With only two matchups left in the regular season, men’s basketball (17–8 overall, 8–4 Ivy League) will look to produce a win against the Harvard Crimson (14–12, 5–7) in Cambridge, Mass. this Saturday, Feb. 25.
Currently tied for first in the Ivy League with Yale (18–7, 8–4), the Tigers will look to beat the Harvard Crimson for the second time this season. The teams last met on the first day of Ivy League play this season, and Princeton defeated Harvard 69–66.
Assistant Sports Editors Diego Uribe ’26 and Hayk Yengibaryan ’26 made their predictions for this weekend’s contests.
Men’s basketball at Harvard
Princeton 75, Harvard 73 - Diego Uribe, Assistant Sports Editor
The two rivals last faced off on Dec. 31 in the Ivy League season opener for both squads. The Tigers won what was a back-and-forth game, 69–66. Crimson guard-forward Chris Ledlum, who is averaging 19 points per game — good for second in the Ivy League — was a tough cover for the Tigers in their December matchup and will be once again on Saturday night. Ledlum’s advanced skill set makes him an offensive threat from anywhere on the floor. He will be the primary focus of the Tiger defense.
The key for the Tigers, however, will not be on defense. Rather, it will be the same as it has been all year long: turnovers. In each of the Tigers’ four Ivy League losses this year, they have lost the turnover battle. In their recent loss to Yale on Feb. 18, they produced 18 turnovers to the Bulldogs’ five. When they cannot take care of the ball, the Tigers simply will not put up enough shots to win the game.
The Tigers do, however, have the talent advantage. The guard duo of senior Ryan Langborg and junior Matt Allocco should have no trouble overwhelming the Crimson backcourt. And there is nobody in the league who can effectively guard senior point-forward Tosan Evbuomwan.
If the Tigers can limit their turnovers and keep Ledlum in check, they should be able to win a close one in Cambridge.
Harvard 75, Princeton 72 - Hayk Yengibaryan, Assistant Sports Editor
After losing three home games in a row, the Crimson are desperate for a win at home Saturday afternoon. The Tigers, however, are also in need of a bounce back win with only two games remaining in the regular season. They cannot avoid dropping down to fourth in the standings and potentially seeing a scary Yale Bulldogs team in the semifinal of the Ivy League tournament.
Harvard should come in and start off strong at home. The Tigers will undoubtedly need to control Ledlum, who is coming off a 35 point game against Cornell.
Ledlum is an extremely talented two-way forward who is the glue of the Harvard offensive unit. Earlier this season, when the Crimson matched up against basketball powerhouse Kansas, legendary Jayhawks coach Bill Self called Ledlum “the best player in the game up till the very end.”
Princeton has its own talented forward in Evbuomwan. Yet losses to Dartmouth and Yale have left serious doubts on this team’s potential.
Coach Henderson’s offense has performed relatively well thus far, ranking 53rd in NCAA Division-1 effective field goal percentage this season (53.2 percent). However, Harvard has stepped up defensively, allowing only 67.4 points during the last five games. The Tigers’ defense is lacking in comparison; they allowed 78.2 across the same span.
In college basketball, the revenge factor is crucial. On Feb. 27, 2022, Evbuomwan hit a game winner in Cambridge to give the Tigers a big road win. Earlier this season, Harvard nearly upset Princeton. This Crimson side has been knocking on the door for a while. After three straight losses to this Princeton team, I fully expect them to keep their season alive Saturday afternoon with an upset win.
Diego Uribe is an Assistant Sports Editor and contributor to the News section at the ‘Prince.’
Hayk Yengibaryan is an Assistant Sports Editor at the ‘Prince.’Please direct any corrections requests to corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.