The men’s basketball team’s hopes to make Ivy League playoffs were dashed this weekend, as close losses to Harvard and Dartmouth gave Brown a losing record with just four conference contests remaining in the season.
The Bears are still positioned at fourth place in the Ivy League, but are locked in a three-way tie for the final playoff spot with Cornell and Columbia. This weekend’s matchups against the Big Red and the Lions will prove pivotal in deciding Bruno’s postseason fate.
“We know it’s a big weekend and we’re hungry to get these wins,” said Travis Fuller ’19. “We started this week off with a great practice and we’ll look to continue to be sharp in preparation.”
Brown 58, Harvard 65
The Bears looked strong in the opening half against the Crimson, and were led by Brandon Anderson ’20, who finished the period with eight points. Brown also outshot Harvard in the first half, shooting 34 percent from the field compared to the Crimson’s 30 percent.
But the Bears missed all three of their free throw attempts in the first period, and fell to a 27-25 halftime deficit.
In the second stanza, Brown managed to keep up with the high-powered Harvard squad and tied the game off of a tip from Obi Okolie ’19 with four minutes of play remaining. But Harvard forward Seth Towns took over in the final minutes and put the game out of reach for Bruno with a three. He finished with a game-high 24 points.
Anderson led all Brown scorers with 17 points, followed by Tamenang Choh ’21 who came off the bench to score 11. Desmond Cambridge ’21 also notched 10. The team shot 38 percent from the field and recorded 33 rebounds.
Brown 63, Dartmouth 66
Bruno sought to respond from the loss the night before with a win against last-placed Dartmouth, but the Big Green was hungry for revenge after Zach Hunsaker’s ’20 buzzer-beater gave Brown the victory in their last matchup.
In the first half, Dartmouth came out strong, and jumped out to a 37-34 lead on hot three-point shooting. The Big Green knocked in six treys, compared to just one from Brown.
After half-time, the Bears began to heat up and looked ready to take control of the game. A strong layup from Hunsaker gave Brown a 46-40 lead with 15 minutes remaining in the contest.
But the Big Green came all the way back in just four minutes to take a 51-50 lead and gain momentum. In a tied game with three minutes remaining, Chris Knight hit two clutch shots to put Dartmouth ahead by four.
Anderson managed to get open for a three-point shot to cut the Big Green’s lead to one with barely a minute left to play. After Dartmouth knocked in a layup, Hunsaker was fouled and made two free throws to once again put the Bears in striking distance.
Knight missed a contested shot with 23 seconds to go, and the Bears gained possession with a chance for another miracle victory. Hunsaker broke free from his defender and launched a possible game-winning three with only four seconds remaining. The shot did not find the bottom of the net, but Cambridge collected the offensive rebound. Cambridge put up a putback layup as time expired but it did not go in, sending the Bears to a brutal loss.
Bruno finished the game shooting 38 percent from the field and only 18 percent from beyond the three point arc. Cambridge led all Brown scorers with 13 points, followed by Anderson and Choh with 11 points each.
While Fuller doesn’t “really have an answer” for what the team didn’t do well enough, “I think we’ll be ready to play this weekend,” he said.
The Bears will stay on the road this weekend, facing Columbia Friday and Cornell Saturday as the Ivy League season nears a suspenseful conclusion.