On a night in which he passed Doug Davis to move into 2nd on the all-time scorers’ list in Princeton history, Ian Hummer took after his old teammate and refused to allow Harvard to walk away with the Ivy title in hand. With the game hanging in the balance in the final minutes, Hummer played with the desperate urgency of a senior who recognized the enormity of the moment. His put-back to take the lead, followed by a strong move to get position down low and get fouled were game-changers in the last two minutes, but Hummer brought the intensity from the tip. He had eight rebounds in the game’s first eight minutes and set the tone for his squad early on.
This wasn’t one of those nights where the Tigers work it inside and out, finding their tall shooters who rain treys on the opposition at over 50%. This was a knock ‘em down battle that took place primarily, and almost exclusively, in the paint. The first three of the game by either side wasn’t hit until Mack Darrow knocked it down late in the second half. Strength was the reason the Tigers won tonight, and Hummer was the strongest player on the floor. TJ Bray was shifty in the lane and finished well at the rim. Denton Koon and Hans Brase didn’t have their best games, but Koon made some key plays on both ends and Brase’s passing was excellent all night. Barrett was 0-3 from the floor but grabbed 7 rebounds. Darrow provided meaningful minutes off the bench and knocked down some big shots. It was a quintessential team victory, due in no small part to the fact that Princeton was able to get whatever they wanted all night on the glass. The fact that Harvard had a chance to win this game after allowing 13 offensive rebounds and being limited to only 2 offensive boards of their own, all while going 0-8 from three, should actually give the Crimson some confidence going into a potential rematch.
Harvard really struggled against Princeton’s length in the first half. The Crimson started to settle for outside jumpers that
weren’t falling, and seemed reluctant to work inside amongst the tall trees. To his credit, Amaker did get his guys to start going inside and getting to the free throw line, though Princeton did Harvard a few favors by fouling Rivard on not one, but two three pointers in the first half. Harvard ended up making a living at the stripe, hitting 12-15 FT, and closing within six points at the break. In the second half, Princeton held off the Crimson at an arm’s length, leading by between six and nine points for most of the half before Steve Moundou-Missi took over with nine straight Crimson points down the stretch to put the visitors up 51-48 with 2:50 to go. That set the stage for Hummer’s late-game heroics.
Looking ahead, Princeton will take the court Saturday for Senior Night against Dartmouth. The Tigers should cruise there, but have a few potentially challenging road games next weekend against pesky Yale and Brown. Meanwhile, Harvard heads down to Philadelphia on Saturday to face off against a fading Penn team before returning home to host Columbia and Cornell next weekend. If both teams can hold serve in their next three contests, Princeton will travel down to Penn trying to force a playoff, while the Quakers will look to return the favor from last year’s title-deciding loss at Jadwin.
Then, who knows? Maybe it will be back to the John J. Lee Amphitheater in New Haven for another thrilling playoff to decide who dances on to the NCAA Tournament [Edit 3/2, 2:00PM: The Ivy League has confirmed that a playoff between Harvard and Princeton would take place at The Palestra in Philadelphia.]