Over the past decade, Princeton's annual trips to Harvard have resulted in some of the wackiest basketball games you could design. Buzzer beaters. Titanic shifts in momentum. Improbable comebacks where each and every lead is painfully insecure until time runs out.
The stands on both sides of Lavietes Pavilion - thanks very much in part to the work of Bob Ruxin '76 and PANE - are almost always a crowded, spirited combination of Crimson and Tiger supporters. It doesn't matter how successful or how struggling either program is - This little gym is heavy on atmosphere and high on drama.
Saturday's game between Harvard and Princeton, regardless of how the former does versus Penn at home or how the latter performs against Dartmouth in Hanover on Friday night, will occur with the Ivy League's NCAA tournament participant yet to be decided.
I've been planning a chronological game-by-game review of the Tigers' last 10 trips to Allston since the fall and after the jump you'll find detailed write-ups on each (seven of which have not been published previously on the site) plus exclusive video of a pair of Princeton game-winners.
If you enjoy this 11,000+ word behemoth, you're bound to appreciate similar retrospectives on Princeton's last 11 season openers, a decade of dismay against Rutgers and the team's past four meetings with Duke.
February 10, 2001 - Princeton 67 Harvard 65
The Tigers had dropped a one point decision at Dartmouth on Friday in the front half of rookie head coach John Thompson III's first conference road weekend. Andre Logan missed a short jumper on the left baseline right before time expired versus the Big Green and Princeton was 4-1 in the Ivy League.
Harvard came in to Saturday's game off a sound 15 point beating of Penn - their largest margin of victory over the Quakers in 44 years - and many believed this Crimson team was Harvard's best chance to advance to the NCAA tournament for the first time. If they could knock off Princeton they'd have a half game lead in conference over the Tigers and the Quakers.
Princeton trailed in front of a packed house by counts of 54-43 and 60-51 but scored seven straight as Harvard missed four consecutive outside shots.
Princeton would take a late one point lead with 20 seconds to go on a Nate Walton jumper. Dan Clemente hit an arcing shot in the lane to send Harvard back up one with seven ticks left.
The Crimson were one stop away from becoming the first Ivy team to sweep a Penn/Princeton weekend in TWELVE YEARS.
The play in the Tiger huddle was designed for Ahmed El-Nokali, who took the inbounds pass but deferred under pressure to Kyle Wente on the left sideline. The sophomore guard was starting for Princeton primarily because the Tigers' leading scorer Mike Bechtold was out due to a foot injury.
Wente crossed over to his right and reached the three point line as time reached close to expiration. He was promptly double-teamed by Andrew Gellert and Patrick Harvey as he picked up his dribble.
Then this happened - the last of Wente's career high 22 points.
Harvard would lose their next four in a row.
Princeton would win the Ivy League.
January 11, 2002 - Princeton 50 Harvard 48
Leading 25-19 on a Kyle Wente free throw just after the start of the second half, Princeton saw Harvard go on a 16-3 run to build a 35-28 Crimson advantage. This run was sparked by two Elliott Prasse-Freeman three pointers.
Princeton responded with a 15-2 stretch of their own, starting with a Mike Bechtold three pointer and ending with a 43-37 Tiger lead on an Ed Persia three with 8:20 to go. Harvard called time out.
Coming off pause (and aided by some awful Princeton turnovers) Harvard chipped into the Princeton lead, getting as close as 45-43 on a Brady Merchant breakaway drunk (off a Wente pass right to a Harvard defender). Persia beat the shot clock for a layup through Harvard's matador defense (geared to protect against an three point attempt) to give Princeton a 47-43 lead.
With two minutes to go, Bechtold hit his third three pointer to provide Princeton a 50-45 advantage. On the next Harvard possession a Crimson shot rimmed out and Bechtold grabbed the rebound, but with :58 remaining, Ahmed El-Nokali turned the ball over by the Princeton bench and Merchant for Harvard hit a pull-up three pointer in transition to make the score 50-48.
Out of a Princeton time out, Wente was called for an rather questionable charging call with :20 to go, giving Harvard the ball and a chance at victory. Harvard called time, setting up a triple screen for Andrew Gellert to run through from one baseline to the other. Persia was able to get around these screens and defend the pass. Harvard rotated the ball counterclockwise around the perimeter but could not find a good look for the win as the clock ticked closer to zero. With three seconds left Harvard settled for a short, contested jumper by Sam Winter in the lane that Bechtold rebounded as the final buzzer sounded.
February 22, 2003 - Princeton 67 Harvard 66
There's not much you can do. It hardly matters what the score is in the first half. It doesn't make a difference how far ahead or behind either team is for most of regulation. You can throw away the first 39:50 when Princeton and Harvard meet at Lavieties Pavilion each of these past few years. Every game comes down to the final possession, no matter what events might unfold earlier in the night.
This evening's contest was no exception, as Princeton escaped with a 67-66 victory against Harvard on Saturday night. The Tigers nearly blew an 11 point lead over the game's final 5:30, only able to wipe the sweat off their brow when Elliott Prasse-Freeman's off-balance push shot missed the mark and was grabbed by Princeton center Konrad Wysocki with :00.4 on the clock.
The evening began well enough for the Tiger five. On the heels of their best shooting performance of the season against Dartmouth on Friday night, the orange and black came away with points on 10 of their first 12 possessions, repeatedly able to get their baskets in the paint, predominantly on backdoor cuts.
The Tigers' first ten baskets were all layups, six with assists. Judson Wallace. Ray Robins. Wallace. Will Venable (+1), Robins, Venable, Robins, Venable, Kyle Wente. Each player cutting hard, each player finishing in close.
Tied at eight in the early going, Princeton went on a 17-7 run capped off by the Tigers' first jump shot of the night, a three pointer by Ed Persia. Now down 25-15, Harvard Senior Brady Merchant went off, singlehandedly keeping the Crimson in the game. Merchant scored 11 straight points for Harvard, including three shots from far beyond the arc. Only Robins' layup off an assist from fellow senior Wente helped Princeton one point ahead of the Crimson. The third Merchant three brought Harvard within 27-26 at the 6:44 mark. On the defensive end, the Crimson switched out of a man-to-man defense into a zone that forced Princeton to alter their offensive patterns.
Two baskets by Wallace gave the Tigers some breathing room, and after the two teams traded buckets over the final five minutes of regulation, Princeton went into the break up 37-31. In the first half Princeton scored 28 of their 37 points in the paint. The Tigers were 16-27 from the field (59.3%) and Princeton outrebounded Harvard 16-10. Wallace and Robins each scored 11 points to pace the Tigers. Merchant led Harvard with 11, all during his one-man scoring spree.
Harvard scored first in the second half when Will Venable fouled Elliott Prasse-Freeman on his way to the basket and promptly made both free throws. The Tigers' first foul of the second stanza was also Venable's third of the game. The Tigers' lead extended to 10 points at the 12:38 mark after a Wente layup and a strong offensive rebound by Konrad Wysocki for a second basket.
Brian Cusworth's layup for Harvard brought the Crimson within eight. Frank Sullivan called time out to focus his players with 12:21 to go. Out of the break, a Ray Robins three pointer off an assist from Venable and a Robins layup off a second Venable assist gave the Tigers their biggest lead of the game at 52-39 with 11:28 to go. On the second of these plays Venable stole the ball at half court, drove past Prasse-Freeman, lost control of the ball in the near corner and regrouped just in time to feed Robins alone under the Tigers' basket. Robins laid the ball in and was fouled by Jason Norman. Robins missed the foul shot, the start of a distressing trend down the stretch for Princeton.
