Tag Archives: Ivy League

New England Basketball Notebook: Harvard Shines In Season-Opener

Men's Basketball between the Harvard Crimson and the Columbia Lions

Bryce Aiken and the Harvard University men’s basketball team are motivated to return to the NCAA Tournament this upcoming season. (PHOTO COURTESY: David Dermer/Harvard Athletics)

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

For Harvard University, Tuesday’s 84-27 victory over MIT was an ideal way to begin a new season, but also an opportunity to gain some much-needed momentum heading into an important non-conference clash on Friday with Northeastern University.

Multiple Crimson players contributed on both ends of the floor against the Engineers, including first-year forward Chris Ledlum, who recorded his first collegiate double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Christian Juzang netted 12 points, while classmate Chris Lewis stuffed the stat sheet with nine points, seven rebounds, one assist, and one block.

Harvard’s 57-point victory margin matched the 1945-46 team, which established the mark with their win over Northeastern.

While it certainly was an impressive start to their 2019-20 campaign, Harvard, as well as their coach Tommy Amaker, know they have more work to do in order to accomplish their preseason goals. And one of those goals, according to senior guard Bryce Aiken, is to return to the NCAA Tournament, something the Crimson have not done since 2015.

Harvard has come close to returning to the ‘big dance,’ but has fallen short the past three seasons in the Ivy League tournament. Additionally, they saw their run toward a National Invitational Tournament (NIT) title conclude twice within the past two years, including this past March when they lost a heartbreaker in the second round to North Carolina State University.

But despite falling short of accomplishing past preseason goals or winning tournaments and championships, Aiken remains optimistic. He believes this year’s crew can “make history,” and from what fans witnessed the other evening against MIT, perhaps the senior guard believes this year’s squad is truly capable of not just winning an Ivy League conference tournament but challenging other teams from across the country for the ultimate prize, a national championship. 

“The biggest motivation for us as seniors (this year) is leaving with a bang, man,” said senior Bryce Aiken, who elected to return to campus for one more season after initially entering his name for the 2019 National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft last April.

“We haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament, so that is the biggest motivating factor for us.”

Added Juzang, “It’s been three years of all of us (for) things you can look at and you can call motivation (from) the Ivy League championship games, the NC State game, and we could point to a bunch of different things, but I think the biggest thing is (we’re) internally driven, not getting pushed around by the expectations and whatnot.”

The expectations, as both the coaches and student-athletes know, is rather high for a team that is scheduled to face some stiff competition this month against Northeastern, University at Buffalo, and Texas A&M. Harvard could also face the University of Maryland this month, too – they would need to beat the Aggies of Texas A&M in the opening round of the Orlando Invitational, which is scheduled to commence on Thanksgiving Day.

Weeks after competing in the Orlando Tournament, Harvard will commence conference play in mid-to-late January against Dartmouth College before ending the month with a visit to the University of Pennsylvania, which opened its 2019-20 season with an 81-80 win over the University of AlabamaPenn lost to Harvard last March in the Ivy League semifinals but was picked second in the conference preseason poll.

Yet, before Harvard worries about Dartmouth, Penn, and other future foes, they will keep their focus on Northeastern, a team that beat the Crimson last November, thanks to a game-high 35 points by Jordan Rolland. Rolland will certainly be a player the Crimson will need to slow down in order to pick-up their second win of the season, but from a quick glance at this year’s roster, Harvard is loaded with talent to slow down their opponents’ top players, and will certainly receive a boost from an impressive and hard-working first-year class.

Amaker praised his freshman class, which was ranked 38th nationally, according to 247Sports.com. All five newcomers logged time on Tuesday against MIT and have seemed to adapt to the college game quite well it seems.

“I have been impressed with our first-years,” said Amaker during the team’s media day last Friday. “This is a tough-minded group. They are physical – you look at who they are (with their) bodies and (what) they are capable of taking in … they have been durable, but they have been very (impressive) with their durability, dependability, and then fitting in.

“Our future is good hands with this first-year class.”

No matter who is on the floor Friday and later this season – Aiken, Ludlum, Juzang, sophomore Noah Kirkwood or seniors Seth Towns and Henry Welsh – Harvard is expected to compete and play some impressive basketball that should translate into more wins and an exciting 2019-20 season.

News and Notes from New England: 

  • Andrew Fleming became the 31st player in the University of Maine men’s basketball program to net 1,000 points as the senior helped the Black Bears defeat Merrimack College, 84-64, on Wednesday evening. Fleming, who was named a preseason America East All-Conference honoree, recorded 37 points and 10 rebounds against the Warriors to go along with five assists and two blocks.
  • Keep your eyes on the Saint Anselm College women’s basketball team this weekend – the Hawks, who were picked to finish atop the Northeast-10 Conference will tip-off Saturday, November 9th against Bloomfield College at 6:30 p.m. After facing the Bears, the Hawks will cap their weekend with a late Sunday afternoon contest against the University of Bridgeport.

