Harvard-Princeton Preview

Off to the best Ivy League start in its history, Harvard could

be poised for its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1946.

Riding their longest winning streak since that same season, the

Crimson now have a shot to avenge the last-second loss that kept

them from last year’s tourney.

No. 25 Harvard looks to snap its 22-game road losing streak at

Princeton and earn its 10th straight victory overall when the

longtime rivals square off at L. Stockwell Jadwin Gymnasium.

The Crimson (21-2, 7-0), whose 8-0 start was highlighted by a

46-41 upset of then-No. 22 Florida State on Nov. 25 in the Bahamas,

extended their current winning streak to nine Friday with a 56-50

victory over Penn.

Beating the Quakers wasn’t easy for Harvard, which missed 15 of

19 3-point attempts and only broke open a tie game with an 11-2 run

midway through the second half. Sophomore Laurent Rivard, who

entered play as the team’s leading scorer at 11.3 points per game,

suffered through his worst effort of the season by going 0 for 5

from the field and finishing with two points.

Freshman guard Corbin Miller helped pick up the slack by scoring

a career-high 17 points and junior Kyle Casey added 15 as the

Crimson kept their hopes alive for an unblemished Ivy League

season, though coach Tommy Amaker doesn’t want to entertain such

notions yet.

“We have a long way to go to think of ourselves as anything

along those lines,” Amaker said. “We’re working toward becoming a

contender on a consistent basis. But right now, we’re full steam

ahead with what’s right in front of us.”

Harvard has won nine in a row for the first time since a 13-game

run to conclude the 1945-46 regular season. Those Crimson went on

to the only NCAA tournament appearance in school history, falling

67-61 to NYU in the third-place game.

It only may seem like 66 years since Harvard won at Princeton

(12-10, 3-3). The Crimson have dropped 22 consecutive visits to

their league rivals from New Jersey since a 63-57 victory Feb. 3,

1989.

Harvard and Princeton split their regular season meetings in

2010-11, and finished with identical 12-2 conference records to

force a tiebreaker game at New Haven, Conn. The Tigers won that

March 12 contest 63-62 on a buzzer-beating jumper by Douglas Davis

to clinch the Ivy’s automatic NCAA tourney berth.

“Doug has an amazing mid-range game and it was an amazing shot,”

Princeton guard Dan Mavraides said.

Mavraides graduated last spring, but Davis brings his shooting

back to this matchup. The senior guard, who is averaging 13.6

points per game, finished with a game-high 20 while making 5 of 7

3-pointers to lead the Tigers over Dartmouth 59-47 on Friday

night.

Davis’ performance Friday helped Princeton overcome a dreadful

night from leading scorer Ian Hummer (16.5 ppg), who went 0 for 11

from the field and finished with four points – his lowest output

since his 2009-10 freshman season.

Hummer averaged 14.0 points and shot 54.8 percent in last

season’s three matchups with Harvard, while Casey posted an

identical average while shooting 59.3 percent for the Crimson.

These teams will meet again Feb. 24 at Cambridge, Mass.