Men's basketball employs balanced effort to defeat struggling Harvard, Dartmouth| Feb 8, 2016
After suffering their first loss of the Ivy League season against Yale, Princeton men’s basketball faced struggling a Harvard (9-13 overall, 1-5 Ivy) and Dartmouth (7-13, 1-5) over the weekend and soundly defeated these two last-place teams in the league.
Before Friday’s game at Jadwin Gymnasium, Harvard had beaten Princeton in five of their last six meetings on their way to five straight league titles. However, this season, with last year’s leading scorer Wesley Saunders gone to the NBA and star point guard Siyani Chambers out for the year with a torn ACL, the Crimson has not been able to replicate the success of recent seasons. Furthermore, the Crimson was without their leading scorer and rebounder of the season, junior center Zena Edosomwan. Accordingly, the Tigers jumped out to a commanding lead early, relying as they often have this season on strong three-point shooting. Freshman guard Devin Cannady scored 12 of his overall 14 points, including two three-pointers, before the break and the team went 6-10 as a whole from deep to take a 38-22 lead into halftime. The Crimson fought hard to get back in the game in the second half and closed the scoring gap to 10 points with just over 12 minutes to go behind the hot outside shooting of freshman guard Tommy McCarthy and the strong inside play of senior forward Agunwa Okolie. However, Princeton quickly responded with another barrage of three-pointers, with junior forward Henry Caruso, the Ivy League’s leading three-pointer shooter, and junior forward Stephen Cook, the game’s leading scorer with 21 points, both on target from behind the arc. The resulting 16-2 run put the game away for good for Princeton and the Tigers prevailed over their rivals, 83-62.
On Sunday, Princeton hosted Dartmouth, who were tied at the time with Harvard at the bottom of the league standings. The Tigers again started strong, opening the game with a 16-4 run on the back of five points from Cook inside and two three-pointers from junior forward Spencer Weisz. With more strong shooting from Weisz, Caruso and Cook, Princeton extended their lead to 23 with four minutes left in the half. However, Dartmouth finally found its range and scored 12 points in a row to end the half and keep the game close heading into the break. The Big Green was able to score more consistently in the second half to keep things interesting, but Cook kept the Tigers’ offense humming, scoring from inside, outside and the free throw line. Dartmouth was never able to truly close the gap. With Princeton’s lead at seven with just over three minutes to go, Caruso drained two free throws and then Cook, the game’s leading scorer with a season-high 27 points, made a layup to put the game out of reach as the Tigers went on to win 83-70.
After convincing performances this past weekend, Princeton travels to face a struggling Cornell (9-11, 2-4) squad on Friday before a huge matchup with fellow one-loss team Columbia (16-7, 5-1) in New York City on Saturday.