The Tiger lead fluctuated between nine and 13 points over the next two minutes. Three pointers by Venable and Wysocki helped keep the Crimson at bay. Even after Brady Merchant's three point attempt was blocked by Venable into the hands of Sam Winter who handed the ball right back to Merchant for a second attempt from beyond the arc that sailed true with 7:11 left to pull Harvard within eight. Persia promptly answered with a soft jumper from behind the arc at the other end to boost the Tigers' advantage back to 11.
The Tigers lead 63-52 with 5:31 to go when Wysocki scored and was fouled by Cusworth, the Harvard center's fifth and disqualifying foul. Wysocki missed the free throw and was unable to complete the three point play. A Jason Norman layup brought Harvard within nine. After Persia missed a three pointer for the Tigers, Cusworth's short jump shot got lodged between the rim and the glass, giving the Tigers possession. Sam Winter's free throw at the 4:29 mark drew Harvard within eight. After Wallace missed the front end of a one-and-one, Winter tossed in a three pointer for Harvard to make the score 63-58 Princeton at the 3:13 mark.
Concerned with what he was watching, John Thompson III called time out. After a Robins turnover gave the Crimson the ball back, A three point attempt by Prasse-Freeman was rebounded by Harvard's Jason Norman, who drove under the basket for a nifty reverse layup to make the score 63-60.
On Princeton's next possession Robins drove baseline past his man for a lay-in that quieted the outnumbered group of Harvard fans who had been brought to their feet by Harvard's comeback. On the heels of another Prasse-Freeman turnover, stolen by Wente, Wallace came up short on a hook shot in the paint. Merchant canned his fifth three pointer of the game to make the score 65-63 with 51 seconds to go. The Crimson called time out.
With time running out and the crowd roaring , Ray Robins pull-up jumper from just behind the free throw line put Princeton back up four. Unfettered, Brady Merchant's sixth three pointer brought Harvard within a single point. The Crimson called another time out to set up for the game's final 15 seconds. After the Tigers inbounded the ball, Jason Norman fouled Venable. Venable missed the front end of his one-and-one opportunity, making the Tigers an embarrassing 0-5 from the free throw line in the second half. Harvard called time out with nine seconds on the clock to set up their final play.
Princeton countered with the substitution of Wysocki for Robins. Merchant received the ball on the inbound and was promptly greeted by a trap at the top of the arc. Merchant fed the ball to Prasse-Freeman, who was wide left on his chance to win the game. Wysocki grabbed the rebound and was fouled with less than a second left. Wysocki missed his free throw attempt, but Harvard's final heave from over eighty feet away fell short and additionally came after the final buzzer had sounded.
Ray Robins was Princeton's high man with 22 points. Robins has picked a heck of a time to playing the best basketball of his collegiate career. Will Venable added 14. Jusdon Wallace had 11 points and nine rebounds. Brady Merchant scored 22 for Harvard and Brian Cusworth added 13 off the bench. The Tigers shot 29-52 from the field (55.8%), but 3-10 shooting from the charity stripe nearly ruined their evening, not to mention the rest of their season.
March 5, 2004 - Princeton 60 Harvard 51
10-1 Princeton came into this game needing wins at Harvard and Dartmouth to clinch the Ivy League. Dropping either combined with a Penn sweep would mean the Tigers had to go to the Palestra and beat the Quakers for the Ivy crown. Princeton senior Ed Persia was out with a leg injury for the third straight game. By comparative standards, this game was a blowout.
Despite recent history, it wasn't supposed to be this way. Princeton's annual trip to Lavietes Pavilion was falling apart all around them.
The offense wasn't working. There was disarray on the Princeton end of the court. With the game in the balance and 16 seconds on the shot clock, the Tigers called time out.
Like so many times before in this Ivy season, Princeton excelled under pressure.
Judson Wallace took the ball at the top of the key with his back to the basket. He turned, spun towards the paint and drove. With a Harvard defender blocking his path, the pass came out to Andre Logan on the right side of the wing. Two Crimson defenders swarmed to Logan, who passed the ball laterally to his right side, into the hands of Scott Greenman. Greenman, just 1-7 from three point range on the night, rose up from behind the corner of the arc. His shot found nothing but the bottom of the net, giving Princeton a 54-51 advantage with 1:24 left to play.
When the horn sounded less than two minutes later, Princeton had finished the game on 13-1 run to clinch a share of the 2003-2004 Ivy League title and move one win away from locking up a birth in the NCAA tournament.
Wallace led all scorers with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Greenman added 14 for the victorious Tigers. Will Venable scored 12 points in 39 minutes, despite being hindered by last weekend's lower back strain. Kevin Rogus led Harvard with 15 points on 5-12 shooting from three point range.
With the way the game began, it looked like Princeton was going to run Harvard out of the building. The Tigers scored the game's first 10 points as they got out in transition and beat the Crimson down court for numerous layups. Greenman went glass off an inbounds play to open the scoring. Max Schafer's baseball pass floated over the Harvard defense into the hands of Wallace to double the score. Logan blocked Matt Stehle's mid-range jump shot and drove the length of the court ahead of the pack for another layup.
After a Greenman steal, Logan tipped in an errant Venable drive. Harvard called time out. Greenman stole the ball again out of the break and missed on a drive of his own, but Wallace was there for another timely follow.
Harvard found the scoring column at the 14:37 mark when David Giovacchini put back a Rogus miss. The two teams traded field goals over the next four minutes, but Harrison Schaen's one-handed slam after a Venable steal made the score 16-5 Princeton. Harvard took another time out.
Despite the lead, Princeton was having trouble running their offensive formations - but their stingy defense was leading to points in transition. Harvard did an excellent job of fronting Judson Wallace and kept the Tigers from running their sets through the center position.
The Tigers led 21-9 when Schaen made both free throws after being fouled hard trying to drive baseline and sky for a dunk. Princeton had a chance to extend their growing advantage, but a beautiful backdoor bounce pass into Logan's hands rattled in and out of the cylinder after Logan went up for a nifty reverse layup. Rogus' three point shot at the other end of the court made it a five point swing and brought the Crimson back within nine.
Every time Princeton looked sure to open the lead up into deep double figures, Harvard would convert a timely shot. Luke McCrone's three pointer with just under a minute remaining made the score 26-20 Tigers. Logan's three point shot right before the half time buzzer rolled twice around the rim before flying free.
Harvard was limited to 6-29 shooting in the first half (20.7%). The Tigers came in at 11-26 (42.3%). Both teams made two three point shots. Princeton took nine attempts, Harvard 11. Schaen led all scorers with seven points off the bench.
The second half began like the game had started. Princeton came out executing. After a Rogus turnover, Logan rifled a pass down low to Wallace for a lay-in. Rogus turned the ball over a second time, and Wallace made both free throws after drawing a foul in the paint. Rogus, doing his best Brady Merchant impersonation, began to heat up, and the Crimson slowly made a run over the next six minutes. Rogus' first deep jumper made the score 36-31 Tigers. A Graham Beatty free throw cut Princeton's lead to four. Rogus hit consecutive three point shots from the far corner with Venable draped all over him, giving Harvard their first lead of the night, 40-38 at the 13:25
Venable answered Rogus' spurt with a three point tourniquet to give Princeton a short-lived lead. Beatty took the lead back for the Crimson with his tip follow a Jason Norman miss. A McCrone jump shot made the score 44-41 Harvard.
