It's been more than 30 years since Princeton was in the Top 10. That may change this week but the Tigers don't really care.
An amazing shooting display - they missed just 14 shots all night - carried the 11th-ranked Tigers to a 76-48 win Saturday over Harvard as Gabe Lewullis matched his career-high 24 points.
"It's one of our better games," Princeton coach Bill Carmody said after his team hit 68 percent of its shots. "I don't know if we are as good as we played or Harvard is as bad as they played."
Princeton's 11th consecutive win came one night after the Tigers (18-1, 6-0 Ivy League) dominated Dartmouth 71-39 and on the same day No. 9 Stanford jeopardized its ranking with a 20-point loss to No. 7 Connecticut.
That could open a spot for Princeton, but the Tigers, who were ranked 10th on Dec. 10, 1967, say their main focus is on winning the Ivy League title. They still have two games remaining with second-place Pennsylvania, the last Ivy team in the Top 10 when it was second in 1971.
"If you don't win the Ivy, you're not going to get in the NCAA tournament," Lewullis said. "We try not to get overconfident and try not to look at the rankings. What is a ranking anyway?"
That's the number that keeps getting smaller for Princeton, whose only loss was by eight points to North Carolina, which likely will be No. 1 next week.
Harvard (9-10, 3-5) trailed 44-24 at halftime and came within 49-35. Then Princeton used a 16-4 run in which Lewullis hit two 3-pointers. It built the lead to 65-39 with 9:25 remaining and led by 21 to 30 points the rest of the way.
"It was a good example of our inexperience against their experience," said Harvard coach Frank Sullivan, who started just one senior. "You'd be hard pressed to find five guys who have that much experience playing in big games."
Princeton started three seniors and two juniors, while one of Harvard's best players, freshman Dan Clemente, was sidelined with a sprained ankle.
"We really had trouble guarding Gabe," Sullivan said. "He showed that with his shooting."
Lewullis hit 8 of 10 shots, including 6-of-8 3-pointers. Steve Goodrich also went 8 for 10 and added 18 points for Princeton. Harvard was led by Bill Ewing with a career-high 12 points and Tim Hill with 11.
Princeton made 30 of 44 shots from the field, including 12 of 24 from 3-point range. In the first half, they went 16-for-21.
"Those guys just don't get flustered," Sullivan said.
Neither team took a free throw in the second half of the game played before a rare sellout crowd at Harvard of 2,198. They watched Carmody improve his Ivy record to 20-0 in two seasons as coach of Princeton.
"When I came here I was just so excited to be ranked," Princeton senior Mitch Henderson said. "None of us consider us to be a Top 10 team."
Harvard, which dropped below .500 for the first time in two seasons, suffered its fiftconsecutive loss. But it shot a respectable 50 percent, making 22 of 44 shots.
The Tigers took a 10-2 lead on Goodrich's 3-pointer 2:15 into the game. Harvard closed to within 20-14 on Hill's five-footer 9:07 into the half.
Then the Tigers scored 12 of the next 14 points, ending the surge on Lewullis' 3-pointer 6:43 before halftime and taking a 32-16 lead.
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