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Nevada lands transfer forward from the Ivy League

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Nevada continued to hit the transfer market hard as the Wolf Pack landed a commitment from Brown transfer forward Leland King, according to multiple reports.

The 6-foot-7 King had a breakout sophomore season for the Bears as he averaged 14.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. The native of California will have to sit out the 2015-16 season, due to NCAA transfer restrictions, but he’ll have two more seasons of eligibility remaining after that. King also shot 47 percent from the floor and 75 percent from the free-throw line during his sophomore season.

Nevada has been incredibly active on the transfer market since new head coach Eric Musselman took over. They landed Missouri State guard Marcus Marshall, Southern Illinois forward Jordan Caroline and Marshall guard Shawn Smith all this offseason and appear to be rebuilding the roster through transfers.

How Harvard spent 62 minutes waiting on its NCAA Tournament fate

Siyani Chambers, Wesley Saunders (AP Photo)
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Siyani Chambers, Wesley Saunders (AP Photo)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – An hour before tipoff, there was no power inside Lavietes Pavilion.

That appeared to be an ominous sign for Harvard, which needed a win over Brown and a Yale loss to Dartmouth, on the final day of the regular season, in order to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive.

By 9:02 p.m., in a state of bliss, Harvard senior forward Jonah Travis laid motionless on the court staring directly up at the Lavietes’ lights.

After an agonizing 62 minutes of sitting and waiting, an improbable sequence of events resulted in Harvard and Yale sharing the Ivy League title (the fifth straight for the Crimson), meaning the two teams will square off next Saturday at The Palestra in Philadelphia for a trip to the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

“Live to fight another day!” Travis told NBCSports.com.

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Harvard had just completed a 72-62 win over Brown in the regular season finale on Saturday night. For the next hour, the Crimson would see if Dartmouth would do its part by upsetting league-leading Yale. The night before, the Bulldogs had taken control of the Ivy League with a 62-52 win at Harvard, leaving Yale one-win shy of the program’s first tournament appearance since 1962.

“What’s the score?” Harvard’s Tommy Amaker asked reporters after the game, a rare instance in which a coach asks the first question during a press conference.

Two computers were streaming the game with the Bulldogs leading the Big Green 39-35 with 15:30 left in regulation. Amaker answered questions for 15 minutes before he exited the lounge that hangs above the far baseline of the arena.

Of course, not before he could get another update as he exited through the door.

“What do we got? What’s the score?” Amaker asked.

“49-46, Yale. 8:39 left,” he was told.

“Here we go,” Amaker said.

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With less than 30 seconds in the game, Harvard was up 69-60 when reserve forward Evan Cummins was fouled after corralling a miss from Brown’s Tavon Blackmon. Cummins made his way to the line as the Harvard student section began chanting, “Let’s go Dartmouth!” At that point, it was halftime in Hanover with Yale leading 30-29.

“We were talking a little bit about [the Yale-Dartmouth game] on the bench,” Harvard senior forward Wesley Saunders said.

“Somebody heard the score. I guess someone in the crowd was keeping up with the game. It was like [the game] Telephone … passing the score along.”

Once in the locker room, players were quick to confirm the scores they had heard while on the bench, tracking the Yale-Dartmouth game on their phones. With a senior night reception scheduled at the nearby Murr Center Lounge, many of the players filed out of the gym with their eyes glued to their screens.

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Several players chose to stay, watching the online stream along with two-dozen spectators, a far cry from the 2,195 fans that had packed the arena half an hour earlier.

By now, it’s 8:52 p.m. Yale has extended its lead to 57-52 with 35.2 left in regulation. Dartmouth freshman guard Miles Wright was fouled on the ensuing possession and went to the line shooting two.

“I can’t watch this,” shouts freshman guard Andre Chatfield, who left his spot at the scorer’s table and headed for the locker room.

Wright made both free throws, which cut the Yale lead to 57-54.

Chatfield came back to center court to hear that Dartmouth had forced a jump ball and re-gained possession. The 6-foot-4 freshman wanted to see what’s going on, but superstitious fans prohibited him from watching. Things have turned around since he walked away.

Chatfield and sophomore guard Matt Fraschilla stood together at midcourt, as Dartmouth took a 30-second timeout.

“Where’s my man, [Alex] Mitola?” asks Fraschilla.

“Is that your boy now?” a fan asks Fraschilla.

“I need him to be,” Fraschilla answers.

“Hey, if he can do it to us, why can’t he do it to them?” another fan says.

Mitola, Dartmouth’s leading scorer, went a perfect 10-for-10 from the line in the final two minutes to give the Big Green a 70-61 win over Harvard on Jan. 24. Everyone, in both gyms, knew he’d be the first option for Dartmouth.

Mitola wasn’t open on the flare screen, but Wright was coming off a pindown and tied the game with a 3-pointer.

With only two seconds remaining, Yale’s Javier Duren was fouled. At this point, Travis, one of two Harvard seniors still in the building, went and sat on the opposing team’s bench, by himself, hunched over, eyes glued to the gamecast app on his phone.

Duren split the pair. Yale is up 58-57.

On the ensuing inbound play, Wright, a former Division I quarterback prospect, heaved a two-handed pass, which is knocked out of bounds by Yale’s Justin Sears. The deflection by Sears puts Dartmouth in an ideal spot, under the Yale hoop with 1.9 seconds left.

Travis heard this, but refused to leave his spot, alone, on the bench.

Then this happened:

Gabas Maldunas gave Dartmouth a 59-58 lead with 0.5 seconds to go. Maldunas still had a free throw to shoot, but once Travis realized Dartmouth had taken the lead, he sprinted to half court and jumped into the arms of Chatfield. In that moment of euphoria was a freshman experiencing his first taste of madness with a senior whose hopes of wearing the slipper in March one more time remained alive.

