In the most important game of the season, the Princeton Tigers showed last night why they are the best team in the Ivy League. With just 1.1 seconds left and the game tied at 69 points each, junior guard Amir Bell knocked in an off-balance left hook shot over Harvard freshman Chris Lewis to save the day for the Orange and Black. Princeton’s heroic 73-69 victory at home over the Ivy League rival secures the Tiger’s first seed in the conference playoffs and extends the team’s win streak to 16.
Prior to last night, just two victories separated the Tigers (20-6 overall, 13-0 Ivy League) from a perfect Ivy-League regular season record. The Tigers had cruised through their 12 previous conference matchups and needed just one more victory to secure the top seed in the conference playoffs.
Yet, the Harvard Crimson (18-8, 10-3) presented the largest hurdle between the Tigers and perfection. In the pair’s previous matchup just a month earlier, Harvard fell to Princeton 57-56 off a game-winning put back from senior forward Steven Cook.
Since then, the Crimson have secured the second seed in the Ivy League losing just two conference matchups prior to Friday. A win over the Tigers would have placed Princeton’s top ranking in jeopardy heading into the season’s final game. If there was one team poised to tarnish the perfect Orange and Black record, it was the Harvard Crimson.
In a flashback to the February match-up, Cook once again led the Tigers over the Crimson; this time the senior forward recorded a career-high tying 30 points on remarkable 13 for 16 shooting. Sophomore guards Devin Cannady and Myles Stephens contributed 13 and 18 points, respectively, fueling Princeton’s offense.
Having defeated Harvard, the Tigers will host Dartmouth (7-19, 4-9) at home this evening in Jadwin Gymnasium. By and large, the Tigers are expected to take down the struggling Big Green to secure a perfect 14-0 Ivy League record. But regardless of the outcome, Princeton will have the first seed in the Ivy League postseason conference next weekend, when the Tigers vie for a coveted NCAA bid.