The Princeton Tigers clinched a share of the Ivy League championship with a heart-stopping 74-73 victory over the Harvard Crimson at Lavietes Pavilion Sunday afternoon. The title is the second in coach Mitch Henderson’s career following the undefeated Ivy season in 2017.
Princeton-Harvard matchups in the Tommy Amaker era are usually exciting, closely fought contests, often with title or tournament implications for both teams.
For tonight’s Senior Night celebration, fans were invited back to the arena to bid fond farewell to an amazing group of players who were adversely affected by the COVID-19-imposed restrictions on their college careers: Ethan Wright, Drew Friberg, Jaelin Llewellyn, Elijah Barnes, Max Johns and Charlie Bagin.
Down 12-2, starting power forward Michael Moshkovitz off the court with two quick fouls and a boisterous sellout Lavietes Pavilion crowd on top of them, things looked bleak for the Penn men as they made it to their bench for the first media timeout in Friday night’s nationally televised game at Harvard.
Fortunately, Steve Donahue settled his team and the Quakers bounced back for an important 78-74 road victory that has the Red & Blue at 5-2 (8-12 overall) halfway through the Ivy League schedule.
Tommy Amaker’s Crimson, meanwhile, left the court with their third loss in five league contests (10-7 overall).
When Denham Wojcik hit his first basket of the night to put Harvard up 11 with 6:50 remaining, the Crimson looked well on their way to beating Dartmouth and securing their second straight Ivy victory. Unfortunately, their travel partner got a second wind and cut the lead to one with the ball in Aaryn Rai’s hands for one last shot.
The addition of starting forward Kale Catchings to Harvard’s already sizeable frontcourt disabled list proved too much, as UMass defeated Harvard, 87-77, at the Mullins Center on Saturday afternoon.
Facing a Minutemen squad that lives and dies at the three point line, Tommy Amaker, whose Crimson (5-4) have been without the services of forwards Mason Forbes, Justice Ajogbor and Bennett Pitcher for the first part of the season, opted to use highly touted rookie wing Louis Lesmond in place of Catchings and go with a four-guard lineup.
The biggest story of the off-season was Miye Oni being selected in June’s NBA Draft. The Yale junior and reigning Ivy Player of the Year decided to leave school early and leave his name in the draft. Despite falling to the late second round, a perilous spot to making an NBA roster, Oni impressed in the Summer League and earned a guaranteed contract with the Utah Jazz. He is playing just as well in the pre-season and looks to be a real steal for the Jazz.