Crimson Close Out Home Slate With Big Second Half, Take Out Tigers
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – This time, there was no heart-breaking last-minute comeback by the visiting team.
Last season, Princeton scored the final seven points in a devastating 60-59 defeat of Harvard that helped send the Crimson’s season in the wrong direction for good. They lost the next six games after that before winning their final game of the season. On Saturday, Harvard scored 15 unanswered points early in the second half to take the lead for good, then held on for a 50-43 victory over the struggling Tigers.
The second half was a change from the first half, where the Crimson got nothing going offensively in scoring just 12 points and shooting below 16 percent from the field. They didn’t score a field goal in the final 16:49 of the half and went into the locker room down 21-12, as the Tigers didn’t shoot much better at just over 30 percent. In the second half, the Crimson shot over 68 percent from the field and held the Tigers to over 33 percent from the field, a fine defensive effort that gave them the chance to get going offensively.
“As disappointing as it was at halftime with the way we played offense, the thing we did was appeal to the guys to maintain the level of defense that they had,” said Harvard head coach Frank Sullivan. “I think we did a fine job defensively from beginning to end.”
The Crimson have struggled at the defensive end all season long, and Friday night was no different as Penn went 12-23 from long range against them. On Saturday, they held Princeton to 4-18 from long range and won the battle on the glass. Evan Harris continues to develop at the defensive end, as he had seven rebounds and three blocked shots.
Much like the first meeting between the two teams, sophomore guard Drew Housman got hot after halftime for Harvard. After struggling to an 0-6 first half, Housman missed just one shot in the second half en route to a game-high 20 points. Early on, he started to take control of the game as he was able to penetrate at will.
“Their defense is predicated on switching all the screens,” said Housman. “When they’re focused on switching screens, they’re less likely to be able to help out on drives.”
Senior Jim Goffredo struggled again at the offensive end for Harvard, scoring eight points on 3-10 shooting, but went out a winner in his final home game and made a couple of key plays late. He had a jumper with over two minutes to go to push the lead back to seven, then a key rebound and later two free throws.
The Crimson got several key contributions, notably from freshman guard Jeremy Lin, who had a nice couple of games and continues to show some real potential in the future. He made a couple of nice passes and showed that he can drive and create. That certainly bodes well for the future.
Recently departed center Brian Cusworth was at the game on Saturday night and joined the team on the bench.
Other Notable Games
UCLA 75, Stanford 61: The Bruins finish the season perfect at home.
Georgetown 61, Pittsburgh 53: The Hoyas have now won 11 straight games and have taken over the lead from Pittsburgh – after it seemed a foregone conclusion early on that Pittsburgh would win the Big East regular season title comfortably.
LSU 66, Florida 56: Perhaps the Tigers are telling us not to write them off just yet. They almost won at Kentucky without Glen Davis, but break through against Florida without him on Saturday.
Auburn 86, Alabama 77: Again I must ask: can anyone figure out the Crimson Tide?
Notre Dame 85, Marquette 73: A good win for the Irish over a Marquette team that has been playing well of late.
Syracuse 71, Providence 67: For the Orange, it could be “Hello NCAA” with this win. The Friars, on the other hand, may have said hello to the NIT in losing at home on Senior Day for Herbert Hill.
Texas Tech 59, Oklahoma State 57: The Red Raiders continue the Cowboys’ late-season slide. Oklahoma State has now lost four in a row and six of seven, and they are 5-8 in the Big 12.
Boston College 59, Clemson 54: It wasn’t pretty, but the Eagles held off the Tigers on Senior Day for Sean Marshall and Jared Dudley for their 10th ACC win.
Virginia Tech 73, Miami 57: The Hokies head into the final week of the regular season with a couple of home wins in a row.
Florida State 78, North Carolina State 52: The Seminoles couldn’t afford to lose this one, and it was never in doubt as they improve to 6-9 in ACC play.
Michigan State 66, Indiana 58: The Spartans get another good win and pull into a three-way tie for fourth in the Big Ten with a week to go.
Kansas State 87, Colorado 71: Win number 20 on the season for the Wildcats.
TCU 71, Air Force 66: The second straight loss for the Falcons was a real shocker considering the Horned Frogs have struggled mightily, in addition to the fact that the Falcons won by 33 in the teams’ earlier meeting.
San Diego State 86, Brigham Young 74: A nice win for the Aztecs over the Mountain West leaders.
Southern Illinois 76, Evansville 69: The Salukis will ride an 11-game winning streak into the Missouri Valley Tournament.
Creighton 71, Wichita State 54: The Bluejays take second place in the Valley, while the Shockers limp into the conference tournament with four straight losses.
Marist 98, Siena 88 (OT): In the first game of the day, Marist clinches the regular season title in the MAAC outright and will be the top seed in next weekend’s conference tournament.
VCU 72, Georgia State 70: The Rams win the CAA outright with a 16-2 mark after barely holding off the Panthers. The 16 conference wins are a record, with several teams having won 15 before including two last season.
Old Dominion 62, William & Mary 57: The Monarchs finish the regular season with 11 straight wins, making them easily the hottest CAA team heading into next weekend’s conference tournament.
Northeastern 73, George Mason 50: The Huskies finish Bill Coen’s first season at 9-9 in CAA play. They also snap the Patriots’ streak of eight consecutive seasons with at least 10 CAA wins.
Fordham 71, Rhode Island 62: The road team wins both games this season as the Rams fall two games out of first in the loss column in the Atlantic 10.
Temple 81, Charlotte 69: Charlotte’s disappointing season continues as the 49ers fall below .500 at 13-14.
Davidson 87, Citadel 70: Bob McKillop has done another outstanding coaching job. The Wildcats finish the regular season with ten straight wins and a 26-4 record, 17-1 in Southern Conference play. Not bad for a team that lost seven seniors off a team that went 20-11 last year.
Columbia 82, Yale 64: With Penn holding off Dartmouth, Yale is now in trouble in the Ivy League race and must beat the Quakers in Philadelphia on Friday to have any chance.
Bucknell 54, Army 49: The Bison still have a shot to win the Patriot League regular season title after finishing with this road win. They need Lehigh to beat Holy Cross on Sunday.
Delaware State 77, Florida A&M 65: The Hornets clinch their third straight MEAC regular season title.
Eastern Kentucky 65, Tennessee State 53: Jeff Neubauer did quite a job with the Colonels this season, as they will be the No. 2 seed in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament after finishing tied for second. The Colonels suffered heavy personnel losses from last season’s team and were no one’s pick to finish near the top.