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Ivy League cancels basketball tournament after Penn fought to get in

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USA Today Images/Noah K. Murray

Ivy League cancels basketball tournament after Penn fought to get in

The Ivy League has cancelled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments “in accordance with the guidance of public health and medical professionals to discourage and limit large gatherings on campuses in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation,” the league announced Tuesday.

The Yale men and Princeton women’s teams — regular-season champions in the Ivy League — will automatically qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

The Penn men’s team was slated to be the fourth seed in the four-team tournament, having clinched a spot with three straight wins. Senior AJ Brodeur broke the school’s all-time scoring record and recorded the first triple-double in program history Saturday in Penn’s win over Columbia.

The Quaker women had a 20-7 regular-season mark, 10-4 in conference, and would have been the No. 2 seed in the Ivy League Tournament. The Princeton women’s team is 26-1 and was ranked No. 22 in the latest AP poll. 

“We understand and share the disappointment with student-athletes, coaches and fans who will not be able to participate in these tournaments,” Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris said in a press release. “Regrettably, the information and recommendations presented to us from public health authorities and medical professionals have convinced us that this is the most prudent decision.”

Additionally, according to the release, “the League is also implementing highly-restrictive, in-venue spectator limitations for all other upcoming campus athletics events. The League is also canceling all out-of-season practices and competitions.”

Harvard, which was set to host the tournament, will move all courses online after March 23 because of the coronavirus outbreak and is asking students not to return after Spring Break, the University announced on Tuesday morning.

All tickets for the tournament will be refunded. 

“Following a number of league-wide discussions throughout the last several weeks, we have decided to exercise caution in the interest of student-athletes, fans and the general community,” Harris said. 

Saddiq Bey's career-high 27 points help No. 23 Villanova hold off Penn

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USA Today Images/Bill Streicher

Saddiq Bey's career-high 27 points help No. 23 Villanova hold off Penn

VILLANOVA, Pa. — Saddiq Bey kept another surprise defeat at bay for Villanova, and again made the Wildcats the top contender for another city championship.

Bey scored a career-high 27 points and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 13 points and 12 rebounds to lead No. 23 Villanova to an 80-69 victory over Penn on Wednesday night.

The Wildcats (6-2) finally pulled away from the Quakers over the final two minutes to avoid a second straight loss to their Philadelphia basketball rivals. Justin Moore converted a three-point play to give Villanova the breathing room it needed to hold off pesky Penn (5-4).

"The reason those games are like that and always have been is because we all know each other," coach Jay Wright said.

Jordan Dingle and AJ Brodeur each scored 18 points for Penn. Moore finished with 17 for the Wildcats.

The Quakers pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Philly hoops history last season when they knocked off the national champion Wildcats 78-75 at the Palestra. The Wildcats had won a city-record 25 straight games against Big 5 rivals Temple, Saint Joseph's, La Salle and the Quakers. Penn would win the Big 5 title but not the Ivy League crown that could have sent it back to the NCAA Tournament.

The Quakers came out determined to prove they were no one-upset wonder. They forced the game into the paint and kept the Wildcats from relying on the 3 to put them away. Brodeur scored 12 points and the Quakers had the game tied at 30-all late in the first half.

Jermaine Samuels swayed the game toward Villanova on a monster block on Devon Goodman's fast-break attempt and Bey capitalized with a thunderous jam on the other end that brought the fans to their feet. The dunk gave Bey 23 points, one better than his career high set earlier this season against Army.

Much like last season, the Quakers weren't going away. Goodman buried a 3 and quickly dunked off his own steal to bring the 11½-point underdog Quakers within four midway through the second half. Dingle hit a 3 to make it a one-point game and suddenly the thought of another shocker was in full force on Villanova's campus. Penn students stormed the court, tossed streamers, hopped around at midcourt, and mobbed the players after last season's win at the Palestra.

Robinson-Earl is a freshman and had nothing to do with the defeat, and knew even less about the Big 5. But one big game against the Quakers -- hardly confused with the powerhouse programs the Wildcats beat in March -- changed his perspective on the rivalry's meaning.

"The coaches have told me, the players have told me, it's just so important," he said. "I don't know a lot of the history about it but I can see from the energy Coach gives about how important it is."

The fans inside the Pavilion were all but silenced when the Quakers made it 48-47. The Quakers kept driving inside to keep the deficit within single digits and Dingle got a rise out of the Penn bench on a two-handed dunk. Try as they might, the Quakers couldn't stop Bey and couldn't go on enough of a run to ever take the lead. Goodman hit Penn's seventh 3 to make it 68-64 with Bey on the bench with four fouls.

The Wildcats made only 4 of 10 3-pointers; Bey was 10 of 18 overall with six rebounds.

"I don't know if we were ready for the physicality he brought to the game," Brodeur said. "He scored a lot of points at the basket."

The Wildcats held Penn to only five points over the final 4 minutes to hang on for the tougher-than-necessary victory.

"Three minutes to go, I thought the plan was working," Penn coach Steve Donohue said. "We just kind of ran out of gas on the offensive end.

Big picture 

Penn: The Quakers have never won on Villanova's campus, falling to 0-12.

Villanova: The Wildcats have 26 Big 5 titles, second to Temple's 28. Villanova won five straight before the Quakers ended the run last season but the Wildcats seem poised to go hard after another city title this season. They are 2-0 this season.

Up next 

Penn: The Quakers have a long layoff until they host Widener on Dec. 21.

Villanova: The Wildcats play Sunday at Saint Joseph's in traditionally the biggest city hoops game of the season.

Penn dumps highly-favored Providence behind Ryan Betley

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USA Today Images/Peter G. Aiken

Penn dumps highly-favored Providence behind Ryan Betley

BOX SCORE

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Ryan Betley scored 22 points and AJ Brodeur scored 17 with 10 rebounds and underdog Pennsylvania stunned Providence 81-75 on Saturday.

Prior to Saturday, the last time the Quakers (3-2) beat Providence was 66-65 on Jan. 25, 1975 in Providence.

Providence (4-2) led for a scant 1:59 of this one. Eddie Scott's 3-pointer with 17-minutes left in the first half gave Penn a 5-4 lead and they never trailed again. Penn went to the break with a 47-30 lead after shooting 19 of 33 (57.6%), including 7 of 14 3-pointers.

After the break, Nate Wilson's layup made it 58-52 with 8:51 left, but Providence wouldn't get closer until the end. Jordan Dingle's layup with 66 seconds to go put Penn up 77-64.

Maliek White led Providence with 20 points and Alpha Diallo scored 16.

The Friars entered the game with a 6-3 all-time mark against Penn. Before Saturday, Providence had won the last four games between the two, including an 89-52 win in the most recent matchup on Nov. 18, 2004 in Providence. The Friars' record against Ivy League schools is 132-50.