The Ivy League race is seldom this much in doubt this late into the regular season. With just three games remaining, four teams still have a shot at winning the Ivy League title outright. One of the biggest factors in this shakeup at the top of the Ancient Eight has been the play of Brown sophomore guard Earl Hunt, the Ivy League's leading scorer and a burgeoning superstar. Hunt -- a three-time Ivy League Player of the Week selection -- is averaging 20.2 points per game and is in the top 10 in the league in almost every major statistical category. "He's an outstanding basketball player," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "He's very difficult to defend and he can make plays." Hunt made more than his share of plays last weekend. The 6'5," 200-pound Maryland native scored 38 points on the Bears' road trip to Cornell and Columbia. But more than his numbers, Hunt made the right shots at the right time. On Friday night, with less than four minutes remaining and the score tied at 61, Hunt hit a jump shot to give the Bears the lead for good in a 67-65 Brown win. The next night, Hunt scored only 15 points, but his last two were critical in an even tighter game. The Bears were locked in a 65-65 tie with the Lions, and with only a half-second remaining in regulation, Hunt hit a buzzer-beating shot from the baseline for an electrifying victory. "He was definitely the first option on the play," Brown coach Glenn Miller said. "Luckily, he freed himself coming off a screen, and our point guard was able to get him the basketball. He took one dribble and hit a nice shot on the baseline." Miller had a good deal of confidence in his young offensive stud. "It's definitely a position that he wants to be in every time," Miller said. "And we were fortunate enough to execute well enough to give him the ball and give him the opportunity to score." Hunt has taken advantage of most scoring opportunities at Brown. With 945 points, he has scored more than any Ivy League sophomore in history. Plus, Hunt needs only to average 19 points in his last three games to become the first Ancient Eighter to break the 1,000-point threshold in his first two years. Dunphy said that, along with Harvard's Dan Clemente and Columbia's Craig Austin, Hunt is "definitely" a frontrunner for the Ivy League Player of the Year. "He's been a tremendous player for us," Miller said. "I think what makes him so tough to guard is that he's got very good versatility. He's a big guard who can post you up, he can shoot the three-pointer and he can create his own shot off the dribble." Even though Brown has other threats such as Alaivaa Nuualiitia and Omari Ware, Hunt is the main cog in the Bears' attack. "He can score in a variety of ways, and some guys can't do that," Miller said. "Obviously he's a real key for us, so we run a lot of screening actions to create opportunities for him." Dunphy said that, while Penn sophomore forwards Koko Archibong and Ugonna Onyekwe will be Hunt's primary defenders Saturday, the Quakers will not scheme solely towards stopping the sophomore. "I guess he's the guy you have to worry about the most," Dunphy said. "But they have other guys to, so not only do you have to worry about him scoring, but also about him making plays for his teammates."Comments powered by Disqus
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