A depleted and dispirited Tiger squad faced off with an amped up Brown Bear quintet last night at Jadwin. The Bears came in with a chance to play themselves into next week’s Ivy Madness. Their 67-63 wire-to-wire smackdown of Princeton sends them to The Palestra with their tourney aspirations very much alive. The winner of tonight’s Brown-Penn meeting will be in the tournament. Their wins on Friday night against teams already in the field eliminated Cornell, an ironic end for Brian Earl’s dreams on the night his Big Red defeated Harvard, the probable No. 1 seed.
The Tigers took their floor without Ryan Schwieger, their leading scorer over the last four games. He is reportedly “day-to-day” under concussion protocol. Of course, the season’s leading scorer, Devin Cannady, took a leave of absence
from the university.
Led by Brandon Anderson, the Bears took control early. The Tigers managed to get within two midway through the first half, but the Bears dominated the initial stanza. The lead at the break was eight, 31-23. Henderson went deep into his bench, sending 10 players into action. The results was an abysmal 16 turnovers and a stone cold 2-for-13 from deep.
The second half was more interesting but, ultimately, more disappointing. Henderson continued his near-frantic search for an effective combination. Too late, he eventually found some magic. By then, the horse had escaped the barn.
Trailing 60-47, Henderson deployed a swarming 1-3-1 defense with the intimidating presence of Myles Stephens at the top. The tactic created some confusion for the Bear offense. Sparked yet again by the irrepressible Jose Morales, referred to by Henderson as his “junkyard dog,” the Tigers forced several empty Bear possessions. A Jaelin Llewellyn three pulled the Tigers within five, at 60-55 with 1:16 remaining. Twenty seconds later two Morales free throws kept the Tigers within five. Ten seconds after that, Morales drilled a long-range bomb to get Princeton within two for the first time since the 9:41 mark of the first half. Alas, a Tamenang Choh layup settled the affair when the Bears broke the Tigers’ press and their hearts.
The final was a 67-63 win for the Bears which was not, as we say, as close as the score might suggest.
Richmond Aririguzoh had another double double (20 points, 11 rebounds) to lead the Tigers. Brandon Anderson had 21 to lead all scorers. The Hun school product, Desmond Cambridge, whose wondrous three gave the Bears an overtime thriller last year in Jadwin, was held to nine points, all in the first half, thanks to the stellar defensive work of Myles Stephens. Stephens and Llewellyn each canned 11, while Morales added 10 mostly in the second half flurry. Freshman Ethan Wright deserves mention for his career high 10 rebounds. His nine scores narrowly missed a double double.
The Tigers appear to be limping into Ivy Madness. If Brown gets in the Tigers will be a No. 4 seed in a field against which they may be 0-6. Only a win tonight against the Bulldogs on Senior Night can restore their dignity. The game may not have much of an impact on the league standings, but it means a great in terms of preparation for the tournament to be contested on Yale’s home court.