Princeton stays tied atop Ivy League with Yale after taking control at Columbia

The Tigers enjoyed a nice bounceback effort against the Columbia Lions Sunday afternoon in New York. Suffering no ill effects from a desultory outing in Ithaca, five Princeton players reached double figures, led by Jaelin Llewellyn (19) and Ryan Schwieger (18), in an 81-74 victory at Levien Gym.

Richmond Aririguzoh made an emphatic statement for the visitors with 16 points and a team-high four assists, after suffering his worst performance of the season against Cornell. Using his great strength effectively, the senior made eight shots in nine attempts.

Jerome Desrosiers and Drew Friberg continued their excellent bench contributions with 10 and 11 points respectively, combining to make nine buckets in 14 attempts.

The Lions (6-16, 1-5 Ivy) quickly gained the lead at 5-0. Fears that the Tigers (10-9, 5-1) might dig themselves into a deep hole as they did the previous day were quickly dispelled by RA. It took the Tigers nearly eight minutes to claim their first lead but after they finally did on a Friberg three-point play, they would not relinquish it for the balance of the afternoon.

The lead was eight at the half. The Tigers managed double-digit leads in the second stanza, but Mike Smith almost single-handedly kept the Lions’ hope alive. The league’s leading scorer burnished his All-Ivy credentials with 30 points, canning 14 buckets in 25 tries.

The Tigers shot 55% from the field and a most satisfying 17-for-18 from the charity stripe. Llewellyn drove to the basket repeatedly drawing fouls in the process. He was a perfect 10-for-10 from the line.

The weekend split matched Yale’s record sending the Ivy co-leaders into a crucial showdown at Jadwin Gym Friday night. Brown’s weekend sweep keeps its title hopes aflame heading into the weekend against the Ps.

1 thought on “Princeton stays tied atop Ivy League with Yale after taking control at Columbia”

  1. Nice recap, George. Here are my top 7 reflections about the weekend:
    1. The setback at Cornell was very costly for the Tigers, although Yale losing at home to Harvard somewhat mitigated the harm. The scenario for Princeton winning the league remains the same: The Tigers MUST hold serve at home and win at least 2 of its 4 remaining road games. Realistically, this means there’s no more room for slip-ups like the loss at Ithaca.
    2. Kudos to Brian Earl and the Cornell coaching staff. They did a better job scheming a defense against RA than any team this season. Unfortunately, they revealed the blueprint for how to do this to every remaining Princeton foe. Coach Earl also did to Princeton what Princeton used to do to everyone it played in the 1990s. Cornell used opportunistic three-point shooting to open up the back door play. They coaxed a bigger and more athletic opponent into turning over the ball. They made their foul shots for the most part. They were patient on offense and got twice as many assists as their opponent. In short, Cornell looked a lot more like Princeton than Princeton.
    3. For Princeton to win, they need their big 3 to play well. In beating Columbia, Princeton got 19 points from Llewelyn, 18 from Schwieger, and 16 from Aririguzoh. In contrast, in the loss to Cornell, the Tigers got only 8 from Schwieger, and a quiet 10 from Aririguzoh. Llewelyn scored 13 points against the Big Red, but he needed 15 field goal attempts and 8 free throw tries to get them. Each of the big 3 committed 3 turnovers against Cornell. When the Big 3 play well, Princeton wins. When they don’t . . . .
    4. Jerome Desrosiers continued his resurgence and was once again the unsung hero of the weekend. He was the only bright spot of the game against Cornell, scoring a tidy 5 points on 2-2 shooting, including a 3, in only 12 minutes of play. On Sunday, he wrestled the game from Columbia, scoring the final 8 points of the first half and staking Princeton to a 39-31 halftime lead, which the Tigers never relinquished. Overall, Desrosiers scored 15 points over the weekend in only 28 minutes of play.
    5. The spark plug, Jose Morales, had a rough weekend. It’s feast or famine with Jose, and on Saturday afternoon his 5 turnovers off the bench (!) were disastrous. Although he had a better day on Sunday, he committed an awful turnover within seconds of entering the game, when he failed to track a routine pass as the Tigers were bringing the ball up the court. Overall, Jose turned the ball over 8 times in only 25 minutes of play.
    6. It was also not a good weekend for Tosan Evbuowman. On his first Ivy back-to-back weekend road trip, the freshman forward scored 0 points in 22 minutes. Could his starting role be in jeopardy?
    7. The big takeaway for me was this: Princeton’s defense was not good enough on this tough New York swing. Cornell shot over 49% against the Tigers and Columbia shot a sizzling 52.5%. That’s not going to cut it. Also, the rebounding effort just wasn’t there. The Tigers were out rebounded by Cornell 34-29. On Sunday, Columbia and Princeton each hauled in 28 caroms. To win the league, the Tigers need to play with the same defensive tenacity that they used to win their first 4 league games.
    Go Tigers!

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