PRINCETON, N.J.--The game of basketball, for all its complex zone defenses, backdoor cuts and pick-and-rolls, has one beautifully simple axiom: to score, the ball must go through the net.
The Harvard men's basketball team learned this the hard way this weekend, losing to Ivy League-leading Penn, 79-52, Friday night and then dropping a 73-55 decision to Princeton the following evening. Both games were marked by intense Crimson defense for the first 10 minutes, combined with an anemic offense for the entire game.
Princeton 73, Harvard 55
Harvard (8-13, 3-5 Ivy) started out strong defensively, limiting the Tigers' motion attack. Both teams went early with the 3-point shot and it paid dividends. Captain Damian Long hit three early 3-pointers, but Princeton center Chris Young responded with the same feat--leading to an early 13-13 tie.
But while the Crimson was able to contain the Princeton offense for a short time, it couldn't take advantage of the situation on its own offense. The two-point shot was almost non-existent, and the layup proved to be quite a hindrance as well. For the game, Harvard had 11 offensive rebounds and scored zero points off those chances.
With the lack of an inside game, Harvard couldn't hold off Princeton (13-8, 5-1) forever. Young had 20 points in the first half alone and the Tigers found their shooting touch from guard Ahmed El-Nokali who added seven more. For the Crimson, junior forward Dan Clemente, junior center Tim Coleman and freshman guard Brady Merchant went a combined 2-for-20 from the floor and Harvard finished the half down 29-17. The Crimson had gone only 4-of-25 (16 percent) from inside the arc.
"We shot absolutely poorly on two-point shots," said Harvard Coach Frank Sullivan. "I think we had something like 11 offensive boards and they didn't amount to anything."
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