Princeton dashes Penn's NCAA tourney hopes

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Princeton dashes Penn's NCAA tourney hopes

BOX SCORE

PRINCETON, N.J. Zack Rosen will leave Penn as one of the most decorated basketball players in school history.
But he wont leave with an Ivy League championship.
Needing a win to share the conference title and force a one-game playoff with Harvard for the leagues NCAA tournament automatic berth, Penn lost a 62-52 heartbreaker to nemesis Princeton in its regular-season finale Tuesday at Jadwin Gym.
Penn, which finishes the season with a 19-12 overall record and an 11-3 mark in the Ivy League, must now await word if it will compete in the NIT, CBI or CIT, while Harvard (26-4, 12-2) clinches its first NCAA tournament berth since 1946.
Princeton, which beat Penn in the last years regular-season finale to earn a share of the Ivy title, closes its season at 19-11 overall and 10-4 in the league, one game behind the Quakers in the Ivy standings.
They didnt have anything to play for other than to be the spoilers, Penn head coach Jerome Allen said. How can a team thats playing for nothing play harder than the team thats supposedly playing for something? And thats really what blew my mind.
Rosen, a frontrunner for Ivy League and Big 5 Player of the Year honors, finished with a game-high 19 points but shot just 8 for 24 from the field and had just one assist to seven turnovers. Some of the shots Rosen made were difficult ones but the do-it-all senior just couldnt put his team on his back, like he has for much of the season.
Afterwards, in a gloomy postgame press conference, Rosen said little, his face buried beneath his hands.
For us, the season is either you win it or you dont, said Rosen, who ranks first in program history in assists and third in scoring. Whether youre close or youre not close, you either win it or you dont.
We blew our opportunity and thats the bottom line.
Seniors Tyler Bernardini, Rob Belcore and Mike Howlett also played their final regular-season game for the Quakers. Belcore, who Allen has praised all season as being the glue thats held this team together, filled out the stat sheet with nine points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists. But the Quakers defensive specialist couldnt slow down Princeton forward Ian Hummer, who led the Tigers with 18 points.
Bernardini, whos been battling with a foot injury, finished with just two points in 22 minutes, and Howlett, who has also been hobbled, didnt play which probably contributed to Penn getting outrebounded, 31-23, for the game.
I never thought for a second we were out, Belcore said. With the guy sitting to my right Rosen, hes going to need a month off for how tired his back has got to be. As long as he was taking the floor with me I thought he could carry us through the whole way. And he almost did. I think we let him down, the other 14 guys.
No one on Penn certainly played well early as the Quakers endured two scoring droughts longer than six minutes and fell behind 23-6 with 4:20 remaining. The main issue seemed to be that Penn was missing its shots, especially from behind the arc, but Allen was most disappointed that his team allowed Princeton to shoot 65 percent from the floor in the first half.
OK, the ball wasnt going in, Allen said. But offensively they just got whatever they wanted backdoors, offensive rebounds, open jump shots, open layups. And I think thats really where the problem lies.
Rosen pulled Penn within 10 at the half, and the Quakers managed to cut the lead to 34-31 on a Fran Dougherty (eight points, seven rebounds) tip with just over 12 minutes remaining.
But Princeton responded with a 7-0 run of its own to quell Penns charge, and from there the Quakers could not trim the deficit to less than six.
In my mind, I didnt feel right letting Penn share the Ivy League title and winning on our home court, said Princeton senior Douglas Davis, a Philly native, who finished with 12 points. This is a rivalry and our rivalry with Penn goes way back. Harvard, they won the Ivy League. But Penn wasnt going to win it on our court.
For the Quakers, Tuesdays loss ends an improbable quest for an Ivy title. After four straight subpar seasons, Penn was picked to finish fourth in the league, and looked out of the race after losing two of its first six league games. But a seven-game winning streak, highlighted by a stunning come-from-behind win at Harvard on Feb. 25, put the Quakers in a position to capture their 26th league championship and first since 2007.
Falling just short and finishing in second place only amplifies the pain.
There are no moral victories by any means, Allen said. This is the University of Pennsylvania and were about winning championships. We dont prepare to come in second. We prepare to win. From that standpoint, not winning is a disappointment.
Whether we finish 11-3 or not, what does that do for us?
At the very least, Penn and Princeton now have outside shots of making the NIT and a far better shot of making one of the lesser postseason tournaments although for the Quakers, that wont make Tuesdays loss any easier to swallow, either.
Thats out of our control, Allen said. I just think the biggest thing we try to tell the guys is you always want to be in a position where you can control your own destiny. We had that opportunity tonight. Thats whats unfortunate.
Email Dave Zeitlin at djzeitlin@gmail.com.

