Princeton thrashes Bucknell, gives itself a merry Christmas

The Tigers concluded the Jadwin portion of their out-of-conference schedule on a very positive note last night, dealing the Bucknell Bison a solid thrashing, 89-77. The final margin is somewhat misleading since the Tigers maintained a margin throughout the second half sufficient to allow coach Mitch Henderson to get playing time for every player on the roster.
For the first 10 minutes, the contestants sparred with each other, searching for opportunities to establish separation. Opportunity knocked for the Tigers at the 8:55 mark. Leading by a thin 22-18 score, leading scorer Henry Caruso, experiencing a scoreless half for the first time this season, grabbed a tough offensive rebound. Caruso found Spencer Weisz outside the arc near the left baseline. The three-pointer gave the Tigers a seven-point lead and spurred them to a 24-4 run. The Tigers led at the break, 48-29, with nary a point from Caruso! The Tigers’ effort on defense was extraordinary, as Chris Hass, a probable All-Patriot League first-teamer, was held in check by Steven Cook.

In the second half, the Tigers maintained a substantial margin throughout. Bucknell closed to within 12 at the end, as Hass got hot, mostly against the Tigers’ second line players. Hass had a game-high 21.

For those of you who like to compare scores, Columbia defeated Bucknell in Lewisburg three weeks ago, 72-61.

As a team the Tigers outrebounded the Bison, 41-22. The disparity was built on the offensive glass where the Tigers managed a 12-2 margin, leading to a decisive 22-0 difference in second-chance points.

Four Tigers reached double figures, led by freshman Devin Cannady, whose 17 points matched his career best. The rookie’s stat line is eye-opening: 17 points, two assists, two blocks and three steals, all in 22 minutes! Weisz notched another double-double, 14 points and 10 rebounds. Caruso, who found his stroke in the second half, and Cook each had 13. Amir Bell ran an excellent floor game, adding six assists. Ten Tigers broke into the scoring column.

A beaming Henderson was quite satisfied with the manner in which his club defended the home court, describing the night’s work as “… a really good win.”

Other than a Division III game after the exam break in late January, the Tigers will not play a relevant game on the Carril Court until Feb. 5, 2016, when the defending champion Harvard Crimson come to town. Princeton closes out 2015 at Miami next Tuesday before launching into 2016 at Hampton and Norfolk State. The Ivy campaign opens at the Palestra with an attractive men’s and women’s double-header on Jan. 9.

Happy Holidays to all.

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