Ian Hummer moved up two spots on the career scoring list for the Princeton University men’s basketball team last Friday as the Tigers hosted Brown.
The senior forward scored 15 points in Princeton’s 63-46 win over the Bears to give him 1,455 points, moving him up to fourth all-time, passing Craig Robinson ’83 (1,441) and then Pete Campbell ’62 (1,451).
Hummer, though, is focused on the moment, not his place in Tiger hoops history.
“I want to go out and play as best I can, I want to put two halves together,” said Hummer, when asked what the scoring milestones mean to him. “There have been a couple of times where I have had some good first halves … and I have kind of shot away the second half.”
In the victory over Brown, Hummer liked the way the Tigers played collectively.
“A lot of guys are stepping up,” said Hummer. “I think Denton Koon made a couple of jump shots and went 3-for-3 on 3-pointers. Hans [Brase] is playing quite well. Will [Barrett] is playing well. T.J. [Bray] is playing extremely well. Brendan Connolly is really stepping up. Overall, it is an inside-out effort. We have athletic, mobile forwards and guards.”
Still, Hummer saw room for improvement. “Even though it was a good win, we need to rebound better, myself included,” said Hummer.
“A couple of their guys had offensive rebounds. If we cut those out and cut down on our turnovers a little bit, we are looking pretty good.”
A night later against visiting Yale, the Tigers committed 16 turnovers and things didn’t go well as Princeton fell 69-65 to suffer its first loss this winter in Ivy League play.
In reflecting on the setback, Hummer acknowledged that he wasn’t at his sharpest.
“I kind of forced the issue,” said Hummer, who ended up with 14 points, six assists, and five rebounds in the loss which dropped Princeton to 11-8 overall and 4-1 Ivy.
“I had seven turnovers, which is way too many. It is more the fact that I forced a little too much rather than them frustrating me. The last couple of games I have been taking care of the ball and cutting down on my turnovers. This is first game in a little while where I have had a lot of turnovers so I have to play a little better and lead my team.”
Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson tipped his hat to Yale, who shot 65 percent in the first half to lead 34-26 at intermission.
“I thought Yale played lights out,” said Henderson, whose team came into the evening riding a 21-game home winning streak in Ivy play.
“They got us on our heels and we never responded. We never had a counter punch. We made a little bit of a run but it is a disappointing result. I thought they were terrific. They turned us over and we have been taking care of the ball nicely.”
The Tigers had the chance to pull out the win as they had the ball with 38 seconds left in regulation and trailing by 67-65. Princeton, though, couldn’t get a shot and ended up losing the ball and Yale made two free throws to seal the victory.
“At the very end without being able to get a shot off, that really hurt us,” said Henderson, reflecting on that final sequence.
“We wanted to get the ball to the basket. Against a zone, you have to get it inside and I think that pass that was turned over was just a poor angled pass into the post. We just got spread out and there was a lot of deferring; somebody has got to make a play.”
Henderson was disappointed with his team’s failure to make plays on 50/50 balls.
“As a coach of this team and as an alum, I don’t think this is what Princeton basketball should be about,” lamented Henderson.
“We lost a lot of loose balls and we didn’t come up with the rebounds that we needed to come up with. Those things have been hallmarks of this program for a long time.”
Still, Henderson believes that Princeton can live to the program’s tradition of winning Ivy titles.
“We have got nine games left,” said Henderson, whose team trails Harvard (13-7 overall, 5-1 Ivy) in the league standings and plays at Dartmouth (6-14 overall, 2-4 Ivy) on February 15 before playing at the front-running Crimson a day later.
“I never thought we were going to go undefeated in the league. I am disappointed to lose at home; we have been playing really well. I am disappointed and I know the guys are too but we are not hanging our heads for a second here. We are going to get right back out there.”
Hummer, for his part, is confident that the Tigers will remain in the title chase.
“I think we still have the mindset that we are one of the better teams in the league,” said Hummer.
“This doesn’t change it at all. It stinks that we had to lose at home and lose against a team I thought we could play well against.”