Final, Princeton 63-62: Davis misses a shot in the lane, and at the other end, Casey makes a layup to give the lead back to Harvard, 60-59. Princeton gives it low to Hummer, and he finishes inside to make it 61-60 Tigers. Harvard is playing it out, no timeout. Curry scores with 11 ticks left. Princeton brings it up the floor, and it goes out of bounds with 3 seconds left — Tigers ball. Douglas Davis hits the buzzer beater, 63-62. it stands after review. Tigers WIN. What a game.
Second half, 1:41, Princeton 59-58: Maddox is called for a foul in the lane, his fourth, which will send Curry to the line. Even the alums are on their feet at this point. Curry makes one of two, 58-57. McNally is called for a foul, which will in turn send Davis back to the line. He makes them both to give the lead back to the Tigers, 59-58. They’ve missed just one free throw all day. Wright is stripped on the block as the clock winds down, Princeton ball and timeout.
Second half, 3:02, 57-57: Maddox is called for a foul on Casey as he went to the hoop. He makes one of two, 51-51. An airball by Princeton is tracked down by Hummer, and he’s fouled by Casey, his fourth, which results in a 1-and-1. Hummer makes them both, 53-51. Wright posts up on Maddox and draws a foul, sending the big man to the line. Wright goes one of two, 53-52. A great drive into the lane by Mavraides extends the Tigers lead to 55-52, but Curry drains an open three to tie it at 55. After a couple missed shots by Princeton, Harvard scores on the break, Wright, but Maddox comes right back and scores to make it 57 all.
Second half, 5:20, Princeton 51-50 : Harvard turns it over on an errant pass after the timeout, and Maddox draws a foul on Wright — his fourth — following his own miss in the lane. Wright’s fourth could prove very significant for the Crimson — and now both teams are in the 1-and-1 on the next foul. Princeton can’t score off the play stoppage, and Harvard again takes their time before Brown misses an open corner three. At the other end, Davis drains a long two, 50-48 Crimson. Curry is then rejected in the lane — a lot of contact, but no call, and Hummer drains a three, 51-50 Tigers.
Second half, 7:39, Harvard 50-46: The teams trade empty possessions before Connolly fouls McNally as he goes to the hoop. He makes both, 50-44. Princeton misses another three at the other end — they can’t buy a shot from distance. Harvard now appears to be milking clock a little bit, taking their time on an empty possession. At the other end, Connolly makes a nice move in the post, 50-46 Crimson — and a timeout.
Second half, 9:49, Harvard 48-44: : Davis misses a corner three for the Tigers — he hesitated too long, and Hummer’s initial rebound goes out of bounds — Crimson ball. McNally slashes through the paint, laying it in, plus the foul. He completes the three-point play, 48-42. Mavraides receives the ball on a kickout for the Tigers, but he is off from three, rebounded by Harvard. Casey, though, misses a jumper for the Crimson, and Davis draws a foul at the other end, shooting on Wright — his third. Davis makes both, 48-44.
Second half, 11:33, Harvard 45-42 : Hummer makes one of two, 40-36 Harvard. A Harvard airball at the other end gives Princeton a chance to cut it to one score. Maddox makes a great pass in the lane, but Darrow misses Hummer, though, gets the tip, 40-38. Harvard draws a foul — Darrow, non-shooting. Casey rejects a Princeton drive into the lane, but the Tigers retain possession off a Harvard foul. Hummer is on a scoring rampage — he ties it at 40 with a bucket in the paint, though some traveling was involved. McNally drains a three to bring the Crimson to 45. A great entry pass to Wright gives him an easy bucket, 45-40, but Princeton comes right back wiith a Mavraides layup, 45-42. At the other end, however, Mavraides is called for a block. A series of steals, is followed by a charge by Wright in the lane — the momentum is with the Tigers. They, however, go one and done themselves, but Casey travels for Harvard, leading to the next TV timeout.
