Princeton Outlasts Men's Basketball, 58-53, in Key Ivy Contest
PRINCETON, N.J.—After a layup by sophomore forward Steve Moundou-Missi brought the score to a tie for the first time on Friday night, the Harvard men’s basketball team had a chance to break its 24-year losing streak at Jadwin Gymnasium.
And after senior forward Ian Hummer and Moundou-Missi traded free throws, Moundou-Missi came down with a rebound and drew the foul on the other end, converting the three-point play and giving the Crimson its first lead of the night.
But the Tigers (16-9, 9-2 Ivy) would not go down without a fight, and fouls down the stretch doomed Harvard (17-9, 9-3) to another road loss, 58-53, tying the two teams in the defeat column.
“Our focus was to see if we could play well enough to come here and win, and we came close again,” Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said. “The big stat for me is just five assists for us as a team and the rebounding margin that they put up. It’s not a big mystery that we came up short after that.”
After junior forward Will Barrett went to the line and hit two with 2:30 left to play, freshman point guard Siyani Chambers—looking to find senior guard Christian Webster—threw the ball away on a long cross-court pass, and a Hummer put-back handed Princeton a one-point lead.
Following the next timeout, Chambers rolled in a reverse layup to put the Crimson up again, 53-52. After Hummer knocked down two more free throws—part of a 7-for-7 effort from the stripe on the night—the Moundou-Missi missed a layup on the other end and failed to convert off his offensive board, handing the ball back to the Tigers.
Harvard would not score again, as Moundou-Missi grabbed the ball after a Crimson miss but came down out of bounds in the ensuing scramble, resulting in a turnover. The Tigers added their final six points from the charity stripe.
Down by three with 2.7 seconds to play, sophomore forward Jonah Travis inbounded the ball as the Crimson looked to tie the game. But the pass was knocked away by Hummer into Tigers guard TJ Bray’s hands, and he was fouled by junior co-captain Laurent Rivard—his fifth of the night—and made two free throws, securing the Tigers’ win.
“Certainly a tough loss for us,” Amaker said. “Both teams really gave incredible effort.... We were not very good offensively or efficiently, making shots and doing what we normally do. That was because of how hard they play and how tough they played [Friday night].”
In the first half, Princeton jumped out to a quick lead after Harvard failed to score on its first four possessions, but sophomore Wesley Saunders put the Crimson on the board with a short jumper two minutes in.
The Tigers opened up an eight-point lead—their biggest of the half—after five minutes. Princeton relied on a strong half-court press to limit the Crimson to 28.6 percent shooting in the first half and finished the period up by six.
“All week in practice we just focused on closing out on the guys,” Bray said. “Rivard got fouled on two threes, but we did a good job in making sure nobody got a lead.”
Princeton continued its hot streak in the second half, going up by 10 when senior forward Mack Darrow hit the first three of the night after Hummer came down with an offensive board. Hummer led the Tigers with 23 points and 14 rebounds, including nine in the first half, and jumped into second place on Princeton’s all-time scoring list.
“It means nothing if we didn’t get the win,” Hummer said. “It’s icing on the cake. First and foremost, we are competing for an Ivy League playoff, and we came to win.”
Bray’s three—the only shot made from deep on the night—came halfway through the second period. The Crimson went 0-for-8 from behind the arc, with half of its shots coming from Webster.
Coming off the bench with 31 minutes of playing time, Moundou-Missi led Harvard with 15 points and eight rebounds. The sophomore relied on efficient shooting, going 7-for-7 from the line and 4-for-6 from the field.
Saunders added 11 points—but only four in the second half—and Chambers chipped in 10. The Crimson was out-rebounded, 37-24.
“I thought Saunders did a decent job,” Amaker said. “His shooting percentage was low, but we need other guys to step forward. Saunders and Chambers, they are our playmakers and the focus of the other team’s scouting report.”
—Staff writer Hope Schwartz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @HopeSchwartz16.