    Senior Shannon Ryan will be one of many student-athletes to watch on the Hawks this winter. Ryan recorded a double-double of 29 points and 18 rebounds last weekend against Bishop’s University.

  • WPI, which secured the fourth spot in our New England D-III Men’s Basketball Top 10 Preseason Poll, tips-off its season against ninth-ranked Brandeis University on Friday. Both teams are two squads to watch this winter – the Engineers were picked to capture the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), while Brandeis is expected to continue its success from last year under second-year coach Jean Bain.
  • Finally, make sure to read Bob Whitney‘s first column, Around The Rim – I am very excited to have Bob join our team this winter to produce some additional basketball content. Bob has covered the college and high school game for years and will be a great addition to our Noontime Sports staff.

New England Football: Yale Picked To Capture The Ivy League

Yale BulldogsBy NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

The 2019 Ivy League Football Preseason Media Poll was released this morning with Yale University checking-in atop the eight-team list with nine first-place votes.

Yale, which was picked to finish first in the Ancient Eight one year ago, concluded its 2018 campaign with a 5-5 record, including a 3-4 mark in league play.

Dartmouth College and Princeton College checked-in second and third, respectively – two the teams combined for six first-place nods with the Tigers claiming four of them while Harvard University secured the fourth position with one first-place vote.

Penn University checked-in fifth overall while Columbia University placed sixth with one first-place vote. The Lions finished 6-4 last season – they won their final two games against Brown University (42-20) and Cornell University (24-21).

Cornell and Brown rounded out the eight-team poll, checking-in seventh and eighth, respectively.

Princeton captured the 2018 Ivy League crown with a 10-0 mark – it was the 13th time in league history that an Ancient Eight team has finished its campaign without a single setback.

Yale won the league crown in 2017, while Penn and Princeton were tabbed co-champions in 2016. Harvard and Dartmouth also shared the Ivy League title in 2015.

The 2019 Ivy League season officially begins Saturday, September 21st.


Stay connected with our New England football coverage by following @Noontime_FB on Twitter! 

Catching Up With Sara Binkhorst (Wheaton Women’s Basketball)

binkhorst 112216-0733

Sara Binkhorst was named the new Wheaton College women’s basketball coach last month. (PHOTO COURTESY: Brown University Athletics) 

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Sara Binkhorst is excited about her new job – she was recently named the new head coach of the Wheaton College women’s basketball program last month.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” said Binkhorst when asked about becoming the eighth head coach in program history.

“From the moment I stepped onto campus (as a candidate for the women’s basketball head coaching role) I was welcomed by the Wheaton community and the supportive (athletic) department, so I really am looking forward to all the things to come.”

Binkhorst arrives in Norton, Massachusetts after a successful four-year stint as an assistant coach with the Brown University women’s basketball program where she helped the Bears capture a pair of Ocean State Tip-Off Tournaments in 2017 and 2018 while assisting the squad to a spot in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament in 2017.

With Binkhorst, the Bears finished above.500 three times, including this past winter, while also competing in the 2017 Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) where they defeated the University of Maryland Baltimore County (81-75) in the opening round before falling to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (87-84).

Binkhorst speaks fondly of her time at Brown, including what she learned from head coach Sarah Behn, who welcomed her to the coaching staff a few months after she graduated Bowdoin College.

Said Binkhors, “I will always be grateful for Sarah Behn for taking a chance on me (as a recent college graduate) and developing me (into the coach I have become). Brown was an unbelievable experience and it definitely helped me prepare (myself) for what I am excited to do at Wheaton.”

Being able to coach the Lyons will certainly bring back some fond memories of competing for the Polar Bears from 2011-2015 for Binkhorst, who flourished under the direction of current Bowdoin head coach Adrienne Shibles. As a member of the Bowdoin women’s basketball program, Binkhorst earned a pair of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) first-team honors while also being named the New England Women’s Basketball Association (NEWBA) Player of the Year in 2015.

In 2015, Binkhorst guided the Polar Bears to the NCAA quarterfinals – she averaged 14.4 points and 3.1 assists per game that season – and also became the 14th player in program history to net 1,000 points in her final regular-season contest against Tufts University.

binkhorst 112216-0916

“Brown was an unbelievable experience,” Binkhorst said when discussing her past four seasons as an assistant with the Bears women’s basketball team. (Photo Courtesy: Brown University Athletics)

Noontime Sports recently spoke with Binkhorst to discuss her excitement for coaching Division III basketball, as well as what she will be doing over the next few months to prepare the Lyons for a successful 2019-20 campaign.

On becoming a D-III coach: “I am a true believer in a Division III experience. I played at Bowdoin and had an unbelievable experience playing for one of the greatest coaches, Adrienne Shibles, so I am a firm believer in what Division III promotes between the balance of athletics and academics. I love Division III and wanted to get into coaching after I graduated from Bowdoin (in 2015), and was extremely fortunate that I landed at Brown. I learned so much from that experience, including how to recruit high-academic student-athletes, which is similar to the type of students I competed with at Bowdoin.