Edwin Buffmire got the call of the bench for the Tigers coming out of the media time out, showing poise in a difficult situation. Princeton ran off the next six points of the game to take back the lead. Wallace followed his own miss for two. Luke Owings leaned in for a short jumper in the paint, and Wallace scored down low a second time to finish the spurt.
Rogus' fifth three point shot of the night put the Crimson back up 49-47 with 5:53 to go. Beatty added a free throw to give Harvard a three point lead. Princeton called time out.
Logan's drive got Princeton back within one. The Tigers blew a chance to pull closer when Scott Greenman grabbed a Norman miss and was fouled down low. Greenman missed the front end of the one-and-one. Logan drew a blocking foul driving the lane the next time Princeton had the ball. Despite passing to the corner on his drive, Logan was inexplicably awarded two free throws on the play, but the Tiger forward rendered the issue moot by making both chances. Princeton led 51-50.
Schaen's third block forced a jump ball, with the arrow favoring the Crimson. Harvard got points out of the possession when Giovacchini made one of two free throws after a foul was called on Greenman. This set the stage for Greenman's three point shot that put Princeton ahead for good. Stehle tried to answer Greenman's basket, but could not connect. Wallace grabbed the rebound and was fouled by Giovacchini. Wallace netted both free throws to put Princeton up by five. Norman's drive failed, and Venable came up with the rebound. After a mad scramble resulted in turnovers for both teams, Greenman tracked down a McCrone miss and was fouled. Greenman atoned for his earlier miss with two perfect free throws to make it a three score game. Rogus' final shot from behind the arc failed and two Schaen free throws finished the scoring.
Princeton shot 50% in the second half (11-22) to finish the night 22-48 (45.8%). The Tigers won the game at the free throw line, going 12-14 to Harvard's 13-24. Harvard shot 29.6% on the night (16-54). The rebounding battle went to Princeton by the count of 38-34, but just like at Jadwin in February, Harvard grabbed an obscene number of offensive rebounds on the night (16).
The Crimson had one field goal over the game's final 12 minutes.
Exhale. Dry your palms. Try to make eye contact with someone as exhausted as you are. The Tigers are one game away from completing their mission.
Princeton would defeat both Dartmouth (64-59 in Dave Faucher's last game as coach of the Big Green) and Penn (76-70 in overtime) to finish John Thompson III's fourth and final season at head coach of the Tigers 13-1 in Ivy play.
February 5, 2005 - Harvard 61 Princeton 57
The way Joe Scott sees it, the difference between winning and losing on the road is as thin as the piece of paper that contains the final box score. Scott stood outside the Princeton locker room with the stat sheet in his hand after Saturday night's 61-57 loss to Harvard, telling the media that the little things are what make the difference between the letter W and the letter L. Loose balls. Rebounds. Free throws. Finishing under duress.
For the second consecutive evening, it was the home team that did the little things during 'winning time.' The Crimson sent Princeton back to Mercer County winless on the New England road weekend for the first time in 21 years. The Tigers now stand at 1-3 in Ivy play, staring up at the rest of the league.
Judson Wallace, bad back and all, led all scorers with 23 points. Kevin Rogus, he of five made three point baskets in 12 attempts, was high man for the victorious Crimson with 17.
The two teams traded baskets for the first half of the opening frame. Wallace scored the first seven points of the game for the Tigers, a three point shot sandwiched around a putback and a layup. Scott Greenman's first of four three point baskets would put the Tigers ahead 12-7 at the 11:40 mark. After a Jason Beal layup for Harvard, Greenman blew up a Harvard two-on-one single-handed, stealing the ball from Beal with quick hands, saving it on the baseline and hitting Venable on the outlet who then threw a bounce pass on the left side to a cutting Max Schafer for a layup.
Logan scored and was fouled after a Noah Savage steal, but could not convert Princeton's first free throw of the night. The Tigers led 16-12 at the 8:54 mark. Princeton would turn the ball over on each of their following four possessions, Harvard running off 13 of the game's next 15 points to go up 25-18 on a jump shot by Giovacchini.
Rogus and Greenman would trade three point shots and a Venable free throw capped the first half scoring with the Tigers down 28-22.
Fresh out of the break, Stehle drew a third foul on Luke Owings, making one of two chances at the line. The Tigers would respond with a 7-0 run to tie the score. Wallace took the ball down low, hesitated and hit Savage on the perimeter for a quick three. Owings found Wallace in the paint for a layup. Owings went back to Wallace the next time Princeton had the ball and it was 29-29.
Greenman and Rogus traded long distance jumpers a second time. Venable drove for two but Rogus launched a fifth jumper from behind the arc to make the score 36-34 Crimson. It was Venable creating to get the lead back for the Tigers, driving to the paint and dishing to Logan in the corner, a reversal of a play that worked against Dartmouth the night previous.
Harvard went up 40-37 on a Beal baseline jumper with 9:50 to play. Wallace tried to tie the score from the top of the arc but was long. The senior center attempted the same shot with a softer touch on the next Princeton possession, going front rim, backboard and in.
The evening was set up for a typical Princeton/Harvard finish at Lavietes Pavillion. Back and forth the two teams went. To the delight of the several hundred Princeton fans in attendance, Wallace swatted a Goffredo three point attempt into the sixth row of the Harvard student section. Cusworth scored for Harvard to make the score 42-40. Wallace would be fouled and two free throws later the score was tied for the eighth time. Goffredo scored on a difficult baseline jumper to break the deadlock.
Venable continued to attack the basket, providing outside opportunities. This time the beneficiary was Schafer. His three point shot put Princeton back up one. Venable found Greenman on Princeton's subsequent chance down the court and the junior guard was good from behind the arc in front of the Tiger bench, a shot reminiscent of his tiebreaking jump shot last year in the same gym. The Tigers led 48-44 with 5:40 remaining.
The Tigers has stayed even with Harvard on the boards for the game's first 30 minutes, but down the stretch key offensive rebounds for the Crimson made the difference. Giovaccini was fouled by Schafer with Princeton over the first limit. The free throw was no good, but Brian Cusworth grabbed the offensive rebound. Cusworth was fouled under the basket by Logan, making one of two. Logan had a chance to pad Princeton's lead but his one-and-one opportunity was off the mark. The Tigers would miss two of these chances in the second half. Rogus scored in transition to bring Harvard back within one.
Giovacchini would get his hands on a missed Rogus three, but Greenman slapped the ball away for a steal. Wallace rattled a three out and Harvard took back the lead at the 3:23 mark on two Cusworth free throws.
Greenman drove baseline and was fouled by Giovacchini. Greenman was short on both his attempts at the line and would finish the night an eyebrow-raising 0-3 at the line. A third Logan foul in two minutes of play sent Giovacchini back at the line. Giovacchini's first shot was off the mark but the second found the net. Princeton called time out down 50-48 with 2:33 remaining in regulation.
The Tigers spread the court, Wallace taking the ball at the high block and spinning off his man for a sweet reverse layup to tie the score for the tenth time. Giovacchini missed in close but an unbodied Cusworth was there to tip the errant shot home with his left hand.
