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Coming off last week’s devastating loss at Harvard, the men’s basketball team hit the court again this past weekend with back-to-back away games at Columbia (11-13 overall, 3-7 Ivy League) on Friday and Cornell (13-14, 5-5) on Saturday.

As they have done for most of the season, the Tigers (14-9, 7-2) relied on their smothering defense en route to two blowout victories, winning 65-40 and 72-53 versus Columbia and Cornell, respectively.After trailing for the first few minutes against Columbia, Princeton staged a quick 6-0 run that gave it the lead for good with over 14 minutes remaining in the first half.

Up 27-20 with just over four minutes left in the first half, the Tigers started a furious run that saw them score 15 unanswered points in less than seven minutes of game time to effectively wrap up the game early in the second half.

As he has done all season, senior forward Ian Hummer turned in a complete effort, recording a line of 17 points on 7-11 shooting with five assists and three boards. He was complemented offensively by sophomore forward Denton Koon, who dropped 23 points to bounce back after a rough outing against Harvard.

In addition to strong individual efforts, Princeton also played stifling team defense and rebounded well. The Tigers outshot the Lions by a mark of 56.1 percent to 34 percent and won the rebound margin 32-23.The Tigers then traveled to Ithaca to stave off Cornell, which was one place behind Princeton in the standings.

The Tigers scored the first five points of the game and used an active defense to stymie Cornell’s attack, holding the Big Red to an abysmal 15.6 percent shooting through the first half. In contrast, Princeton knocked down 57.9 percent of its first-half shots to take a commanding 33-14 lead at the break.One area of concern for the Tigers was offensive rebounding. Although Cornell failed to convert the majority of its shots in the first half, it dominated the offensive boards, taking 14 rebounds to Princeton’s six. However, the Tigers did win the total rebounding battle 32-26.

The second half featured more back-and-forth action, with Cornell doing a good job of cutting its 19-point halftime deficit. But Princeton did enough to ensure that Cornell never came closer than seven points in the second half.

The Tigers were again led by Hummer, who paced the team with 23 points (on an efficient 10 of 12 shooting performance), seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Koon and junior forward Will Barrett also scored in double figures to balance Princeton’s attack.

In addition to keeping pace with Harvard for the Ivy League crown — Harvard won both of its weekend games to remain one game ahead in the standings — the story of the weekend was Hummer.

With his 40 points this weekend, he has closed in on second place on Princeton’s all-time scoring list. His 1,541 career points put him just five behind Kit Mueller ’91 and nine behind recent standout Doug Davis ’12, who is second to the legendary Bill Bradley ’65 (2,503).

The Tigers will return to action on Friday at home in a highly anticipated matchup with Harvard (17-7, 9-1). The game is a must-win for the Tigers if they hope to keep their dreams of an Ivy League crown and NCAA tournament bid alive.

Tipoff is at 7 p.m. in Jadwin Gymnasium. The game will be televised on ESPNU.

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