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Tigers Trounce M. Cagers

Crimson's Four-Game Road Winning Streak Stopped

By Michael Stankiewicz, Special to The Crimson

PRINCETON, N.J.--The Harvard men's basketball team, basking in the spotlight of its whirlwind Ivy League tour, found out Saturday that life on the road isn't all glory and fame.

Sporting a four-game road winning streak, the Crimson entered Jadwin Gym here determined to break Princeton's 22-game home winning streak and maintain its position at the top of the Ivy standings.

But the Tigers, behind a hounding defense that limited Harvard to only 14 shots in the first half and a sterling offense that shot 72 percent in the second half, claimed sole possession of first place with a 75-59 win in front of a standing room only crowd of 6184 people.

"We tried to downplay the game, make it not so emotional," Harvard Coach Peter Roby said. "We didn't want to play on emotion. We wanted to play on talent. Early on, we were a little too hyper. It's sort of expected, in front of 6000 people, playing for first place."

Cooly, calmly, the Tigers (13-2 overall, 4-0 Ivy) added to an eight-point halftime lead to take control of the race for their third-consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.

"Their tournament experience came through," Roby added. "They've played in big games quite a bit. That's what you saw. They were able to make some big shots."

Sophomore Sean Jackson made all the big shots, banging home four of six second-half three-point attempts to kill Harvard's relentless attempts at a comeback. All of Jackson's shots were open jumpers set up by the flawless execution of the Tigers' motion offense.

"A lot of teams in the Ivy League play combination defense [zone and man-to-man] against us," said Princeton forward Matt Eastwick, who scored 17 points after entering the game with a 2.8 points per game average. "We've played four or five games against that already and we're getting down pretty well what to do in certain situations."

When Harvard (7-10, 5-1) tried to force Princeton out of its half-court game by applying full-court pressure--a strategy that worked in the Crimson's six-point win over Princeton last March--center Kit Mueller broke the press with passes to wings Eastwick and Chris Mooney, who fed each other for numerous two-on-one fastbreak layups and slams.

"They were trying to get some cheap turnovers and we just executed on offense and got some nice dunks," said Mooney, a freshman who finished with eight points, six rebounds and six assists.

Harvard battled Princeton to an even 20-20 game during the first 17 minutes. The Tigers had averaged a one-point lead at halftime in its first three home games--all ended as blowouts.

And Saturday was no different.

This time, the visiting team crumbled just before the half. Junior forward Chris Marquardt popped a three-pointer from the top of the key to give the Tigers a 23-20 lead with two minutes remaining in the half. Jackson--who hounded Harvard's Tarik Campbell all game long--then forced Campbell to dribble into Princeton's George Leftwich. Leftwich stripped Campbell and was grabbed by the Harvard point guard, who was called for a questionable intentional foul. Leftwich's two foul shots were followed 40 seconds later by a Kit Mueller power move inside to give the Tigers a 27-20 lead. A Matt Henshon three-pointer closed out the 10-2 Tigers run.

"The key was that we turned the ball over 11 or 12 times in the first half. We gave them a cushion at the end of the half," Roby said

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