With under two minutes to go Venable drove strong to the basket, getting his man in the air. The ball went off glass and through the hoop as the referee whistled an offensive foul on Venable, sending the comparatively restrained Coach Scott apoplectic. While Venable's defender had gone straight up into the air, Venable had initiated contact. It was a call that is rarely made, but the sort of call that has gone against Princeton down the stretch of close games this year.
Up two, Giovaccini tracked down his own missed jumper on the baseline, passing to Cusworth under the hoop for a point blank lay-in.
Venable's four free throws in the final minute were offset by three Harvard conversions. The Tigers would be down 57-54 with :22 on the clock when Venable drove again, trying to pull up at the last second from two feet away for a two foot jumper. The shot was short, rebounded by Cusworth. Harvard would convert four more times at the line, the last two shots by Matt Stehle icing the game after a long Wallace three pointer gave Princeton a brief glimmer of hope with six seconds remaining.
Princeton would finish the night an uncharacteristic 7-13 from the free throw line, marring otherwise pretty offensive statistics. The Tigers were 20-38 from the field (52.6%) and 10-21 from the arc (47.6%). The other telling statistics were the final rebounding numbers. Both teams grabbed 12 rebounds apiece in the first half and were even three quarters of the way home. Harvard would finish the evening with a 29-17 advantage on the glass. The Crimson were 19-27 from the line (70.4%) and 18-38 on the floor (46.2%).
Coach Scott called his squad "snakebit" after the game on Saturday. Princeton played well more often than it did not this weekend, but found a way to lose on both occasions. The differences between last year's victories and this year's disappointments now remain as thin as the Tigers' dwindling title chances.
February 10, 2006 - Princeton 60 Harvard 59
Another evening at Lavietes Pavilion, another improbable buzzer beater for the Princeton Tigers.
This year's trip to Harvard saw Noah Savage arc in a fourteen foot baseline jump shot with less than a second remaining to give the resurgent Tigers a 60-59 victory over the stunned Crimson. Princeton came back from six points down in the game's final minute of play.
Kyle Koncz was Princeton's high man with a career-high 20 points. After needing almost four years following Mike Bechtold's performance versus Louisville in the NIT to have another Tiger hit six three point shots in a game, Koncz became the second Princeton player in as many games to reach this mark. Scott Greenman and Noah Savage each contributed 10 points. For Harvard, big man Brian Cusworth tallied 20 while Matt Stehle had 13 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks.
The story of the night was Princeton's perimeter defense against the Crimson. Expert marksman Jim Goffredo came into Friday night the leading scorer in Ivy League play. Goffredo finished 1-9 from the field, 0-5 from three point range versus Princeton. Three of Goffredo's three point attempts were blocked by Tiger defenders. Harvard ended up 0-7 from outside the arc.
Two minutes of play elapsed before either team scored, Greenman driving to the tin after a Luke Owings steal. Cusworth banked home a shot inside for Harvard, unable to complete a three point play after being fouled by the smaller Justin Conway. Fouls played a problem for Princeton in the first half. Greenman would pick up three personal fouls in the first 8:51 of regulation and was relegated to the bench, replaced by Kevin Steuerer. Foul trouble also limited Conway's minutes to three. The Tigers were over the first limit with 11:48 remaining.
Princeton ran off the game's next eight points to go up 10-2 early. Owings faked a three, took one dribble and connected on a long jump shot. Koncz banged a three and Savage added one of his own from the top of the arc.
Harvard inched closer at the free throw line. After a dunk from Cusworth and a Stehle layup made the score 10-6, the Crimson went the next seven minutes without a field goal. Harvard was 7-8 from the charity stripe in this stretch.
Princeton built a 10-8 lead into a 20-11 advantage with a second run. Koncz buried a quick three from the far corner. Koncz drove baseline and scored while being fouled by Cusworth. A lefty floater by Owings increased the lead to six and a great swing pass by Steuerer around the perimeter to Koncz in the corner bookended this stretch of action.
The Crimson ran off the next six points, finishing their spurt when Drew Housman drove for a layup at the 6:26 mark, then stripped Steuerer as he brought the ball up court, coasting in for his second basket in 14 seconds.
Koncz's fourth three of the half made the difference 23-17 and when Michael Strittmatter drove, pump faked and placed the ball in high off the glass over Cusworth the Tigers were back up by eight.
With Princeton leading by four and time running out in the first half Drew Housman found himself double-teamed just inside the arc without a dribble left to use. Housman pivoted and looked for an open teammate as the clock ran down, then tossed a prayer up between two Tigers that was answered in the exact same way Kyle Wente's shot went down at the end of the two teams' 2001 meeting. Harvard trailed 27-25 at the break.
Koncz had 14 in the first half. Cusworth matched him with 10 to lead Harvard.
It was Harvard's ball first after intermission. Coach Scott took a gamble and sent Scott Greenman out to start the second half, even though the Tiger captain was nursing three personal fouls.
Cusworth tied the game inside to even the score for the first time since tipoff. A Savage three set up by a Greenman drive put the Tigers back in front. Savage turned the ball over on Princeton's next possession, but Conway sprinted full-bore to protect the basket, standing right in the way of an oncoming Michael Beale for an offensive foul that would have been an easy two if it were not for Conway's hustle.
A slashing layup by Beale gave the Crimson their first lead with 17:04 left to play and the lead would extend to seven after a 10-0 Harvard run came to a close on a breakaway dunk by Beale coming from Luke Owings' blind side to steal the ball away in the high post.
Greenman ducked inside and stepped outside for a three to briefly offset the Crimson momentum. Two Goffredo free throws answered for Harvard. Princeton scored the game's next seven points to take back the lead, capped off by a Koncz three at the top of the key. Harvard called time out. There was 10:29 to play.
The pendulum swung back Harvard's way. Beale drove and was fouled by Savage. The free throw was good. Housman contributed a scoop shot and was fouled by Buffmire. Again the free throw was good. After Cusworth's 18 footer at the top of the arc, the Tigers were again down seven.
Greenman got stuck among the trees inside but was able to find Owings in front of the Princeton bench for three. Princeton moved within four. The Tigers trailed 48-43 with 5:43 on the clock. Things looked bleak as Beale drove and scored, fouling out Owings in the process.
Harvard's lead was their largest of the night.
Here's how the final two minutes played out:
-Kyle Koncz got lost on a switch and Cusworth dunked with two hands to make the score 57-51.
-Noah Savage was fouled away from the ball and made both free throws of his one-and-one opportunity. 57-53.
-Cusworth got matched up against Greenman on the baseline and was fouled, Greenman's fourth of the game. Cusworth made both free throws. 59-53.
-Strittmatter pump-faked outside, took a dribble and missed a jumper at the free throw line. Buffmire snagged the offensive rebound and laid the ball back in. 59-55.
-The Tigers pressed Harvard, leading to a dangerous pass over halfcourt in the direction of Brian Cusworth. Savage was able to make a play on the ball like a defensive back, knocking the ball into Koncz's hands. Princeton took over with 47 seconds remaining, working the ball up to Greenman at the top of the arc behind a Conway screen for a three. 59-58. Princeton called time.
-Harvard faced pressure in the backcourt a second time and this time it was Justin Conway who got the deflection, tipped up into the air and into the arms of Buffmire. With under ten seconds to play Conway had the ball at the top of the key. Conway passed to Greenman on his left side who dribbled around the arc to the right, looking for the open man. All this while Savage drifted down to the baseline as he waited for a screen that never came. Greenman drew two defenders and fed Savage on the baseline who turned and fired as time was about to expire. 60-59. Time stopped with :00.2 on the clock.
