As the 2015 portion of the schedule winds down the pecking order in the Ivy League appears to be established along familiar lines. Ken Pomeroy ranks just one Ivy squad, Yale, in the Top 100 at No. 95. Harvard, on the strength of an excellent showing in Hawaii, has jumped to No. 109. The Tigers check in at No. 114, while Columbia remains in a holding pattern at No. 129, even while riding the crest of a five-game winning streak. The only surprise has been the rapid maturing of the Crimson, whose relative inexperience was not an issue in wins against BYU and Auburn and a near miss against No. 2 Oklahoma. Many knowledgeable observers now predict a likely continuation of Harvard’s unprecedented domination of the Ivy League.
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.
Maryland’s Terrapins played as one would expect the No. 6 team in the nation to play last night at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore. The Tigers held their own in a gritty first half effort, at one point mounting a six-point lead, and were still in it at the break, trailing 35-31.
The bigger, stronger, faster and deeper Terrapin squad wore down its outmanned antagonists in the second half, cruising to an 82-61 win, a decisive margin for Maryland after a respectable wire-to-wire effort by the Tigers. Maryland coach Mark Turgeon had tried for several years to schedule a game in Baltimore to give its considerable fan base there a chance to see his club live and up close. More than 11,000 fans showed up at Royal Farms to welcome the Terrapins for the first time in 16 seasons. Maryland ran its overall record on this floor to 10-2.
Most Tiger fans viewed Thursday night’s contest with the visiting Liberty Flames as little more than a warmup for Saturday’s collision with No. 6 Maryland in Baltimore. This was especially the case after last season’s blowout at Carril Court, which preceded wholesale changes in the basketball staff.
Princeton coach Mitch Henderson knew better: “Ritchie McKay has won everywhere he’s coached, including his first stint at Liberty. This is a very young team (youngest in D1 actually) and they look much different now than they did just a month ago.” McKay coached the Flames for two seasons before joining Tony Bennett’s staff as associate head coach at Virginia. With the program floundering, McKay, whose daughter is a student at Liberty, was asked to return. His starters are all freshmen and sophomores.
The Tigers accomplished their objective on the weekend trip to Nashville: Stop the losing streak at two games. Princeton came away from Music City on the long end of a 78-64 score against the Lipscomb Bisons.
History was made by the Tigers in this one, as they took control early on, cruising to a bench-clearing romp in which they led by as many as 20 in the second half. Three Tigers, Henry Caruso, Pete Miller and Spencer Weisz, had double-doubles, something that had never occurred in program history.
The Tigers suffered their second straight loss on the road against a talented St. Joe’s squad that, like Stony Brook, features a future NBA player in DeAndre Bembry. An AAU teammate of Spencer Weisz, Bembry led the Hawks in most categories, including a game-high 26 points. With his tall and very athletic frontcourt mates, he established a disruptive and intimidating presence around the basket, blocking a number of Tiger close-in looks, and affecting a number of others.
The final margin, 62-50, is somewhat skewed by the “march to the free throw line” tactic of the last two minutes. Make no mistake, however, St. Joe’s was clearly in control after the first five minutes.
Jameel Warney demonstrated why he will be a draft pick in the next NBA draft this afternoon as Stony Brook defeated the Tigers, 91-77, on the victors” court.
Warney”s sixth double-double this season (26 points and 15 rebounds) kept the Seawolves comfortably in control throughout the contest, as the Tigers (4-1) never led. A 9-0 run to start the second half got the Tigers within two at 41-39, but after a timeout the Seawolves went an an 11-3 run of their own. Warney added seven blocks and eight assists to his fabulous effort, looking like a man playing with boys. Henry Caruso and Devin Cannady each posted 16 points to lead the Tigers. After posting more casino than 90 points in two straight games, the Tigers surrendered 91 to a very talented Stony Brook quintet, which has held the lead in 119 of its last 120 minutes on the floor. Shooting north of 60 percent from the field certainly helps and that”s exactly what the Seawolves did against the overmatched Tigers, who were outrebounded 35-14 on the defensive glass.
The Tigers head to a Tuesday contest at St. Joe”s, which beat Columbia last night in Manhattan..
For our latest installment of Ivy Hoops Plus, a feature in which we shine a light on the many impactful works that those with Ivy ties are doing off the court, we caught up with former Princeton forward Kareem Maddox (’11). The 2011 Ivy Defensive Player of the Year and league champion is now producer of Colorado Matters for Colorado Public Radio. Last year, Maddox founded Piqued, a website that features interviews with intriguing minds from all walks of life, with fellow Princeton graduate Nick Antoine. Maddox tells us about what motivated him to start Piqued, and his Piqued interview with another Princeton basketball legend, Armond Hill (’76).
Ivy Hoops Online: How did Piqued come about?
Kareem Maddox: The idea for Piqued started as a conversation between Nick Antoine and me. We were a few years out of undergrad and were talking about how much we missed learning about the broad range of subjects taught at Princeton. We realized, “Why do we have to stop? Let’s seek out experts, ask them questions, and share what we learn with our friends.” That’s how the name came about—the interviews were about topics that “piqued our interest.” The website started off with just print interviews and over time we began adding additional features such as illustrations. We plan to add podcasts very soon.
IHO: Are there other publications or websites that helped inspire Piqued’s mission, or did Piqued come from a general lack of publications that focused solely on curiosity-based conversation?
“I feel like a tiger right now. There”s nothing impossible if you get up and work for it.” – Michael Flatley
I include this quote from stepdancer Michael Flatley because coach Mitch Henderson could not have choreographed the start of the Tigers” season any better. Princeton is 4-0, the only remaining undefeated Ivy, thanks to an offense that has simply blown opponents away, even if the competition has been middling so far.
Princeton beat Fairleigh Dickinson, 91-61, Monday at Jadwin Gym, with junior forward Henry Caruso posting 27 points on 10-for-11 shooting in just 24 minutes, adding 10 rebounds for good measure. In the three games since Hans Brase was ruled out for the year with a torn ACL, Caruso is averaging 21 points per game on 22-for-28 shooting. Caruso is a guy who gets the shots that he wants and he deserves special mention here. But why else has Princeton been successful so far?
In his recap of Saturday’s Ivy action, Mike Tony described Princeton’s win against Saint Peter’s as “gritty,” thereby stealing the story line from Old Toothless. Both teams displayed toughness and resilience. The Tigers were fortunate to hang on at the end for a 75-72 victory in the contest played at Dillon Gym, which last hosted varsity basketball in January 1969.
Pete Miller controlled the opening tap, resulting in a Steve Cook layup four seconds into the game. The Tigers needed the remaining 39:56 to add the third point to the winning margin.