-and-down season left the team out of contention for the Ivy League title, taken by Harvard

By
Sports Staff Writer
Monday, March 11, 2013

Co-captain Matt Sullivan ’13 took advantage of a hole in Princeton’s defense to dribble toward the paint during Senior Night.

The men’s basketball team closed out the season with two contested performances this weekend, with a close loss to Penn Friday and a win against Princeton Saturday.

“The weekend was a microcosm of our year,” said Head Coach Mike Martin ’04.

The Bears (13-15, 7-7 Ivy) kept it close with the Quakers (9-21, 6-7), but a controversial foul call helped give Penn the win. Bruno responded with a team effort against the Tigers (16-11, 9-4) on Senior Night, with all three seniors scoring in double digits. The win prevented Princeton from taking the Ivy League title, allowing the Harvard Crimson to take the honor.

 

Penn 66, Brown 64

A controversial foul call with one second remaining was the decisive moment in Bruno’s loss to the Quakers. Despite four Bears scoring in double digits, the squad could not come up with a victory, due in part to hot shooting from Penn’s Miles Cartwright. The loss snapped Bruno’s three-game win streak and is the second loss to Penn this season.

“I thought we turned the ball over way too many times,” Martin said. “You can’t expect to turn the ball over 26 times and expect to win a basketball game.”

The teams swapped leads in the opening minutes, with Bruno taking a six-point advantage after a jumper from Tucker Halpern ’13.5. But the Quakers offense responded — thanks to some deep shooting from Cartwright — and took a 31-23 advantage with three minutes left in the half.

Bruno got back into the game in the second half behind scoring from co-captains Sean McGonagill ’14 and Matt Sullivan ’13. McGonagill completed a momentum-swinging four-point play — hitting a three while being fouled and making the resulting free throw — to tie the score around the 12-minute mark.

The Bears carried their momentum into the final minutes, with a three from Sullivan putting Bruno up six with two minutes left. But Cartwright would not be stopped and scored six straight points to tie the game once again with just 42 seconds on the clock.

The controversy came in the final seconds. The Bears appeared to have a foul to give and tried to wrap up Cartwright 40 feet from the hoop. Cartwright hucked up a shot during the contact and was granted a shooting foul. He hit two of the resulting three free throws to hand the Bears the loss.

“Obviously, it was a really tough call at the end of the game,” Sullivan said. “But we can’t put it all on one call … we could have played a lot better.”

 

Brown 80, Princeton 64

Double-digit performances from seniors Tyler Ponticelli ’13, Sullivan and Stephen Albrecht ’13 bolstered Bruno’s offense against the Tigers on Senior Night. McGonagill led all scorers with 24 points and five assists, while Cedric Kuakumensah ’16 chipped in with two blocks on the defensive end.

“(I was proud of) the way we responded to a really disappointing loss Friday night,” Martin said. “We showed our resiliency, and our seniors really led us.”

The Bears got off to a strong start following a pair of threes from Albrecht and jumped out to a 10-point advantage after a jumper from Kuakumensah. But Princeton responded with ten straight points to level the score, forcing the Bears to prove their resilience once again. Scoring from McGonagill and Albrecht put Bruno back on top before halftime.

“It was a really gutsy performance by our whole team,” Sullivan said. “We’ve bounced back from being down at halftime, and we’ve bounced back from tough losses.”

Albrecht opened the second half the way he finished the first, knocking down a trey four minutes in to put Bruno up 43-31. Another small run from the Tigers put the team within five, but Bruno’s offense was too potent. Halpern hit a three to end the run and put his team back up eight, pushing the score to 50-42.

The Bears did most of their scoring from the line down the stretch, scoring 20 points in the final four minutes from the foul stripe. A dunk from Halpern with 15 seconds remaining provided a fitting flourish to the end of a strong performance.

“Obviously, we have a long way to go, as far as improving in the Ivy League standings,” Martin said. “But in terms of competing for a championship, I think we took a lot of steps forward this year.”