Delaware hires Martin Ingelsby as new head basketball coach

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Delaware hires Martin Ingelsby as new head basketball coach

Delaware has its new head basketball coach in Martin Ingelsby.

Ingelsby, a native of Berwyn, Pennsylvania, comes from Notre Dame, where he played from 1997-2001 and coached for 13 seasons, seven as an assistant.

Ingelsby played his high school ball at Archbishop Carroll and is the son of Tom Ingelsby, who played for Villanova from 1970-73.

Delaware is coming off a 7-23 season and 2-16 mark in CAA play, which led to the firing of head coach Monte Ross.

The Blue Hens, who announced the hire Tuesday, will formally introduce Ingelsby in a press conference Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Bob Carpenter Center Auditorium.

Josh Hart returning to Villanova for senior season

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Josh Hart returning to Villanova for senior season

Villanova’s chances at repeating as national champions just got much better.

Josh Hart is returning for his senior season.

The Wildcats’ leading scorer from last season’s title-winning team tweeted this Tuesday night:

Shortly after, Villanova officially announced the news.

Hart was in the midst of going through the NBA draft process, attending the combine in Chicago and working out for teams. By not hiring an agent, he was able to test the waters without jeopardizing his final year of college eligibility. Hart had until Wednesday to make a decision, which is coming back to the defending champs.

“I enjoyed the process and learned a lot,” Hart said in a statement released by the school. “It was definitely worthwhile. I look forward to graduating next year and coming back to play with my teammates.”

As a junior, the 6-foot-5 guard averaged 15.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 51.3 percent from the field. He put up 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists in Villanova’s 95-51 Final Four win over Oklahoma, before following it up with 12 points and eight rebounds in the national title game in which the Wildcats thrillingly won at the buzzer, 77-74, on a Kris Jenkins three-pointer.

Hart and Jenkins, the team’s two leading scorers, return along with key pieces Jalen Brunson (9.6 ppg), Phil Booth (7.0 ppg), Mikal Bridges (6.4 ppg) and Darryl Reynolds (4.5 rpg).

“Josh Hart did a great job in this process,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said. “I’m really proud of the way that he showed himself. I am really happy for him that he is returning to play with his classmates and that he will graduate on time.” 

National champion Villanova to be honored at White House next week

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National champion Villanova to be honored at White House next week

It's been nearly two months since Villanova won the National Championship in one of the most memorable games in NCAA Tournament history.

Since then, the Wildcats have been honored by the city (parade), the New York Stock Exchange (opening bell), the Phillies (first pitch), the Flyers and the Union. Earlier this week, head coach Jay Wright addressed the Eagles.

But that will all pale in comparison to where the Wildcats will be next Tuesday, when they become the latest championship team to visit the White House and meet President Barack Obama.

The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 4:10 p.m. and will be streamed on www.whitehouse.gov/live.

In his pool, President Obama had Villanova finally advancing past the second round — "I know that eventually they're going to break through. They've had some bad luck over the last couple of years," Obama told ESPN.com — but had the Wildcats falling to Kansas in the regional semifinal.

He then had Kansas beating North Carolina to win the title.

After surviving the first weekend for the first time since their Final Four run in 2009, Villanova ousted Kansas, 64-59, before shocking Buddy Hield and Oklahoma in the national semifinal, winning by 44. The Wildcats then won one of the most memorable championship games in NCAA Tournament history when Kris Jenkins hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to beat the Tar Heels, 77-74.