With the chance to hand Harvard its second loss in the Ivy League, this weekend could not be more crucial for the men’s basketball team. While a Harvard win would put the Crimson firmly atop the league with only three games left to play in the season, a Tiger victory could potentially set up the second playoff between the two in the past three seasons.
The Tigers will attempt to continue their home court success on Harvard-Dartmouth weekends, with the last home loss to either coming in 2009 to Dartmouth. Leading the team will be senior forward Ian Hummer, recently named Ivy League Player of the Week for the sixth time this season and the eighth time in his career. This is the most any player has earned the award in a single season and is not the only record Hummer could break this week. He is also within nine points of taking the No. 2 spot on Princeton’s all-time scoring list away from Doug Davis ’12, who may be best-known for the buzzer-beater that sent the Tigers to the 2011 NCAA tournament over Harvard in 2011.
“Doug was a tremendous player and being able to be mentioned in the same breath as him means so much to me,” Hummer said. “If we are able to beat Harvard, passing Doug will just be icing on the cake. While personal accolades are always great, the main goal is to win a championship.”
However, the Tigers are going to have to perform better than they did in their last matchup against Harvard earlier this season, when they fell 69-57. After remaining close throughout the first half of the matchup, the Tigers shot only 31 percent from the field in the second half.
“I thought the game we played against Harvard was one of our worst games we have played this season,” Hummer said. “This is not to say Harvard isn’t a good team, but if we are going to have a chance this weekend, we are going to have to play a lot better on both the offensive end and defensive end. When it boils down to it, we are playing pretty good defense and hopefully we can do a good job stopping Harvard’s offense.”
If they are able to stop the Harvard offense and hit their shots, the Tigers have a good chance at defeating the current league leader. They are 10-1 on the season when they shoot 50 percent or better, but only 4-8 when they shoot below 50 percent; they are undefeated when they hold opponents to less than 36 percent shooting.
However, with as much anticipation as surrounds the Harvard matchup, this is not the only contest of the weekend, as the Tigers will also need to defeat Dartmouth in hopes of securing a place at the top of the Ivy League alongside Harvard. Princeton beat Dartmouth in their previous contest this season, shooting 56 percent from the field and 58 percent from 3-point land, while giving up only 55 points on the night.The Tigers will take on Harvard Friday at 7p.m. and Dartmouth Saturday at 6p.m. in Jadwin Gymnasium.