The Tigers became the first team to qualify for the Ivy League Tournament by defeating Yale, 71-52, on Friday in New Haven. Princeton’s ninth straight Ivy win (and 12th straight overall) was the first for Tiger skipper Mitch Henderson in John J. Lee Amphitheater.
Ray Curren, writing for NYC Buckets, described the game as a “complete performance” by the visitors and, indeed, it was. Devin Cannady demonstrated why he is one of the deadliest “catch and shoot” guys in the country. He caught fire early and often. His 20 first-half points propelled the Tigers to a most unexpected nine-point cushion at the break, 38-29. For the evening, the Indiana sophomore tied his career high with 29, including a ridiculous 7-for-8 from long range.
On most nights, Myles Stephens’ work would have produced the headline. The local product (Lawrenceville, N.J.) has been a consistent double figure scorer for Henderson and he has fashioned a compelling resume for Ivy Defensive Player of the Year. Against the Bulldogs he scored 20 points, while adding two blocks and two steals.
As a team, Princeton shot 59 percent overall, 13-for-23 from beyond the arc, and 6-for-6 from the free throw line. This would have been a huge night at home, on the road, it was astounding. Two big runs, 11-2 in the first half and 13-3 in the second, made things comfortable for the Tigers.
While the offense was impressive, the Tigers once again dominated a very good offensive team with its tenacious man-to-man defense. Alex Copeland, who torched the Tigers with 21 at Jadwin Gym, was held to just eight Friday night. Miye Oni led the Bulldogs with 12. The Tigers had 21 rebounds, but, remarkably, none of those came on the offensive glass. The stingy Tigers grabbed eight steals and blocked four shots. Throughout the Ivy campaign, Princeton has rarely allowed its opponents to get their preferred shots. Their constant switching and doubling inside often leaves an open man on the perimeter but usually that guy is more than one pass away.
Last year, Cannady came off the bench, often with spectacular results. As a starter this season, his shooting percentage has declined somewhat, perhaps a function of the different role he has been assigned. Other than his 29-point explosion against Brown in early January, he has not been a big factor in the Tigers’ scoring column. In fact he was held scoreless at Harvard in the Tigers’ biggest win of the season, at least to that point, two weeks ago. One had a feeling Cannady was due for a big night. Boy, did he get one last evening when the Princeton needed it most!
The Tigers now move on to Providence for a 6:00 p.m. start tonight against Steven Spieth and the Brown Bears.