-Harrison Schaen came off the bench to guard the inbounds pass, which was deflected at the Crimson three point line by a leaping Conway as time ran out and a bunch of kids wearing black jerseys with orange lettering jumped around in joy.
For Princeton/Harvard up Boston way, would you have expected anything else?
For a guy playing in front of his noctogenerian great-grandmother, making his first buzzer-beater since he was a Sophomore in high school, could you ask for a better ending?
February 24, 2007 - Harvard 50 Princeton 43
An impressive defense performance in the first half was wasted by the Princeton Tigers on Saturday up at Harvard. After limiting the Crimson to 12 points in the first 20 minutes and not allowing a field goal over the final 16:49 before intermission, Princeton saw Harvard go on a game-changing 19-4 run to open the second frame.
What had been a 21-12 Tiger lead suddenly flipped into a 31-25 hole.
Drew Housman scored 11 points in the first eight minutes after the break after going without a basket in the first half.
Princeton was down just 36-33 at the 3:55 mark and had the ball back after Harvard was called for a five second violation trying to inbound. Luke Owings' three point shot at the top of the arc tantalized before curling around the rim and away. Two Housman free throws at the other end of the gym moved the lead up to five and Princeton would get no closer.
The Crimson would pull away in the final three minutes for a 50-43 victory.
Another one possession game late. Another loss for the Princeton Tigers.
Drew Housman had 20 to pace Harvard, 17 in the second half.
Marcus Schroeder offered 10 points, three rebounds, three assists and no turnovers in 40 minutes for the Tigers. Justin Conway's nine points and eight rebounds were not enough for the orange and black.
Tied at seven after an offensive possession that saw Princeton go inside to Justin Conway, out to Lincoln Gunn and across to Schroeder for three, the Tigers ran off eight of nine to go up 15-8. A Luke Owings triple put the Tigers in front. Kyle Koncz matched the effort with a three of his own. Brian Darcy split Koncz and Owings on defense and could manage just one of two free throws after a foul was called. Schroeder's pull-up jumper on a nice weave curl playing with Owings took the lead up to seven at the 7:56 mark.
Neither team would score over the next 4:30, Princeton missing several chances to extend their advantage. There was Conway driving strong only to see his shot clink slightly off the rim. There was a dead-on three point shot from Michael Strittmatter that came up short of the rim into the hands of a wide-open Kevin Steuerer. Steuerer was no Lorenzo Charles, missing everything but the backboard as he unnecessarily hurried a reverse layup. Steuerer had a chance to redeem seconds later, however his clean drive into the lane ended with the ball bouncing too hard off the iron.
Evan Harris ended the silence with two free throws at the 5:54 mark. Princeton pushed the lead up to 11 when Conway banked one home inside but the Tigers went into the locker room up nine when they could easily have claimed an advantage that would have left Harvard feeling like they were more than just one quick run away from getting back in the action.
Coming back on the court Zach Finley missed three times inside trying to get the ball home in traffic. Finley would finally swoop for a hook next time Princeton came down the court and the Tigers were up 23-12 with 18:37 to go.
This is when Housman began to heat up for Harvard. On a variety of drives from all directions Housman started to get close to the basket in a manner he was unable to in the first 20. Housman tied the score at 23 with 13:48 to go after stealing the ball from Owings and racing ahead for a layup, the official claiming Kyle Koncz pushed him from behind on the drive.
Housman gave the Crimson a lead they would not relinquish a minute later, an Evan Harris steal leading to another Housman lay-in. It was 11 straight for Housman in a seven minute stretch that ended with the Tigers trailing by four.
-For the second time in Ivy League play Princeton fell in a game where they did not allow a three point shot. Harvard was 0-7 from outside.
-Princeton attempted 12 more field goals than the Crimson.
February 22, 2008 - Harvard 74 Princeton 67 (OT)
Sydney Johnson's first season as head coach of the Tigers and Tommy Amaker's first season as coach of the Crimson. Also the only time Harvard has bested Princeton with Johnson at the helm. There was also a significant snowstorm in New England the night before and morning of the game, limiting attendance to just over 1,000 as many could not make it to the gym.
It happened again.
Harvard scored the final eight points of regulation to force an unexpected overtime and then ran off the first seven points of the extra frame to send a shocked Princeton team packing. The Crimson, who had seen a five point lead slip away in the final 30 seconds last Friday against Cornell, flipped a familiar script on the Tigers one week later with 2:30 to go, rallying for a 74-67 win.
It was the Tigers’ 18th consecutive road defeat.
Using a variety of back-cuts, Princeton had slowly constructed a 53-41 lead that reached its peak on two free throws by Zach Finley with 7:27 left to play. The Tigers were in front 61-53 on two free throws by Noah Savage with 2:29 on the clock.
Second chance opportunities were Harvard’s primary offensive weapon at the end of regulation.
After a Marcus Schroeder drive rolled right off the rim with Princeton up six, Dan McGreary’s penetration was errant at the other end of the gym. The rebound deflected into the hands of Harvard’s Evan Harris who cut the lead to four.
A touchdown pass by Lincoln Gunn was intercepted just beyond mid-court by Harris. McGeary tried to connect a third time from outside the arc, but he was off target. Jeremy Lin tracked down the rebound on the baseline, keeping the Harvard possession alive. Drew Housman’s jumper did not go down but Kyle Fitzgerald laid the third try home.
Princeton called time out with :49.5 on the clock, leading 61-59. Senior Kyle Koncz attempted to muscle his way to the basket but could not get the ball up over Kyle Fitzgerald and off the backboard as he drove baseline.
Harvard stopped play as 17 ticks remained. Lin, who scored a team-best 20 points to lead four Crimson players in double figures, went to his right on Marcus Schroeder and tied the score for the first time since the 17:12 mark.
With time running out, Koncz got a running start into the lane, attacking from the top of the arc. His one-handed push bounced off the rim but Steuerer squeezed free for a tip that glanced short off the rim. Steuerer had time to ready himself and grab a second putback that could have won the game, but the ball bounced in-and-out as the buzzer expired.
Princeton was going to overtime for the second straight night after letting a second straight double digit lead with less than eight minutes to go evaporate.
The bonus basketball began with Harvard winning the jump ball, then finding Lin in the lane for two. Koncz had a three point attempt that floated wide right for Princeton and the Tigers missed two chances to get the ball back. Lin’s free throw jumper bounced off the rim. The rebound came to Housman, who also could not score. Brad Unger grabbed the second offensive board and the ball was rotated by Unger to McGeary behind a deep screen and his three point shot took Harvard’s lead up to five.
Gunn was whistled for traveling as he headed from the left wing into the paint, a call that left the Princeton coaching staff speechless. 30 seconds later Kyle Fitzgerald tipped in a Housman drive and Harvard had scored 15 straight. Of Harvard’s 13 offensive rebounds, seven came in the final two minutes of the second half and overtime.
“Some people were [just] watching [on defense],” a stunned Noah Savage – who paced Princeton with 22 points on 5-8 shooting and a perfect mark in 11 free throw attempts – said following the game as he searched for a reason why Harvard was so successful on the glass late. “I’m sure if you watch the tape, I was watching one or two of those possessions. It was one of those games where if you just squeeze the ball and grab a loose ball and the game is over.”