Travis outweighs Chatfield by 40 pounds, so that moment lasted briefly before they both went crashing to the ground. Literally floored by what had just transpired, Travis stared up at the ceiling. Senior forward Charlie Anastasi dove right next to him. Fraschilla jumped on top of him to give him a hug, but Travis’ eyes were still locked on the lights.

“You can only dream about a moment like this coming true,” Travis told NBCSports.com. “If he (Maldunas) wants to come down to Harvard we’ll make sure to throw a big party for him.”

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It had been 62 minutes from the time Harvard had won its game until Dartmouth had completed the comeback against Yale. The coaching staff was out of sight shortly after Amaker’s press conference, and many of the players have been out of the arena for more than 30 minutes.

“Let’s go be with everyone,” said Anastasi, referring the senior night reception.

For the remaining members of the Harvard basketball team inside Lavietes Pavilion, it was officially time to party.

But next Saturday, at The Palestra in Philadelphia, the Crimson will find out if it’s time to dance.

Video courtesy of Maureen Anastasi

Brown’s leading scorer and rebounder decides to leave program

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After dropping their first two Ivy League contests, Brown will look to turn things around on the road as they visit Cornell and Columbia. Thursday afternoon the task became a bit more difficult, as it was announced by the school that sophomore forward Leland King has decided to leave the program.

King, who led the Bears in scoring and was tied with Rafael Maia as the team’s leading rebounder, tallied 18 points and seven rebounds in Brown’s loss at Yale January 17. King averaged 14.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game this season, and he did not play in the return meeting with the Bulldogs January 24.

“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 release announcing King’s departure. “We wish him continued success with his future plans.”

Without King more will be asked of veterans Maia and senior Cedric Kuakumanesh, who is averaging 11.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest.

H/T Providence Journal

Brackets for November’s Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational announced

Scott Drew
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Another in-season tournament has its field set, as on Friday the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational announced its participants. The semifinal and championship rounds will be played on November 27-28 at the Orleans Arena, with there being two separate brackets. In the televised bracket, Illinois will play Indiana State and Memphis will face Baylor on November 27, with the championship and third place games being played the following day.

The non-televised bracket will have the same set up, with the games being Austin Peay vs. Brown and Stephen F. Austin vs. Prairie View A&M. Prior to arriving in Las Vegas each of the eight participating teams will play two games apiece, with the teams in the televised bracket serving as hosts. The on-campus match-ups have yet to be announced.

Of the four teams in the televised bracket two, Memphis and Baylor, reached the NCAA tournament with Illinois and Indiana State playing in the Postseason NIT. As for the non-televised bracket, Stephen F. Austin was the lone participant to reach the NCAA tournament. Brown also played in a postseason tournament, as the Bears played in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

All three NCAA tournament participants in the Las Vegas Invitational field won at least one game in the Big Dance, with Baylor reaching the Sweet 16.

Below is the schedule for Las Vegas Invitational games on November 27 and 28.

Thursday, November 27

2:00 p.m. EST: Austin Peay vs. Brown
5:00 p.m. EST: Illinois vs. Indiana State (FS1)
9:00 p.m. EST: Stephen F. Austin vs. Prairie View A&M
12:00 a.m. EST: Baylor vs. Memphis (FS1)

Friday, November 28

2:30 p.m. EST: Non-televised bracket third-place game
5:00 p.m. EST: Non-televised bracket championship game
8:00 p.m. EST: Televised bracket third-place game (FS1)
10:30 p.m. EST: Televised bracket championship game (FS1)

Brown takes down Penn, 76-67, inside The Palestra (VIDEO)

MikeMArtin
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Mike Martin is continuing another strong year with his alma mater, as the Brown Bears lead the entire game, defeating Penn, 76-67, inside The Palestra on Friday night.

Steven Spieth scored 19 points and corralled 12 rebounds. Cedric Kuakumensah recorded the second double-double for Brown with 16 points, 10 boards. Brown grabbed 12 more rebounds than Penn and six more offensive boards.

Martin, the second-year head coach matches his conference win total from a season ago, and has his Bears in a tie for third place in the Ivy League standings with Columbia. The Bears and Lions split their two meetings this season.

The Bears have a quick turnaround, traveling to Princeton on Saturday evening. Next week Brown ends with Dartmouth and Harvard. The Crimson can clinch the Ivy League title this weekend with a win and a Yale loss.

Free throw edge spurs Columbia

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Entering tonight’s Columbia-Brown game, it didn’t seem that any other Ivy League team was catching the league leaders, Yale and Harvard. Following tonight’s CU-BU, it is now clear the conference title with fall either of the teams from Cambridge and New Haven, respectively: in a game where it seemed officials felt the need to interject themselves into the conversation, the Lions dropped the Bears, 70-68, despite a 20-point outing from Brown guard Sean McGonagill.

Three technicals were called in the contest, and the game was largely decided at the free throw line. One play in particular defined the game’s topsy-turvy nature: Steven Spieth missed a long-range attempt, one that would have given Brown the edge with seconds remaining, and fell to the ground, which impeded the progress of Maodo Lo and was promptly whistled for the foul. The resulting free throws gave CU the lead, and ultimately, the win.

The most interesting aspect of the contest, though, was the gigantic free throw disparity between both teams. Columbia is hack-happy, posting a free throw rate that ranks amongst the bottom of the conference. More than a quarter of league opponents’ points come from the stripe, but Brown only attempted six free throws (while Columbia was 15 of 19 from the line).