Brown all-time moment No. 2: Winning at Princeton for the first time

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. Brown is next because losing records at Jadwin were meant to be broken. 

A lot of Brown supporters fell in love with the program all over again on Valentine”s Day 2003, a day that provided definitive proof that the Bears were back after years of struggling prior to coach Glen Miller taking over four years prior.

That day, Brown won at Princeton for the first time ever in 53 tries.

Brown defeated the Tigers at Jadwin Gym, 80-73, driven by Jason Forte”s team-high 18 points and Alai Nuualiitia”s 16 points on 8-for-8 shooting from online casino the field. A 19-6 run starting at the 12:40 mark of the second half clinched the win for the Bears, as a late Princeton comeback fell short.

After the game, Miller and Forte stressed that the historic win was actually just business as usual.

“We didn”t place any extra emphasis on this game,” Miller said. “We played like a team that expected to win.”

“The media may have hyped this game, but we remained focused and played like a team,” Forte said.

They were right. The win was business as usual, as it capped a nine-game win streak that catapulted Brown atop the Ivy League at 7-0 in conference play. The Bears eventually finished second behind Penn, the only Ivy to beat Brown that season (twice).

Still, Brown”s Jadwin triumph was perhaps the most memorable moment involving Forte, Nuualiita, Earl Hunt, Mike Martin and other Bears who made the early to mid-2000s a special era of Bruno basketball.

3 thoughts on “Brown all-time moment No. 2: Winning at Princeton for the first time

  1. I am responsible for Brown defeating Princeton in 2003.

    Sure, Earl Hunt, Jason Forte and Alai Nuualiitia played important roles but, down the stretch, I was the difference maker.

    A bit of back story to begin. It was Valentine’s Day and I asked my girlfriend if she wouldn’t mind spending the evening watching Princeton basketball. She was a good sport and we made the drive to Jersey. By the way, she was a captivating, beautiful blonde woman with a perfect, magazine-worthy body. That has nothing to do with basketball, but I just like thinking about her. She got her graduate degree from Harvard and today does important development work in Africa. Quite a woman.

    Anyway, back to the story. Brown led by 13 with four minutes to play, but the Tigers rallied furiously. In the last half-minute, Ed Persia was clutch, hitting a three-pointer and then a two to bring Princeton all the back to within three points, 76-73, with 16 seconds left. Of course, the Tigers applied immediate full-court pressure on the subsequent inbounds play. Little-used substitute and football quarterback Matt Verbit guarded the inbounds passer while Persia was the first line of defense behind him.

    Persia made his third consecutive great play, getting a finger on the inbounds pass and then diving to the floor to secure the loose ball. That’s when I stepped in the record book of college basketball history.

    I have been to innumerable Princeton sports events and watched almost all of them stoically. Through victory or defeat, I usually sit quietly, taking in the scene, never one to yell or cheer.

    My girlfriend and I were sitting on the court-side roll-out wooden stands, maybe 12 yards from Verbit and 15 from Persia. For some inexplicable reason, after sitting there mute throughout the entire game, I shouted out loudly, “Call time out! Call time out!”

    Verbit instantaneously wheeled turned toward the referee and obediently called time out. The officials blew their whistles and halted play. Only instead of sending the players to their benches, they converged at center court and quietly began to talk among themselves. The fans and players looked about in confusion. After what seemed an interminable delay, the refs walked over to tell the two coaches what had happened: Matt Verbit had called time out, but the Tigers had no time outs left. Earl Hunt would go to the line for two technical foul shots and the Bears would get the ball afterwards. Game over.

    No team in college basketball history had ever beaten a single opponent at home more years (53) without a defeat than Princeton had defeated Brown (though, since 2003, North Carolina has extended its home streak against Clemson to take the Tigers’ record). Brown had never won in New Jersey until, for reasons I will never know, I opened my big mouth to step into the history.

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