Second half, 15:55, Harvard 40-35: A Princeton and-1 closes the gap to 40-35, the pace has picked way up. Good Tigers defense leads to a one-and-done, and the Tigers draw a shooting foul as we head into the first TV timeout.
Second half, 16:30, Harvard 40-32: A Princeton miss to start the half is followed up by a Webster lay-in, extending the lead to 34-25, the largest of the game. Barrett stops the bleeding for the Tigers with a three from the top of the key, 34-28. At the other end, Wright gets the ball open on the weak side in the lane off a great pass. He dunks, 36-28, but at the other end, Maddox lays it in 36-30. The scoring frenzy continues as Wrigh again finishes easy in the paint, 38-30. A Tigers airball gives it back to the Crimson, but Casey can’t finish after a nice drive. Princeton creeps closer, with Barrett going to the hoop for 38-32. Maddox is called for a non-shooting foul for Princeton, which is followed up by a hoop at the cup by Webster — foul by Barrett for the and-1. Webster misses, but Barrett has four already.
Halftime analysis: Simply put, Princeton will have to stop turning it over to get back in the game. They’ve forfeited possession seven times to Harvard’s three, and that’s just about the margin in the game — that and the fact that the Tigers are 9-27 shooting while the Crimson are over 50%. Still, the Tigers are dominating the glass, an advantage that is far less variable than shooting percentage and turnovers. If those stats shift even a little in the second half, things could change very quickly.
As for Harvard, it has executed its offense very well thus far. The Crimson have moved off the ball, taken open shots from range, and gotten the ball into the post to Wright with increasing effectiveness. Princeton, on the other hand, has been slow in starting their sets, and has lacked rhythm.
Halftime, Harvard 32-25: Harvard really has been the better team thus far, asserting themselves in the pain in the last few minutes and taking advantage of Princeton’s foul trouble. Princeton’s two major issues are turnovers and easy misses — both of which are fixable problems.
Connolly makes both free throws, 29-25. Rivard is well off on a three for Harvard, and Princeton rebounds. Barrett misses a midrange J for Princeton, but they get the board. They squander the second chance, however, turning it over out of bounds. A well-timed bounce pass in the lane finds Wright, and he’s fouled going to the hoop by Barrett. Wright, who has taken over the game of late, makes one of two, 30-25. Princeton nearly turns it over again on a poor pass, but it is touched last by the Crimson. The Tigers miss a jumper, but after getting a rebound, Maddox is blocked in the lane. Wright again gets to the cup for Harvard, but his effort rims out. Princeton, though, continues to turn it over, another baseline out-of-bounds.
Harvard opts not to go 2-for-1 in the final minute, instead running clock before Curry finds Rivard with a nice drive and pass in the lane. He finishes, 32-25. At the other end, Princeton can’t connect, and it’s half time. 0.7 is put back on the clock after an out-of-bounds before the buzzer, but nothing comes of it — half time again.
First half, 3:20, Harvard 29-23: A disjointed Princeton possession featuring a couple fouls on Harvard eventually results in Connolly travel in the post — Princeton takes a timeout. At the other end, McNally is short on an open three, but Harvard gets the rebound. Mavraides is called for a foul on the wing, and Harvard is now in the 1-and-1. Rivard misses the front end, rebounded by the Tigers. A nice pass into the lane gives Connolly an and-1. He completes it, 25-23. Barrett is called for a foul for the Tigers, putting Webster at the line. He makes both, 27-23. Princeton gets it to Maddox on the block, but he can’t finish after a nice move. At the other end, Wright finishes inside to make it 29-23. Webster is called for a shooting foul for the Crimson, TV timeout.
First half, 5:51, Harvard 25-20: Webster completes the three point play to make it 21-20 Crimson. Davis draws a touch foul for Princeton, but good defense forces a long shot by Maddox at the end of the clock. He misses short. At the other end, Harvard is one and done on a missed shot, but Princeton turns it over in the backcourt. Wright then puts up a floater from close in, and it is goaltended — 23-20. After a Princeton miss, Harvard completes an alley-oop with a Casey jam, 25-20 Crimson.
