Unthinkable: Princeton 1-5 in the Ivy League

February 13th, 2007

Lincoln Gunn had a career-high 22 points, five assists and four rebounds to lead Princeton to a 74-68 win over Harvard in double overtime on Friday night. Noah Savage added 16 points for the Tigers (10-9, 1-4 in Ivy League) and went 4-for-4 from the foul line in the final 20 seconds of the second overtime to seal the win. Luke Owings added 10 points and seven rebounds for Princeton. Drew Housman had a career-high 33 points, four assists and four rebounds for the Crimson (10-11, 3-4), while Andrew Pusar(Seton Hall Prep) had 12 points and Evan Harris added 10.

Saturday night, Alex Barnett scored 23 points as Dartmouth held off Princeton 45-44. Dartmouth (8-12, 3-4 in Ivy League) snapped a 19-game losing streak in Princeton with the win, while the Tigers (10-10, 1-5) lost for the sixth time in seven games. Noah Savage led Princeton with 12 points and three assists.

Friday evening, it looked to this coach that Princeton coach Joe Scott was going to change his kill the clock philosophy and give his players some freedom and take the open look if they have it. Freshman Lincoln Gunn had a season-high 22 points, including a big shot that put Princeton ahead late in the first overtime. Noah Savage, making his first start of the season had a season-high 16 points for Princeton in his first start of the season, making five of nine shots from the field and all four of his free throws. They scored an almost unheard of 74 points!!

It started to look like coach Joe Scott finally "saw the light" and decided to give his guys the freedom they need to succeed in running the "Princeton Offense"! That wasn't the case on Saturday night. Back to the same "Prevent Offense" because it prevents them from scoring, Lincoln Gunn had 2 points, both free throws!

"They didn't make a three-pointer and our defense held them to 32% in the second half, but the Achilles heels that have been hurting us in our losses all year came back to haunt us again," said Joe Scott, "Rebounding, getting loose balls and making layups are some of those things, and doing those things better would have made a big difference tonight."

Hey Joe, change your offense to the type of talent on hand, smile once in a while to let the players know your on their side, not against them, and stop putting the blame on the players after a loss! Every post game interview is "we" didn't do this or "we" didn't do that....just admit, "I" didn't do this and "I" should have done that!!! You owe it to the program and the kids that go out and bust their tail for you every night!!

Ivy League Conference Standings

Pennsylvania 5-1 14-8
Cornell 6-2 13-9
Yale 6-2 10-11
Columbia 4-4 13-9
Harvard 3-5 10-12
Dartmouth 3-5 8-13
Brown 2-6 7-16
Princeton 1-5 10-10

Steve Mergelsberg has spent twenty-five years coaching professionally in the Atlantic Basketball Association, United States Basketball League (USBL), on the college level and on the high school level in New Jersey and Nevada. He is a constant contributor to coaching journals, including articles on the triangle offense, coaching philosophies, and amoeba defenses.