Princeton (13-7, 6-1 Ivy) barely eked out two wins this weekend — over Cornell (10-11, 5-3) Friday and against Columbia (6-15, 2-6) the following night. A combined 12 points separated the Tigers from the losing C’s. The former league-leading Big Red also lost to Pennsylvania (12-8, 5-2) on Saturday. Finally, after pummeling Harvard (3-18, 2-6), Brown (10-11, 6-2) took out Dartmouth (3-19, 1-7) the following night to move into second place in the Ivies.
Princeton 78, Columbia 71, OT
Valentine’s Day at Levien Gymnasium turned into a real catfight when last year’s league loser Columbia took this season’s league leader Princeton into overtime. After trailing the entire game, the Tigers turned the tables on the Lions, tying the game at the end of regulation and dominating the overtime period.
Princeton center Judson Wallace led the Tigers to the Promised Land, scoring 21 of his 23 points in the second half, including 13-for-14 free-throws in the last 25 minutes of the contest.
Just eight seconds after winning the tip-off to the extra session, Princeton center Harrison Schaen hit two free-throws to give his squad its first lead of the game. Guard Will Venable and Wallace extended the Tigers’ lead with two free throws each before a Scott Greenman driving lay-up made the Princeton lead unconquerable, 73-64, with 1:46 remaining.
Two big three-point shots late in the final minutes of the second half kept Princeton in the game. The first came from Tiger guard Ed Persia with his team trailing 60-56. Columbia guard Tito Hill responded with a runaway lay-up to put the Lions up by three.
With 1:42 left, Greenman nailed a baseline three to tie the game at 62. Two ensuing free-throws by Lion guard Matt Preston gave Columbia the lead back with less than a minute left in regulation, but Venable tied the game at 64 with five seconds left to send the Tigers into overtime.
Wallace led four other Princeton players into double-digit scoring. Forward Andre Logan finished the day with 12, Greenman and Venable each scored 11 points, and Persia added another 10.
Preston scored 17 of his team-high 23 points in the second half for Columbia, which led 33-25 at halftime.
Princeton 69, Cornell 64
Princeton took over the top spot in the Ivy league from Cornell Friday night at the Newman Arena.
Venable proved to be the man of the evening, finishing the game with a career-high 28 points. He shot nine-for-12 from the floor and nine-for-13 at the line.
Early in the second half Venable led the Tigers to an 11-point lead and fended off several Cornell runs. Wallace scored 15 of his 22 points on the day in the second half including a three early in the half to put the Tigers up 31-27. With 2:22 left in the game, Wallace landed three more from downtown to extend the Princeton lead to seven points.
Cornell guard Ka’Ron Barnes led the Big Red with 26 points, but the Princeton defense held Cornell’s second-leading scorer — guard Cody Toppert — to only eight points for the day, including only two in the second half.
The Big Red sprinted to an early 16-9 lead midway through the first half, but Princeton quickly tied the game at 18 four minutes later.
The Tigers entered the second half up 28-25 before Cornell pulled the score to within one, but the Big Red could not take the lead for the rest of the game. Princeton’s defense held the Big Red to 42 percent shooting while the Tigers shot for fifty percent.
This win was the 10th Tigers victory at Newman Arena in the last 11 years.
Pennsylvania 79, Cornell 52
Saturday’s game against Pennsylvania proved to be no better for the Big Red than its loss to Princeton the previous night.
Quaker guards Tim Begley and freshman Ibrahim Jaaber each scored a team-high 17 points on the day and moved Penn up to second place in the Ancient Eight.
The Quakers opened the game with a quick 7-2 lead that they never let diminish. Penn went up by 11 after a three-pointer from guard Jeff Schiffner to make the score 17-6.
The Big Red followed up with a fury of offensive plays two minutes later, but was still down 25-13 halfway through the period. The Quaker defense held Cornell from scoring for the next six minutes and by halftime the Big Red trailed 44-20.
The second frame showed no change in pace for either team as Penn opened with seven unanswered points. On two different occasions during the period, the Quakers led by over 27 points. Ten minutes into the second half, the Big Red applied more pressure to Penn’s offense and got within 19 points, 60-41, but the Quakers shook off the pressure, pushing the lead back to 26 on a lay-up by Schiffner with 5:10 remaining.
Cornell resorted to fouling at the end of the game, but Penn hit five-of-six from the line to maintain a 27-point final margin of victory.
Barnes finished the game with a game-high 22 points, but the rest of the Big Red offense decided not to show up. Cornell shot a combined 37.7 percent from the floor.
Brown 84, Dartmouth 64
For the Big Green, the losses just keep on coming. Dartmouth dropped its 12th consecutive game of the season after a loss to Brown Saturday night at Leede Arena.
Bears guard Jason Forte led the attack with 23 points followed by guard Patrick Powers with 22.
Brown came off to a slow start in the first half. With 3:33 left before halftime, the Bears were trailing the worst team in the league 30-38 after a lay-up from Dartmouth center Scott Klingbell. But the Bears held Dartmouth scoreless for the remainder of the period and entered the second frame up 43-38.
Bears guard Mike Martin scored 14 points in the first half, including four-for-six from long range.
Brown continued to pull away as it grabbed a 61-45 lead with 9:15 remaining on a pair of free-throws by Martin. Forte kept Dartmouth at arms length, scoring 17 of his points in the second half.
Guard Steven Callahan led the Big Green with 15 points for the day along with forward Michael McLaren and center David Gardner who each scored 13.
Forte also became the 19th player in Brown basketball history to score 1000 career points. He currently has a total of 1009 points.