Six free throws by Savage kept Princeton within two possessions, and the Tigers had a slight window of opportunity with 20 seconds remaining after Housman missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity up 72-67. As Princeton looked for a good shot, a pass by Marcus Schroeder intended for the wing from the top of the key was grabbed with two hands by the defending McGeary. Schroeder fouled McGeary and his two free throws effectively ended the ballgame.
“We’re pretty distraught, just because we’re not able to do the small things to close a game out,” a disappointed Sydney Johnson remarked outside the Princeton locker room. “It’s really hard for us. At the point that we need it, we’re just not there.”
“What can you ask for?,” the contemplative senior Savage stated following another tough defeat.
“You’re up every game.”
“You’re up at halftime.”
“You’re up with nine minutes left to go.”
“You’re up 10.”
“As a player you can’t ask for anything more than what these coaches are doing for us. Right now it is on the players to play and make plays.”
“They made more plays than we did.”
January 31, 2009 - Princeton 77 Harvard 71
The back half of the first conference road sweep for Princeton's junior class.
Marcus Schroeder and Dan Mavraides spend extra time as a pair after almost every Princeton practice shooting together. One fires up jumpers. The other rebounds and passes back out. The two have developed a chemistry in front of 7,000 empty seats at Jadwin Gym.
In the late stages of Saturday night's Ivy League game at Harvard, in front of a packed Lavietes Pavilion, things were as simple under pressure as they are between two teammates putting in additional work on their three point shots with no one watching.
"[Marcus] always knows where I am," said Mavraides. "He's a great point guard. He's always able to get in there, draw my man and kick it out to me. He's the best at that."
Two times in the final four minutes of an exciting, well-played basketball game between Princeton and Harvard, where neither team led by more than six points throughout, Schroeder drove to the basket, attracted the attention of the defense and knew where he could find his shooting partner outside the arc. Two times Mavraides set his feet, squared his shoulders and knocked down the open jumper.
Both shots gave Princeton a six point advantage and combined with perfect 8-8 shooting at the free throw line down the stretch, were enough to overcome an incredible 27 point performance by junior Crimson guard Jeremy Lin as the Tigers improved to 2-0 in Ivy League play.
Mavraides finished the 77-71 victory with a career high 22 on 6-8 shooting.
Schroeder dished out a season-best six assists. Princeton had a season high of 18 assists compared to just six turnovers, four of which came in the first half.
"He's been good," understated Tiger head man Sydney Johnson said of his junior point guard. "Seeing guys with character on our team responding, it is really nice. His parents, his high school coach, Coach Scott, they've all prepared him for a moment like this and I'm really happy for him."
Mavraides and Schroeder were just part of the story of how Princeton stayed close to Harvard despite struggling defensively in the first half and then matched Lin basket for basket in the second half to improve to 2-0 in conference play for the second straight season.
A big part of why Princeton won were the contributions of two freshmen. Douglas Davis' 19 points were no surprise, even though Davis admitted after the weekend was over that he had been nervous preceding his initial foray into Ivy action. The road trip was the best basketball Patrick Saunders has played since first donning the orange and black. Saunders seems to know where he can find his openings as a forward in the offense, either stepping outside for jump shots, driving to set up teammates, posting when necessary or sliding to the right spot inside to lay home feeds.
Mavraides was quick to praise Saunders' development. "Pat's playing with more confidence now," Mavriades said. "He's going into his moves just like he does in practice, knocking down big shots, grabbing big rebounds.
"I have a lot of trust in Pat, knowing that when it gets crucial Pat is going to come through for you," added Davis about his classmate. "I am always going to keep faith in Pat throughout the rest of our time here at Princeton."
In the first half, Princeton was unable to stop Harvard from penetrating to the basket. Help defense was late or nonexistent. Guards flew to the rim. But because the Tigers were able to execute at their side of the gym, the score was even at 32 halfway home.
"It didn't feel like we played well in the first half but we looked up at the scoreboard and we were tied going into the locker room," Saunders said. "It is a good feeling to know that we didn't do what we needed to do on defense but we were still in the game."
While Princeton was struggling defensively, their offense never let the game get out of hand. Harvard's lead reached six on just one occasion (23-17 on a Lin free throw with 7:09 to go) but the Tigers would consistently creep within one possession before Harvard took their lead back up to five.
"I think we're a little bit better when we're getting down," Johnson observed. "We're a little less squeamish. We're believing in ourselves a little bit more and that confidence is really helping us."
"That was very important, especially in an away game in the Ivy League," Mavraides added. "We didn't let them run away with it, we never let them push it to 10. I think it starts on the defensive end. This year all the coaches have been pushing for us to play with intensity on the defensive end - getting stops and we know we can run our offense anytime we want."
Six of the first seven fouls of the game were called on Princeton, a fact that Johnson made sure the officiating crew was aware of. Johnson held six fingers up to the referee and then held up one finger while repeatedly mouthing "six to one! six to one!" The Tigers' centers, Pawel Buczak and Zach Finley, each got in foul trouble. Buczak picked up his second personal with just over seven minutes to go and Finley drew his third with two minutes to play before the half but Johnson had no third option to bring off the bench to spell Finley.
"It was choppy, at least on our end [because of the whistles]," said Johnson. "Maybe [Harvard] felt like they were able to get in a flow offensively and defensively, but we weren't because of how the game was being called."
Things came easier on offense in the second half, starting with Princeton's first possession. Davis was able spring open at the top of the key and make the most of a Kareem Maddox pass, connecting to give the Tigers their first lead of the night.
Drew Housman and Buczak traded layups before Andrew Pusar tracked down a missed three from Peter Boehm and passed back to Boehm in stride as Boehm got back up the court to tie the score at 37.
Pusar put Harvard back up one with a free throw after he was swiped by Buczak on his way to the basket and scored. The foul was Buczak's third and Finley replaced him on the floor.
At the other end of the gym, Finley was overplayed well beyond the top of the arc by Harvard forward Keith Wright. With the shot clock into single digits Finley went right by Wright to his left and saw an uninterrupted path to the basket. With no one to stop him, Finley skied in the paint to the rim and surprised the crowd by throwing the ball down with one hand.
Jeremy Lin, who was averaging 17.8 points per game heading into Harvard's meeting with Princeton, made five straight jump shots of increasing degrees of difficulty. Down one with 13:37 to go, Lin connected and immediately after Davis could not do the same on a quick answer, Lin faked a three and canned a long two off the dribble.
Following a Davis drive that created a Saunders spin and score, Lin drove on Davis and drew a whistle, converting both free throws.
Schroder somehow found Saunders hanging out alone under the hoop for two and Princeton trailed 46-45 with 12:07 to go.
Lin disregarded the tough defense Schroeder was playing on him and banked one home to make it a three point game again.
Mavriades popped from in front of the Princeton bench to tie the score, but was beaten by Lin on another jumper seconds later.
When his one man run was over, Lin had scored Harvard's first 14 points out of the locker room, two of his free throws making the score 54-52 Crimson and giving Buczak four personal fouls.
"We've got to do a little bit better job of understanding that [players like Lin and Alex Barnett] are trying to take the game over and make somebody else beat us," said Johnson as he reflected on Lin's impressive night. "I don't think we did a great job of that so hopefully we can learn from it and it will help us for later on down the road."
Saunders tied the game for the seventh time with a deep jump hook on the left baseline.