First half, 7:59, 20-20: Webster hits a top-of-the-key three for Harvard, 18-18, and Princeton turns it over at the other end. Connolly is called for a defensive foul in the paint, which Harvard follows up with an attempt at the rim by Webster, blocked. Hummer, who has returned for Princeton, breaks the tie with a strong move under the rim, 20-18. The Tigers have had the advantage in the paint thus far. Mavraides is called for a foul at the defensive end for the Tigers, which Webster follows up with a midrange J for Harvard — and he was fouled from behind by Hummer. He’ll go to the line after the TV timeout.
First half, 9:39, Princeton 18-15 : A loose ball at Harvard’s offensive end is tipped around, but stays with Harvard on the out of bounds. Wright needs to get more involved for the Crimson — he’s been a non-factor thus far, though Harvard’s offense has been far more fluid than Princeton’s. Harvard waits out the entire clock before McNally drives to the lane for a layup — it counts, but the buzzer had sounded, 16-15. Princeton answers, with Connoly scoring from underneath the hoop, 18-15 Tigers.
First half, 10 59, Princeton 16-13: Davis hits both of his free throws to tie the game at six. Harvard has started to move much better off the ball, and Curry misses a floater, but gets the rebound and makes the follow underneath for 8-6. At the other end, Princeton turns it over out of bounds. Curry misses a three for Harvard, which Princeton follows with a missed shot in the lane, but they get the rebound. Maddox, though, is short on the follow-up two. McNally buries a corner three for Harvard, 11-6. Curry is called for a foul in a tangle on the defensive end. Davis buries a jumper for the Tigers, 11-8. McNally turns it over going the other way, out of bounds. Casey, though, gets a stuff on a Princeton layup attempt, and Harvard controls. At the other end, some great ball movement in the lane gives Curry and easy two, 13-8. Maddox, though, makes a strong play in the lane for Princeton, scoring and one — foul on Casey. He makes the free throw, 13-11. Mavraides gets a clean steal for Princeton and takes it all the way for a layup, 13 all. On the next trip, he drains a three to make it 16-13 Tigers — timeout Harvard.
First half, 15:46, Harvard 6-4: Harvard turns it over with a travel, but Princeton follows that up with a second offensive foul in two possessions. Neither team has established much rhythm as of yet. Curry gets a floater in the lane to go for the Crimson for 4-2. A nice move in the post by Hummer ties it at four, but Wright immediately answers with a score in the paint of his own. Princeton draws a shooting foul in the other direction, and the first TV timeout stops the game.
First half, 17:32, 2-2: The game begins with a series of missed shots, though both teams are generating open looks and getting into the paint. Neither however, is getting near the offensive glass. Princeton finally ends the 0-0 tie with a bucket by Mavraides. Harvard equalizes with a layup by Casey. At the other end, Casey draws an offensive foul.
3:55 p.m.: The two teams have accepted their co-championship trophies, and the starting lineups are being announced. Tipoff is just moments away.
3:45 p.m.: Lee Amphitheater is split down the middle between orange and crimson, with “Harvard Sucks” and “Princeton Sucks” chants being exchanged, along with covers of Vengaobys, Black Eyed Peas and the like by the two school bands.
Shoot-around has ended, and the players have come back from the locker room. We are just minutes away.
10 a.m.: Harvard’s NCAA Tournament drought may have lasted a lifetime — 65 years to be exact — but it’s nowhere near the length of its spell without an Ivy League championship. In fact, the Crimson’s share of the title this season broke the streak that has lasted forever, literally.
Now, Tommy Amaker’s bunch will stake their claim for outright supremacy, as they’ll face Ivy League basketball blue bloods Princeton, a team with a rich history that includes an offensive style bearing its name that is still used around the nation to this day.
The Tigers, however, haven’t danced since 2004, a major dry spell by their own standards. To win that privilege, the squads will face off at the unlikeliest of locations, Yale’s Lee Amphitheater — a neutral site suitable for the ninth playoff game in Ivy League history.
Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.
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