Looking back at memorable Ivy postseason games

Pete Carril after the 1996 playoff win over Penn
PAW Archives
Before the arrival of the new four-team tournaments, Ivy League playoff games were a rare treat, used to break ties and determine which team would advance to the NCAA Tournament. Princeton played in the playoffs 10 times (eight for the men, two for the women), including these memorable games:

1959 — The first Ivy playoff game, Princeton vs. Dartmouth, was a heartbreaker for the Tiger men as future NBA star Rudy LaRusso scored in the closing seconds to give the Big Green a 69-68 win.

1981 — The Princeton-Penn rivalry was in full force in the early ’80s, with playoff games in back-to-back seasons. In 1981, freshman guard Bill Ryan ’84 and the Tigers, topped the Quakers 54-50 in Easton, Pa. — payback for Penn’s 1-point victory on the same floor a year earlier.   

1996 — In another Princeton-Penn classic, Sydney Johnson ’97 put the Tigers ahead for good with a key three-pointer in overtime. But the biggest news came from the postgame locker room, where head coach Pete Carril wrote a two-word message to his team on the chalkboard: “I’m retiring.”

1999 — The Princeton women worked to contain Dartmouth star Courtney Banghart, the national leader in three-pointers per game, but a second-half surge led the Big Green to a 66-49 win, denying the Tigers a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Eleven years later, Banghart would lead Princeton to its first tournament bid, as its head coach.

2011 — Douglas Davis ’12’s buzzer-beating jump shot stunned Harvard and earned the Tigers’ first NCAA Tournament bid in seven years. At 2011 ESPY Awards, the shot was featured in the top 10 plays of the year.