A whistle on Finley battling with Wright in the post finished Finley's night earlier than hoped. The junior from South Dakota went to the sidelines with a quality stat line - eight points and five rebounds in 12 minutes of action plus a perfect 4-4 at the free throw line. Wright converted both his chances and Harvard had the two point edge.
Lin finally proved human, too strong on a jumper and Davis answered with a deep two to tie things again.
With the long arms of Maddox now defending Lin, and with Maddox instructed repeatedly by the Princeton coaching staff to keep his feet locked to the floor when Lin would invariably try to pump fake Maddox into the air, Lin was short on another jumper.
Following a foul on Wright for pushing Buczak in the back down low, Schroeder inbounded under the Princeton basket to Maddox in the near corner, setting up a designed play where Davis used a screen at the free throw line and arrived from the paint up top as the ball was sailing to greet him. Davis was on the money and Princeton had a three point lead again.
Lin drove on the right side, but passed on the shot in lieu of a feed to Doug Miller on the other side of the basket.
At the 4:38 mark Maddox bounced a pass to a cutting Mavriades on the left side and Mavraides sailed up with his left hand for two off glass.
Housman was fouled by Davis, Davis' fourth personal. Housman could only convert his second at the line and the Princeton lead was 61-59. With Davis now in foul trouble, Johnson chose to try and keep him off the floor on defense, rotating the foul-saddled Buczak and Saunders in and out with co-captain Nick Lake to avoid additional Tiger disqualifications.
Against minimal pressure, Buczak brought the ball up the floor on a possession that ended when, with six seconds on the shot clock, Schroeder began a slow, purposeful path to the basket that concluded with a foul being called on Housman.
Returning from the game's final media time out, Schroeder hit both his chances at the line and the Tigers had their first four point lead.
Housman split another pair, setting up Schroeder's first connection with Mavraides. Schroeder went all the way under the backboard to create enough room to rifle the ball with one hand out to his shooting partner.
If you thought the six point cushion would be enough, you haven't been to a Princeton/Harvard game in Cambridge in the last nine seasons. Housman answered with a rainbow to halve the Harvard deficit.
As the Crimson pressured Princeton in the backcourt, Davis accidently dribbled the ball off his foot, and by the time he was able to track down the rolling sphere, a ten second violation had occurred.
Pusar's three point shot in the far corner, set up by a Lin drive, that would have tied the game was off the mark and Princeton had escaped disaster for the moment.
Schroeder got the ball to Buczak and the junior center's turnaround hook went down with exactly one minute to go. Princeton was back up five.
Lin pulled up in the paint with a high arcing jumper for two and Harvard called time down three with :51.6 on the clock.
With the game in the balance, Schroeder found Mavraides again, driving on the left and passing to the right for Mavraides' fourth three of the game and a poised Princeton squad was heading home with an unexpectedly pleasant start to Ivy play.
"As time has gone on during the season we've been playing better together and getting more confidence together," Mavraides concluded. "I think a huge development in this team is we're learning how to be composed down the stretch."
"We'll probably enjoy this all of Saturday and a little bit of Sunday and then come back on Monday to try and get some work done," said Johnson of his team's first Ivy road sweep since 2006.Â Â
On Friday night, the play of Buczak solidified a victory over Dartmouth. One night later it was different players showing the same steady hand to create the same end result. Combine those performances and Princeton is one of just two Ivy teams that can boast a perfect conference mark.
February 5, 2010 - Princeton 56 Harvard 53
Up 14 with under five minutes left almost wasn't safe! Keith Wright was an unexpected scratch for Harvard with an an Achilles injury.
The question came last, from the back of the abandoned locker room turned into a makeshift press conference location.
It was directed at senior co-captain Marcus Schroeder, after Princeton's unexpected 56-53 win at Harvard to improve to 3-0 in Ivy League play.
How had things changed since his first year as a Tiger?
Schroeder danced around an answer before settling on a satisfactory sentence.
"I don't think it is time to look back yet. We have some more work to take care of."
That work includes 11 more Ivy contests, which Schroeder hopes will turn out the same way tonight's game did.
Jeremy Lin's deep three point shot at the buzzer came up short of the mark and Princeton was able to escape a hostile Lavietes Pavilion with the victory - the first team to beat Harvard at home this year.
Junior forward Kareem Maddox, who was part of a team defensive effort that troubled Lin into 6-16 shooting, scored a season high 14 off the bench, finishing three different backdoor lobs from Schroeder.
"Kareem does a great job of cutting and he's long," Schroeder said. "I just kind of lob it up there and he does of a good job of going and getting it and then he takes his time and finishes it."
Dan Mavraides also had 14 for Princeton, including a three from the far corner off an inbounds pass from Schroeder that put the Tigers up 47-33 with 4:55 to go.
A furious Crimson comeback ended with Lin pulling up from several steps behind the arc and hoisting a shot that bounded harmlessly off the front rim.
Lin finished with 19, but had difficulty finding unobstructed paths to the basket throughout the night.
The Tigers could not locate their footing on both sides of the ball early. Kyle Casey won the opening tip from Pawel Buczak and it wasn't long after that Lin drove into the lane and dished to Doug Miller for an easy layup.
Douglas Davis' drive was short off the glass and when Buczak's wing pass was picked off by Christian Webster, Webster drove and was fouled by Buczak, making both free throws.
Lin came up short on a slash and Casey's second tip try went down, putting the Tigers behind 6-0 at the 16:37 mark.
Schroeder attacked the paint and found Patrick Saunders in the far corner, who selflessly swung the ball to Davis on the wing for a three that halved the Harvard advantage and settled the Tigers down.
Ian Hummer and Maddox entered the game with 14:56 on the clock and each had positive impacts. Maddox blocked a Brandyn Curry drive when it looked like Curry was on his way to the rim and Hummer somehow muscled an unorthodox shot up off his hip for two.
Lin poked away an entry pass to a posting Maddox and twisted in the paint to make it an 8-5 game.
Princeton pulled even by going inside/outside, Buczak down low finding Mavraides outside for three in front of the Harvard student section, Mavraides taunting the assembled as he raced back on defense.
Buczak stepped in front of a pass by Dee Giger for the steal and Hummer tracked down a lose ball to turn an ugly possession into a thing of beauty. Hummer got the ball to Davis, who beat his man into the lane and dished off to his right where Maddox went up strong and dunked on Giger to push the Tigers up by two at the 11:46 media time out.
When play resumed Maddox missed his free throw.
The next six points went to Harvard. Oliver McNally took a Miller pass from the post and fired in a three. After a Hummer hesitation travel, Lin drove to the hole, drew three defenders and sent a pass back out to McNally behind the arc. The Crimson led 16-12 with 8:22 to go before halftime.
Schroeder, who has not attacked the basket as much this season as he did as an underclassman, caught a Mavraides pass in stride and knocked down the left wing three.
Schroeder entered the lane and dished left to a slashing Hummer for two off glass, giving Princeton a lead that they would not relinquish.
These were the early stages of what would be a 17-1 Tiger run.
Hummer slid in to take a charge as Webster drove and when play resumed Schroeder's spin and scoop with the shot clock dwindling made it a 19-16 game.
Kyle Casey could not connect from outside and Schroeder caught the Harvard defense napping, going over the top with a long feed to Zach Finley ahead of the pack for an easy layup that made Crimson coach Tommy Amaker call time out.
