Princeton 88, Columbia 83
In a cruel twist of fate for Columbia fans, the Tigers outdid the Lions at Jadwin by the same score as they did earlier this month, when Princeton made not one but two unlikely comebacks in its overtime win at Levien. In Princeton’s previous win against the Lions, Henry Caruso, Spencer Weisz and Steven Cook shot 4-for-24 from the floor. Friday night, that trio shot 22-for-31 en route to 60 combined points, with freshman guard Myles Stephens adding 15 points in 26 minutes off the bench.
One trend remained for the Tigers from the previous matchup in this series – a crucial late run in the first half. Princeton went on a 9-2 run in the final 3:12 of the first half at Levien to cut Columbia’s halftime lead to four, allowing the Tigers to hang within striking distance for most of the second half before mounting their dramatic, Devin Cannady-led comeback in the final 3:24 of regulation after Isaac Cohen fouled out. Similarly Friday night, Princeton reeled off a 10-1 run in the final 3:04 of the first half to build a 42-33 halftime lead after the contest had been neck-and-neck for most of the stanza. No one ends halves better than Princeton, apparently.
The Tigers didn’t cool down in the second stanza, either, shooting 7-for-11 from three-point range in the second half. The bottom line is this: Princeton was never going to lose this game shooting 13-for-21 (61.7 percent) from deep. Perhaps Columbia could have been more aggressive with its perimeter defense, but Cook and Weisz were hitting everything from very far back. The Tigers (well, mostly Caruso) did miss five of six free throws during one 19-second stretch in the final minute, but Columbia couldn’t take advantage down multiple possessions. Princeton (19-5, 9-1) will maintain its tie with Yale (19-6, 10-1) in the conference loss column.
And so it goes for Columbia. If you told Columbia fans their team would score 83 points in both games against Princeton this season, they’d have probably felt pretty good about their Ivy title chances, even with a suspect defense. That Ivy title won’t come to Columbia this season, and the Lions’ championship window appears to be closed now that Maodo Lo, Alex Rosenberg, Grant Mullins and Isaac Cohen are graduating. Columbia simply hasn’t been the hotter team from long range in its two meetings with Princeton or one meeting so far with Yale, getting outshot in each of those contests. That shouldn’t change the fact that the talented nucleus of Maodo Lo, Alex Rosenberg and Grant Mullins are, by all accounts, resilient and loyal people, not to mention fierce competitors, the latter two coming back from significant injuries to make a final run at an Ivy championship. You have to feel for them.
Penn 79, Cornell 67
Some pleasant statistics for Penn: Darien Nelson-Henry scored his 1,000th point Friday night, and Steve Donahue’s record against Cornell improved to 2-0. Sam Jones was visible again, making hay not from beyond the arc but the foul line, where he went 11-for-12. Penn built a 19-point lead in the first half and held off the reeling Big Red at the Palestra the rest of the way. Some good news for Cornell: Robert Hatter looked like his old, sprightly self again after an ankle injury sustained earlier this season, notching 31 points on 12-for-21 shooting in addition to a technical foul in the second half as referees briefly lost control of the game. Columbia has a chance Saturday night to beat Penn at the Palestra for the first time since 2010. (The Quakers never lost to Columbia at the Palestra during Jerome Allen’s tenure as permanent head coach, going 5-0 against the Lions in that span.)
Brown 84, Dartmouth 83 (OT)
With Jordan Spieth at the Pizzitola Sports Center (and in the student section), the Bears and Big Green put on a show, ultimately pleasing at least one golfer in the crowd by pulling out the overtime victory. Fittingly, Steven Spieth notched a game-high 21 points despite fouling out with 3:31 left in regulation. JR Hobbie hit a game-tying three-pointer, his first trey in four attempts on the night, with nine seconds left in regulation, and seven Brown free throws in the extra period set up what turned out to be the game-winning dunk from Cedric Kuakumensah with 1:06 remaining. This was as tight of a game as you’ll ever see – both teams posted 35 rebounds and eight steals in addition to registering 26 fouls and 13 turnovers. Brown’s slight edge at the free throw line, especially in overtime, turned out to be the difference, allowing the Bears to hold serve in Providence.
Yale 59, Harvard 50
Yale took the court at Payne Whitney showing support for former teammate Jack Montague, who withdrew from the university earlier this month, by wearing shooting shirts with a backwards “Yale” (so, “Elay”) on the front and “Gucci” (Montague’s nickname) on the back. Apparently, “Yale” was spelled backwards because it’s a copyrighted brand. Meanwhile, Tommy McCarthy sat out with a concussion on the heels of his engineering Harvard’s comeback at Cornell Saturday night. A 9-0 Harvard run midway through the second half briefly cut Yale’s lead to single digits, but Justin Sears and Brandon Sherrod steered the Elis clear of an upset, methodically putting the Crimson away for the first time since while Tommy Amaker chose to sit Zena Edosomwan down the stretch yet again. (The Crimson’s 9-0 run happened immediately after Edosomwan went to the bench.) Lots of curious stuff in New Haven Friday night. Yale freshman guard Trey Phills notched five points in 11 minutes off the bench and junior guard Anthony Dallier in a starting role posted seven rebounds without scoring, each figuring to become a greater part of Yale’s backcourt rotation with Montague out of the picture.