Junior forward Matt Stehle did just that. Then he fell down.
With the Crimson (8-11, 3-3 Ivy) up 52-50 with 1:48 remaining and the ball in the Tigers’ possession, Stehle took the biggest charge of his career. It was all part of his plan.
“I’ve taken maybe one charge in my entire career, so it was complete luck. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time,” Stehle said afterwards. “[Will] Venable just came at me and...I just kind of flopped and thank God they gave me the call.”
The charge was the biggest play in what was the biggest game of Harvard’s season to date. It came on the heels of an 8-2 spurt that brought the Crimson back from its biggest deficit of the second half, and it negated what would have been a crucial game-tying basket for the Princeton (10-8, 1-3 Ivy).
The Tigers were unable to claw back during the game’s closing moments, trailing by at least a basket the rest of the way en route to a 61-57 defeat.
The charge wasn’t Stehle’s only clutch contribution. He came in as a 71.4 percent foul shooter—good for eighth in the Ancient Eight—and did not disappoint down the stretch. He converted all four of his attempts from the charity stripe in the final 45 seconds, helping keep the Tigers at bay.
TEAR DOWN THAT WALL-ACE
Preseason Ivy League player of the year Judson Wallace was questionable for the Tigers this weekend, having missed most of practice during the week with a bad back. He played only 17 minutes in Princeton’s 50-42 loss to Dartmouth Friday night and according to Coach Joe Scott, he was a game-time decision for the contest in Cambridge.
“Today I had to ask him, ‘Are you going to be able to go tonight?’ And he wasn’t sure.”
After posting only seven points and two boards against the Big Green, he led all scorers with 23 Saturday night, lighting up the Crimson from inside and out on 9-of-15 shooting.
He was especially effective after the intermission, notching 14 points in 17 minutes.
DOING THE LITTLE THINGS
After the game, Joe Scott’s message was clear.
“The game came down to the little things, and we didn’t do the little things well and they did,” Scott said. “We’re playing in bad luck right now, and I think there’s only one way to get yourself out of that bad luck, and that’s to do the little things.”
There were several little things to which Scott could have been referring.