Princeton notched its fourth season sweep of Penn in the past five seasons Saturday at the Palestra, once again overcoming an early deficit to grind out an ugly win over its arch-rival and defending Ivy League champion.
The 62-53 victory for Princeton (9-5, 2-0 Ivy) came despite the Tigers making just three treys (on 16 attempts), committing five more turnovers (13) than Penn (10-6, 0-2), missing 17 of their first 19 shots from the floor while turning the ball over seven times in the first 13 minutes and shooting 32.3 percent from the floor overall (20-for-62). Princeton’s emerging standout Richmond Aririguzoh turned the ball over three times in the first four minutes, and Penn built an early 20-10 lead with 6:55 to go in the first half, a throwback (on a night of throwbacks) to Penn’s 19-10 lead early in the first half at Princeton last Saturday.
But Princeton again clawed back with intense defense and tenacious offensive rebounding, forcing a 27-27 tie at halftime and methodically clamping down as the second half continued, breaking a 41-41 tie via a Devin Cannady with 11:18 to play and never surrendering the lead again. A Bryce Washington three slimmed Princeton’s lead to 54-50 with 96 seconds left, but an Aririguzoh layup over AJ Brodeur in isolation on the ensuing possession set up the Tigers to salt the game away from the foul line, where Penn arguably lost the game (7-for-13 vs. Princeton’s 19-for-21).
Aririguzoh was spectacular again, turning in 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting, nine rebounds (four offensive) and two blocks to earn his second straight KenPom game MVP honor versus Penn.
Princeton also enjoyed double-doubles from seniors Myles Stephens and Cannady, who again shot poorly (4-for-18) but gouged Penn from the foul line (10-for-10 after going an uncharacteristic 0-for-2 versus the Red and Blue at Jadwin Gym last Saturday).
Brodeur posted 16 points and 12 rebounds, but he missed nine of 14 two-point attempts, including multiple jump hooks in the paint down the stretch that he typically buries.
Penn again was ice cold from long range against the Tigers, shooting 6-for-21 (28.6 percent) en route to scoring just 0.77 points per possession overall. Again, neither standout rookie for the Ps made a significant impact offensively; Princeton’s Jaelin Llewellyn and Penn’s Michael Wang combined to score seven points on 2-for-16 shooting.
Penn honored its 1978-79 team that went to the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four Saturday, hosting its Alumni Game before the main event.
Princeton’s next game is at home versus Wesley on Jan. 27 after fall exams, and it opens non-Penn Ivy play at Columbia and then Cornell on Feb. 1-2.
Penn has Big 5 tilts each of the next of the next two Saturdays at Temple (its final game versus the Owls with former Penn coach Fran Dunphy at their helm) and versus St. Joseph’s before a Cornell-Columbia road trip. As travel partners, both Ps have two consecutive Ivy road weekends to resume league play.