In defeating Yale 64-57 Friday night at Jadwin Gym, another team that was still alive for the Ivy League title entering the night, Princeton has won six of its last seven games to stand at 17-11 overall and 8-4 in the Ivy.
Harvard's overtime win at Columbia Friday night eliminated Princeton from Ivy title contention, and Princeton's defeat of Yale (19-8, 9-4) coupled with the Harvard win knocked out the Bulldogs as well. The race is down to two teams, Harvard and Penn, which ended the night as they started it, even in the loss column.
Princeton trailed only in the early moments against the Bulldogs but used a 10-0 run to build a 17-6 lead before the half was nine minutes old. The lead grew to as much as 15 just past the halfway point of the half before Yale began to chip away. Two Austin Morgan free throws made it a four-point game at 32-28 before Princeton scored the last five points of the half, including a 3-pointer in the closing seconds from T.J. Bray.
An 11-1 Yale run early in the second half tied the game at 40-40 with 12 minutes to go, but the Bulldogs never took the lead. Princeton answered by scoring the next nine points.
"We were sweating it, no doubt about it," Mitch Henderson, the Franklin C. Cappon-Edward G. Green '40 head coach of Princeton men's basketball, said. "Yale can do that to you. It's a talented group and they score in a lot of different ways."
Yale's last push made it a one-point game with 2:21 to play at 54-53, but Princeton didn't let up on offense. The Tigers scored on all four possessions from that point, the last being an exclamation-point dunk from Ian Hummer to make the 64-57 final.
Hummer led Princeton with 18 points, giving him 1,111 for his career and putting him in 16th place on the all-time Princeton scoring list. Hummer, a junior, figures to end the regular season in 13th place, as Chris Thomforde '69 (1,122), Rick Hielscher '95 (1,130), and Frank Sowinski '78 (1,133) are close ahead.
Hummer was one of two players in double figures for the Tigers along with T.J. Bray as eight Tigers played and every one of them scored. Princeton overcame seeing two Yale players get double-doubles in seniors Greg Mangano (20 points, 14 rebounds) and Reggie Willhite (10 points, 14 rebounds) and two more reach double-figure points in Jeremiah Kreisberg (10) and Morgan (13). Princeton also overcame a 35-28 rebounding deficit, the first time in six games that the Tigers didn't win on the glass.
"He got his numbers, but we won, so that's what we wanted," Mack Darrow said of Mangano, who leads the league in rebounding and is contending for the Ivy scoring title.
While the loss avenged Princeton's earlier 58-54 defeat at Yale, one of the early missteps that helped to take the Tigers out of the Ivy title race, the Tigers will aim for the season sweep of Brown Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Jadwin Gym.
Audio to come