Crimson Minds Its Ps; Next Up, Qs

The season comes to a head tonight when Penn comes to Cambridge looking to take the reins of the Ivy League title race from the Crimson. (Photo credit: thedp.com)

Princeton had Harvard on the ropes last night. The Tigers built a seven-point lead midway through the second half and the Crimson was reeling. It could not find an answer to Princeton’s offense as, two weeks after being back-doored to death, Harvard backed off and watched the Tigers hit five of their first eight threes. On the other end

of the floor, the Crimson ran its maddeningly passive offensive sets, consistently waiting for the final 15 seconds of the shot clock to start attacking.

A loss, which would have thrown the title race wide open, seemed imminent. And then at 10:33, Brandyn Curry checked viagra for sale back into the game.

Almost immediately he got an and-one on a drive to the hoop, and, after making the free throw, he forced a turnover on the inbounds. The ensuing free throws from Keith Wright tied the game at 50. Two possessions later, Curry set up Wright for a go-ahead deuce, but Ian Hummer reclaimed the lead for Princeton on his own and-one. The two teams traded stops for three possessions before Curry nailed a three from the right wing that gave Harvard a 57-55 lead, and minutes later he stuck another jumper to build a four-point cushion.

The shooting display was uncanny for a player that has struggled with his shot this season, but his shutdown defense on Douglas Davis was less surprising. Curry simply hounded the Tiger veteran down the stretch, forcing five straight misses and one turnover over the decisive 10-minute stretch, which saw a five point deficit turn into a four-point lead (however, on one play—the emotional high of Harvard’s second half surge—Curry received some help, as Kyle Casey rotated over from the weak side on a Davis drive to swat the senior’s layup attempt into the stands).

Making eight straight free throws to close out the contest, the Crimson was able to survive the most dangerous opponent left on its schedule, 67-64. (Davis has a thing for hitting buzzer-beaters against Harvard).

Regardless of last night’s results, tonight’s game between Harvard and Penn would be the weekend’s main event. But because Harvard survived and the Quakers eked out a win in Hanover, the showdown at Lavietes is almost by default the decisive game of the 2012 Ivy League season. A Crimson win would lower Harvard’s magic number to one with two games to play, while a Penn win would give the Quakers control of their destiny over the final week of the season.

Last game between the two teams was a slow-motion rock fight: over 57 possessions, Harvard and Penn posted 38.8 and 36.6 effective field goal percentages, respectively. The Crimson got a huge boost from Corbin Miller, who chipped in 17 points off the bench, while the Quakers got next to nothing from Tyler Bernardini. For those two reasons alone, tonight’s game will not be a replay of the first matchup.

Most likely, Penn will need to ride Zack Rosen, who outdid himself once again with the Quakers’ final 16 points last night. The Crimson meanwhile will rely on its defense and hope someone kick-starts the offense like Curry last night. Given Harvard’s size advantage, which was evident last time at the Palestra, I’d guess the catalyst to be Wright or Casey.

In any case, in a year in which the Ivy League supposedly had a clear frontrunner, the season has come down to the final three games for three teams. It may not be March yet, but it’s definitely Madness, and Senior Night at Lavietes should be something special.

1 thought on “Crimson Minds Its Ps; Next Up, Qs

  1. “Senior Night at Lavietes should be something special.”

    Yes, it was! Yikes, what a finish!

    The close of the regular season should be as much of a classic finish as we have seen in this league in years! Surely less expected than how last year closed out.

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