AROUND THE IVIES: No Lack of Fight in Final Stretch

We’re not used to this here at Harvard.

Come March, the men’s basketball team has been known to fall off the map, going on slide after slide when it matters most.

Luckily for the Crimson, things are a little different this year.

Behind the stellar play of its seniors—led by Ivy Player of the Week senior Drew Housman—and the continued dominance of junior Jeremy Lin, this team is on a roll.

At Penn, the squad dismantled the Quakers down low, with freshman Keith Wright taking it to Penn’s big man.

And even when Wright was sitting on the bench for most of the second half, the team rallied, and once again, it was Housman and Lin to the rescue.

Housman drove the paint, made big bucket after big bucket, and Lin, playing basically on one foot, nailed a dagger of a three and somehow still finished with 12 points.

Last weekend, behind six steals from Housman, the two wreaked havoc again, this time on the lonely Lions.

And against mighty Cornell, the dynamic duo took their skills to a new level—each notching 20 points to take down the first-place squad 71-70.

Winning games late in the season, let alone pulling out close ones late in the game, has never been Harvard’s thing. Finally, it is.

FRIDAY’S GAMES

HARVARD AT BROWN

Last time around, it was Lin coming up big for the Crimson in a 27 point performance, capped by a free-throw with no time left on the clock, to beat the Bears by one.

This time, Harvard is not on three-game losing streak, but rather, a three-game winning streak. And the Bears are 1-11. Harvard looks to continue its winning streak in pursuit of a 7-7 finish in the Ivies. It will.

Harvard 70, Brown 60

DARTMOUTH AT YALE

Both teams still have a shot—although a long one—at a share of the Ivy title. If Cornell loses both games this weekend, and one of these two squads can win both, it’s possible. But I don’t think anyone really thinks it’s going to happen.

Give the edge to the Yalies, who are a strong 4-1 at home this season.

Yale 66, Dartmouth, 63

PENN AT CORNELL

This could be the night Cornell clinches its second straight Ivy League championship. Or, if Penn has its way, it could be the start of an absolutely chaotic last weekend in the Ivies. The Quakers have struggled this season, but have actually played a little better on the road than at home this year. It lost four straight just two weeks ago in the Palestra, a streak unheard of in recent years.

But in this game, the Big Red is going to come in focused and strong, picking themselves off the proverbial mat that the Crimson put it on.

Cornell 80, Penn 65

PRINCETON AT COLUMBIA

Princeton is knocking on the door of another Ivy League title, and no one can believe it. This is a team who was picked second to last in the Ivy League—now it is in second, just one game out of first. After beating Cornell once already this season, the Tigers are in control of its destiny: win out, and win the Ivies. A win tonight sets up a showdown with the Big Red on Saturday for the title. I want to see it.

Princeton 58, Columbia 51

SATURDAY’S GAMES

HARVARD AT YALE

It seems appropriate for the Ivy season to end here, as the most embittered rivalry takes to the hardwood on Saturday. Harvard will be looking to end strong, giving Amaker something to work off of for next year with a 7-7 finish in the League.

I think they’ll do it—the team is simply playing too well.

Harvard 72, Yale 69

PRINCETON AT CORNELL

This is it. For all the marbles. If Princeton beats Columbia, it will travel down the road to Ithaca, New York, with a chance to knock off the formerly unbeatable Cornell Big Red.

If it turns out to be a showdown for the title, what a game it will be.

Nonetheless, expect Cornell to crush—Louis Dale and Ryan Wittman won’t let the team win to a less-talented Princeton squad. It won’t happen. Do you believe in miracles? My answer: nope.

Cornell 76, Princeton 62

PENN AT COLUMBIA

Penn looks to finish respectfully after a midseason swoon. Columbia is picking up the pieces after an impressive start to the season. Look for the Lions to do well at home.

Columbia 66, Penn 61

DARTMOUTH AT BROWN

If you had told me in the beginning of the year that this game might mean something, I would have slapped you right in the face. Go ahead. Build a time machine. Tell me. Then see what happens. Superstar Alex Barnett looks to lead the Big Green to a trouncing of the lowly Brown Bears, with an outside shot at a share of the title on the line. Amazingly.

Dartmouth 75, Brown 63

Record to date: 9-7-0

—Staff writer Walter E. Howell can be reached at wehowell@fas.harvard.edu.

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