Again Schroeder drove, hanging in the air for a fraction of a second to draw contact as he floated to the left of the tin. Fouled by Casey, he made both free throws.
Just as a Know! Your! Foe! column had prophesied, Casey is an athletic talent with a propensity for picking up fouls in bunches (7.1/40 minutes - worst in the league). This foul was Casey's second and limited what he could do defensively the rest of the way.
Schroeder's first lob pass to a cutting Maddox was caught, controlled and after a moment to assess his surroundings, laid home over Casey.
Following a McNally turnover, Casey could not step in front of a driving Buczak in time and had his third foul of the half. Buczak made both ends of his one-and-one to take the lead up to 29-17.
Lin's open three from the top of the arc made it a 29-20 Tiger lead heading up the stairs to the locker rooms. The basket was Lin's only jumper of the half. He was 2-7 from the floor.
While Maddox disagreed with this assessment after the game, his length did not allow Lin to drive in the ways he has grown accustomed. Maddox was able to keep Lin moving from side to side, but on only one occasion did Lin get his entire body past Maddox's arms. By mixing Maddox with the sturdy Mavraides and a sprightly Davis on defense, Lin saw different types of defenders and never got in a rhythm, settling for five three point shots, which is not a strong aspect of his game.
As the second half began, Buczak got deep position, but his baseline hook came up short.
At the other end, McNally tried to get cute on an inbounds pass, bouncing it to himself off Saunders' backside. Saunders was not amused and surrounded McNally under the rim and blocked his shot when he went up with the try.
This time Buczak's shimmy hook in the lane was true and the lead had extended to 11.
Harvard struggled to score. Princeton's switching defense was communicating well and there were few moments of hesitation from the Tigers. When Lin turned the corner, there were several obstacles in his way before he could get up to the glass.
McNally made one of two at the free throw line after picking up a rebound off a missed Schroeder three and running in stride to the other end of the gym, fouled by Schroeder as he went up. It was Harvard's first point of the half, 4:55 in.
Maddox rebounded his own missed hook to keep a possession alive, a possession that ended when Buczak from the free throw line found Davis on the right wing for a three.
Lin went quickly down the left baseline for a reverse to draw within 34-23.
It was deja vu for Maddox, unable to score over Casey but leaping for the rebound and putting it back over the Crimson's foul-plagued freshman forward.
Asked about Maddox's night, Johnson praised Maddox for both "keeping it simple" and "letting the game come to him." Much of Maddox's comfort comes from the fact that he's no longer trying to do the things that he can't do. As the leaps in the air before deciding where the ball is going and the passes to no one have decreased, his playing time has increased. Add some stellar rebounding on Friday and Maddox was key to the result.
Lin drove at Schroeder and drew the whistle, putting Harvard in the bonus. Lin made both of his free throw tries. It was Schroeder's third personal.
Will Barrett, in the game for the first time replacing Schroeder, found space on the right wing off a Mavraides drive and rose up in front of the Princeton bench for his first and only shot of the game, a three that made it 39-25.
McNally answered from the left corner, but it was Davis' turn to drive, finding Mavraides in the same spot Barrett had connected from. Mavraides popped from deep to keep the lead at 14.
Schroeder lobbed down the left side for Maddox, again he caught and took his time to score on Casey, who could not afford another foul. Princeton coach Sydney Johnson quickly took a time out, up 44-31 with 8:46 left to play out.
Lin split two defenders and went glass to take the lead down to 11.
Schroeder noticed Mavraides hiding in the far corner on a designed inbounds and an unobstructed Mavraides launched his third three of the night.
With less than five minutes on the clock, the result appeared almost secure anywhere but Lavietes Pavilion - a place where:
-Kyle Wente can split two defenders for a game-winning three point shot at the buzzer.
-Noah Savage can somehow get open after a Justin Conway steal for a short jumper with half a second showing.
-Harvard can score the last eight points of regulation to force overtime.
And those are just three of the crazy finishes from a decade of wild outcomes.
Lin's midrange jumper was off target, but before Princeton could rebound, Casey jumped high to dunk the ball back home.
The Crimson student section, desperate for a reason to explode, did just that. Their slow-to-unfold "I! I believe! I believe that! I believe that we! I believe that we will win!" chant got two bleachers of undergraduates wearing white t-shirts on their feet.
Schroeder came up short on a jumper, which Finley tracked down and reset the offense. Mavraides' drive was blocked by Casey and out of bounds off Mavraides' body.
Curry's three from the top of the arc took Princeton's lead under 10 for the first time since it was 29-20.
A pass by Maddox on the side sailed over the heads of Schroeder and Davis, heading towards the Crimson basket. Curry tracked it down before the backcourt violation could be whistled and raced ahead for a layup that made it 47-40.
A third time Schroeder went to Maddox cutting via the lob.
"I think every one of my baskets was assisted by Schroeder," Maddox joked afterwards.
Lin drove at Schroeder and Schroeder picked up his fourth personal.
At the line for a one-and-one, the 75% free throw shooter came up short.
Lin made up for the miss by picking off a Schroeder pass and scoring on a soaring drive over Maddox, who was unable to get fully in front in time. Lin's free throw made it 49-43.
With 1:06 to play, McNally fouled Maddox, who made both ends of his one-and-one.
Lin rose up over Davis on the left side to cut the lead down to 51-46.
I believe that!
McNally fouled Buczak, who was long on his free throw and Casey rebounded.
Casey, who had missed three times outside the arc, was good on his fourth attempt and the lead was just 51-49 with :39.5 on the clock. Harvard called their last time out.
I believe that we!
Lin immediately fouled Mavraides, who made both his chances in the same icy manner that pushed Princeton past Harvard 77-71 last year in Massachusetts.
Down four, Lin spun, Lin slipped, Lin was cut off and Lin could not find the basket. Mavraides rebounded and was fouled by McNally, as the 200+ Princeton faithful in attendance began to throw Harvard's chant across the gym at the Crimson students.
Christian Webster, who also had not made a field goal all game (0-6), stepped backwards behind the stripe, his line drive triple dropping as Mavraides foolishly fouled him.
The free throw was good. The lead was down to one.
The chant was the loudest it had been all night.
The inbounds came to Maddox, who was fouled by McNally, his fifth and disqualifying personal. Maddox went to the other side of the gym, the entire building aware that a miss would give Harvard the chance at bedlam in regulation.
Several Harvard students followed Maddox to the opposite end, screaming at him from the sidelines.
First shot. Good.
Second shot. Good.
Knowing that Harvard needed a three to tie, Princeton overplayed the arc. The final Crimson possession was out of sync. Casey had the option of launching a defended try, but passed it up with time running out. Eventually Lin had no other choice but to chuck from a good 30 feet out and the clang of the iron was followed by the sound of the final buzzer.
"I thought these guys really held on to their guts," said Johnson after the Crimson comeback came up one basket short. "There were a couple plays we would rather do without [down the stretch], but just a lot of heart from Dan, Marcus and Kareem and that entire locker room."
A locker room looking forward, with work to take care of at Dartmouth on Saturday night.
-Princeton shot 17-39 (43.6%), 9-18 in the first half. The Tigers went 7-12 from deep (58.3%), 4-5 after intermission. A 15-18 performance at the line (83.3%) was well above their season average.
-Harvard shot a season low 18-50 (36.0%) from the floor, 8-24 on threes (33.3%) and 9-13 from the stripe (69.2%).