I (always) knew I wanted to become a head coach (after I graduated Bowdoin), and I wanted to return to the Division III world, (so landing at Wheaton is a dream come true).  It is an unbelievable school that competes in a really competitive Division III conferences – I think (the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference) is one of the best in New England. Additionally, knowing the possibility of how to recruit regionally and nationally to a school like Wheaton is very exciting.

On competing in the NEWMAC: So, we competed against a few schools in the NEWMAC when I was playing for Bowdoin, but I have a great deal of respect for the conference and coaches. I feel really humbled and honored to be taking over a program to compete in the NEWMAC against some unbelievable coaches that have great traditions of success. I think the Wheaton program will continue to work hard to establish itself as one of the premier programs in the NEWMAC and we’ll obviously begin (this process) once we convene on campus this fall.

I am really looking forward to our first day of practice, being in the gym with our team and start competing, so we can (reach our goal) of becoming a championship program.

On preparations for the upcoming season: First and foremost, (the most important goal) is getting to know the women on our team. I have been able to have some great conversations with all the women on our team – I look forward to continuing (our dialogues) this summer, too – but I am really looking forward to getting to know our players and build relationships with them.

When everyone is on campus, I look forward to getting together and discussing the culture that we’re going to build collectively.


Stay connected with our New England basketball coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_Hoops

Harvard Football Unveils 2019 Schedule

7865_harvard_crimson-helmet-0.pngBy NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Just weeks after capping its 2018 season with a 45-27 win over Yale University in the 135th playing of The Game, the Harvard University football team unveiled its 2019 slate, which features five home and five road games.

Harvard will entertain Brown UniversityCornell UniversityDartmouth CollegeHoward University and University of Pennsylvania at historic Harvard Stadium, while visiting Columbia UniversityHoly CrossPrinceton UniversitySan Diego and Yale this fall.

The Crimson will commence their 2019 season in San Diego on Saturday, September 21st before hosting Brown one week later on Saturday, September 28th. The Crimson’s home-opener against the Bears will be aired on ESPN+.

Following their home date with Brown, the Crimson will entertain Howard and Cornell in early October before visiting Holy Cross and Princeton.

The Crimson will cap their final month of play with two home games and two road contests, including the 136th playing of The Game against Yale in New Haven, Connecticut on Saturday, November 23.

Harvard concluded its 2018 season with a three-game winning streak, while finishing third in the Ivy League. Princeton, which defeated Harvard in October by eight points (29-21), captured the Ancient Eight crown with a perfect 10-0 record, while Dartmouth finished second at 9-1 overall.

The 2019 season will be coach Tim Murphy‘s 26th with the program – the tenured coach currently owns a 174-75 overall record with Harvard, but needs five wins to match Yale’s Carmen Cozza (179) for the most win in conference history.


Stay connected with our New England football coverage by following @Noontime_FB on Twitter today! 

D3 Football: Malik Hall Tabbed Bates College Football Coach

180619_Coach_Hall_1159

Malik Hall was named the new head football coach at Bates College on Monday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

Monday was an exciting day for Malik Hall, who was tabbed the 20th head coach of the Bates College football program.

Hall arrives in Lewiston, Maine after spending the past three seasons with the Penn Quakers football team, serving as the defensive line coach. He helped Penn secure back-to-back Ivy League championships in 2015 and 2016. Penn finished its 2017 campaign 6-4 by winning its final four contests, including a pair of wins over Harvard and Princeton.

In addition to his time with the Quakers, Hall has also served as an assistant at Central Connecticut StateFordhamHofstra, UMass Amherst and Wagner.

Hall graduated from UMass in 2003 and was a two-year letterman and starter for the Minutemen, helping them capture the Atlantic 10 Championship his senior season. He would return to Amherst eight years later to assist former head coach Kevin Morris as the team’s defensive line coach.

“We are delighted to welcome Malik Hall to the Bobcat family,” Bates Athletic Director Jason Fein said in a statement. “Once we interviewed him, it was crystal clear that Coach Hall has both the experience and vision to take Bates football to the next level. We’re excited to see what happens on the field.”

“It’s my great honor to accept the head coaching position at Bates,” said Hall via yesterday’s press release. “I am very much looking forward to building upon Bates’ traditions of academic excellence and relentlessness on the field. The Hall family can’t wait to join the Bates family.”

Hall takes over a program that was guided by Mark Harriman for the past 20 seasons. Harriman, who recently stepped down in April, guided the Bobcats to seven Colby-Bates-Bowdoin titles, including his final one last fall when Bates topped the Polar Bears, 24-17.

Bates opens its season on September 15th when they host Amherst College at 1 p.m.

Stay connected with Noontime Sports’ Football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB Today! 

« Older Entries