NCAA

Instant Replay: Penn beats Harvard to clinch berth in Ivy League Tournament

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Penn Athletics

Instant Replay: Penn beats Harvard to clinch berth in Ivy League Tournament

BOX SCORE

A night after suffering one of the most disappointing results in program history, the University of Pennsylvania rebounded with its most consequential win in at least five years in an unbelievably dramatic finish.

Sophomore Jackson Donahue drained a three-pointer with 6.3 seconds left to clinch the Quakers a spot in the inaugural four-team Ivy League Tournament with a 75-72 upset win over Harvard at the Palestra, shaking off a 76-74 loss to 7-20 Dartmouth. The tournament will be held on Penn's home floor next Saturday with the Red and Blue facing rival Princeton.

Penn had the ball with the game tied at 72 after an incredible second half. Freshman Devon Goodman came off a screen and dished it to Donahue, who hit the most important shot for Penn in years.

It was clear from the opening tip which team was more desperate. Penn raced out to a 19-11 lead thanks to 11 early points from senior Matt Howard, fittingly on Senior Night. The Crimson responded by locking the Quakers down defensively, holding them to just 36 percent shooting before the break and taking a 35-31 lead into halftime.

After halftime, the Quakers came out hot with a 10-2 run but were soon locked in a back-and-forth affair. Harvard got back the lead and stretched it to as many as six thanks in large part to center Zena Edosomwan's efforts in the post. The senior threw down some thunderous dunks and finished with 15 points.

But Penn would not falter with its season on the line. Down 57-51 with 8:22 to go, the Quakers threw the Palestra into a frenzy with a 14-4 run behind Howard and freshman center A.J. Brodeur. Harvard senior Siyani Chambers continued to help match Penn shot for shot.

Bryce Aiken drained two free throws to tie the game, leading to Donahue's shot. The three was Donahue's only make of the game.

Howard finished with a game-high 24 points while Brodeur had 15 points. Freshman Ryan Betley had 10 as well.

With the win, Penn improves to 13-14 (6-8 Ivy) and finishes in fourth place in the conference. Harvard finishes second with an 18-8 (10-3) record. Despite little to play for other than pride, the Crimson played with passion and were clearly intent on denying the Quakers a tournament bid. 

Scoreboard watching
Before Penn even got to halftime, Cornell had defeated Brown, 92-78, and Princeton obliterated Dartmouth, 85-48. Thanks to these results, a Penn win was all the Quakers needed to make the Ivy League Tournament over Columbia based on the tiebreakers. Columbia lost to Yale later Saturday, making the tiebreakers meaningless.

On the women's side
Penn women's basketball defeated Harvard in Cambridge, 64-46, to clinch its second straight Ivy League regular season title. 

All-time series
Penn holds a 131-41 lead in its meetings with Harvard. However, the Crimson have won 14 of the last 19, including six of the last eight.

Up next
Penn and Harvard both return to the Palestra next Saturday for the Ivy League Tournament. No. 4 Penn will face No. 1 Princeton, which defeated the Quakers twice this season while No. 2 Harvard squares off with No. 3 Yale, which lost both meetings with the Crimson. 

The winners of both games face in Sunday's tournament final.

NCAA adopts college basketball reforms for NBA draft, agents, more

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AP Images

NCAA adopts college basketball reforms for NBA draft, agents, more

INDIANAPOLIS — College basketball players who participate in the NBA combine and go undrafted will be allowed to return to school and play as part of sweeping NCAA reforms in the wake of a corruption scandal.

The NCAA announced Wednesday that its Board of Governors and Division I Board of Directors have adopted numerous proposals, including changes to the enforcement process for rules violations and allowing NCAA-certified agents to work with college basketball players who test the waters in declaring for the NBA draft. 

Agents will have at least a limited place within the NCAA structure when it comes to college basketball.

The NCAA's rule changes include allowing players to work with an agent while declaring for the NBA draft. College players would have to request an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee on their draft prospects. The rules would also allow elite high school players to work with an agent if the NBA removes its one-and-done rule.

The agent would have to be certified by the NCAA no later than August 2020. Until then, agents certified by the NBA players' union would qualify.

Agents would be allowed to cover minimal expenses such as meals and transportation tied to meetings or workouts with pro teams. The agent's work would stop if the player enrolls in or returns to college.

The changes reflect the recommendations made in April by the Rice Commission.

The Rice Commission, led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, was formed in response to an FBI investigation into payments from shoe companies to coaches for steering players to certain schools.

The NCAA is also adopting changes it hopes will improve its enforcement process when handling cases of rules violations.

The policies adopted by the NCAA's Board of Governors and Division I Council include the appointment of independent groups to handle and resolve complex cases. That was one of the recommendations from the Rice Commission appointed in the wake of an FBI investigation into corruption within college basketball.

The changes also allow the NCAA to accept during investigations outside information that has been "established by another administrative body or a commission authorized by a school." The NCAA says that will save time since investigators would no longer have to independently confirm information outlined by other agencies or outside investigations.

In addition, school presidents and athletics staff will be required to commit "contractually" to cooperate fully with investigations.

The process to adopt recommendations for NCAA reforms from the Rice Commission was a swift one by the governing body's standards.

In a teleconference with reporters Wednesday, Georgia Tech president and Board of Governors chairman Bud Peterson said those changes would "normally take us about two years through the governance process."

Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

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Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

Fresh off a second national championship in three years, this was bound to happen. Jay Wright is a hot name. 

And according to the New York Daily News, the Knicks plan on reaching out to Wright about their vacant head coaching job. 

Just don’t expect Wright to be interested. 

The 56-year-old coach has been determined to build Villanova into a powerhouse since he took the head coaching gig way back in 2001 and he’s finally done that. On the surface, maybe some think that would be enough to make him want to take his coaching to the top league in the world. Not so fast. 

In a recent interview with The Athletic, Wright said pretty flatly that he’s staying at Villanova because he loves it there. 

“The NBA does intrigue me,” Wright said. “That challenge is appealing but it’s not worth giving up working with these guys. The whole thing is, to take a new challenge you have to give up what you have. I don’t want to give up what I have. Would I like to coach in the NBA? Yes. But I have to give this up in order to do that, and I don’t see that happening.”

In that interview, Wright talked about his time at Hofstra and quoted Jim Valvano, who once said, ‘Don’t mess with happy.’ That was true at Hofstra until the Villanova job came around, so maybe there’s a chance the Knicks could blow him away. It just doesn’t seem likely. 

The Knicks just fired head coach Jeff Hornacek after a 29-53 record in 2017. The Knicks haven’t had a winning record since 2012-13. 

The New York Daily News cites a source, who said the Knicks believe Wright would be a “perfect candidate for a rebuilding club.” The Knicks might be right, but don’t bet on them getting Wright.