While individually none of them led the scoring for Princeton, collectively the men’s basketball freshmen accounted for more than half of the offensive production in the Tigers’ 59-47 loss to Harvard on Saturday night, a positive sign in an otherwise disappointing Ivy League season. Princeton, which was 12-2 in nonconference play, dropped to 3-6 in Ivy games.
The Harvard loss was a classic tale of two halves, as the Tigers won the first half but ultimately could not compete following halftime and fell to the Crimson in their home gym for the first time since 1989.
Senior guard T.J. Bray is had another big game offensively (17 points), which has become the norm — he has scored in double figures 17 times in 19 games played. But the freshmen also played key roles in the most anticipated match up on Princeton’s schedule.
The home Harvard game has consistently attracted more fans than any other for the past several years, and Saturday night was no different. “They’re always great for this game,” Bray said. “They really get up for it.”
Despite Princeton’s 3-5 Ivy record coming into the game, tip off saw a packed student section and the Tigers gave the fans a much closer than anticipated competition, coming out stronger than they have in previous games and opening up a 12-point lead midway through the first half. After closing out the half with a buzzer beater from freshman forward Spencer Weisz, the Tigers went into the locker room with a 29-24 lead.
But in contrast to the first half, they came out slow in the second half and watched the lead they had built up slowly start to slip away. After Hans Brase ’16 missed a dunk attempt with 8 minutes left that would have reclaimed the lead for the Tigers, Harvard opened up a 44-40 lead, made a defensive stop and another field goal, squelching the Tigers’ momentum. Continue reading