This weekend, the men’s basketball team dropped home contests to Princeton 78-63 and Penn 99-93 to close out its season. The Bears lost their sixth straight game and finished the year ranked seventh in the Ivy League with a 4-10 conference record.
“Our guys realize that there is a bigger picture,” said Head Coach Mike Martin ’04. “We’re trying to build our program with a lot of freshmen and sophomores and one senior. So I think that every time you have the opportunity to compete, you should appreciate that opportunity.”
Penn’s victory has given them a significant postseason berth, as they are now tied with Harvard for the number one seed in the Ivy League Tournament later this month.
Following this weekend’s results, Yale and Cornell will also make appearances in the tournament. Bruno was in striking distance of postseason competition for weeks, but cold shooting down the stretch ultimately put the Bears (11-16, 4-10 Ivy) out of contention. With a young and athletic core group of players, Brown is poised to compete for a spot in the tournament in future seasons.
Brown 63, Princeton 78
The Bears and the Tigers (13-16, 5-9) jumped out of the locker room to play consistent offense in the first half. At first, the score was tight, but three straight treys from Princeton gave the Tigers a 20-14 advantage. Princeton started the contest by shooting 4-8 from beyond the arc while Bruno shot just 1-5 during this span.
At the half, Princeton led 32-25. The Bears shot just 31 percent from the field and 14 percent from three-point range in the opening period and recorded 23 rebounds and three blocks. Obi Okolie ’19 and Joshua Howard ’20 led Bruno with six points each.
“We’re going through a difficult stretch,” Martin said. “Sometimes the ball goes in, and sometimes it doesn’t.”
To open the second stanza, the Tigers went on a quick 9-1 scoring run to extend their advantage to 15. After two three-point shots from Devin Cannady, Princeton’s lead quickly widened to 18 points. Cannady scored 12 points in the first seven minutes of the period and finished the game with 16.
The Bears began to drive to the basket and play strong defense in an attempt to fend off the Princeton scoring attack. Okolie was fouled and drained both of his free throws to bring the Bears within 12 points of the Tigers with just over nine minutes to play. Moments later, Okolie sunk a three-point shot and Zach Hunsaker ’20 knocked in two free throws to trim the Tigers’ lead to nine.
But a three-point shot from Jerome Desrosiers stunted Brown’s run, and the Bears were unable to fight their way back into the game. Myles Stephens fueled Princeton’s 15-point victory by scoring 22 points for the Tigers.
“We missed some shots,” Martin said. “How many did you see, in the second half, that the ball just sat on the rim and rolled out on our end?”
Bruno shot 34 percent from the field in comparison to Princeton’s 46 percent. Okolie led all Brown scorers with 17 points and nine rebounds, while the team grabbed 44 rebounds and committed 11 turnovers.
“I think we can do a better job at the things we can control,” Martin said. “At the end of the day we want to overcome all of that stuff.”
Brown 93, Penn 99
The Quakers (22-8, 12-2) came out hot beyond the arc from the opening tip. Ryan Betley hit three treys to give Penn an early edge. Betley’s fourth three-pointer of the half gave Penn a nine point lead, while the Bears had made just one three up to that point.
Bruno was unable to find open shots for most of the first period and could not claw its way back. At halftime, Penn led Brown 47-31. The Bears shot 41 percent in the first half and 1-9 from beyond the arc, compared to the Quakers’ 55 percent and 7-9 mark from three-point range.
Tamenang Choh ’21 led all Brown scorers with eight points, followed by Hunsaker with seven.
“They were hard for us to guard all night long,” Martin said. “We had just enough droughts offensively that we dug ourselves too big of a hole.”
In the second stanza, the Bears could not overcome their deficit and fight back into contention. Although a late steal and three-point shot from Desmond Cambridge ’21 helped the Bears trim the Quakers’ lead in the final two minutes, Penn managed to stave off the Brown attack. The Quakers stayed red-hot from three-point range and continued to be led by the shooting of Betley, who finished with 30 points.
“I’m most happy that the guys kept playing,” Martin said. “They didn’t stop until the horn sounded off at the end.”
Choh finished with 23 points and nine rebounds, followed by Brandon Anderson ’20, who also notched 23 points. The team shot 49 percent from the field and 32 percent from beyond the arc. Brown also grabbed 34 rebounds and recorded 40 points in the paint.