ITHACA, N.Y. – The Cornell Big Red may have had just two wins in 15 tries against Division I competition entering Saturday afternoon’s contest against the visiting Princeton Tigers, but they took Princeton wire-to-wire in a 73-62 triumph at Newman Arena in a game that started 19 hours later than originally scheduled due to inclement weather.
“It was good to get a win,” Cornell coach Brian Earl said. “[We] finished it out in somewhat the way you should.”
The Tigers (9-9, 4-1 Ivy) came out very flat and made a lot of mistakes. They had nine turnovers in the first half, contributing to the Big Red (5-13, 2-3) taking a 35-22 advantage into the locker room.
“[Because of the weather], they couldn’t get in the gym [on Friday],” Earl said. “Their bus ran off the road yesterday, so I think just sitting around can hurt you.”
Coming out of the last of the historic three-week schedule interruptions required by the antiquated Princeton academic schedule, coach Mitch Henderson, as usual, did not know what to expect from his team.
Three years ago, Dartmouth on the road awaited the Tigers after the break. The Big Green were more than ready for the sluggish, rusty Princeton squad, who might have been looking ahead to the next evening’s matchup with Harvard. In any event the Tigers in Hanover went to the locker room at halftime trailing for the first and only time that Ivy season. Only a heroic second half effort by Player of the Year Spencer Weisz saved the Tigers that night en route to a 16-0 record against Ivy competition.
It feels like déjà vu all over again.
For the second year in a row, the Princeton men’s basketball team is emerging from its exam break at the top of the Ivy League standings and looking primed to make a run for an Ivy League title after sweeping arch rival Penn in back-to-back games to open the conference season.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Exactly one year ago, the 2018-19 Tigers stood in exactly the same position. That Princeton squad of a year ago started conference play by sweeping Penn in back-to-back games and then beating the New York schools on the road to start the Ivy campaign at 4-0. Hopes of an Ivy League title began to rise until calamity struck and Princeton lost the services of one of its transcendent stars, Devin Cannady. Without their senior co-captain, the Tigers slumped through the rest of the Ivy season, losing six of their final 10 regular season games and finishing a disappointing third in the conference standings.
For the second year in succession Princeton faced off against the Iona Gaels on a neutral court. Last season in Atlantic City, the Tigers overcame a double-digit Iona lead in the second half when then-freshman Drew Friberg came off the bench to make three long-range bombs. Last night, at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, with Net-In-Waiting Devin Cannady at courtside, the Tigers followed a similar script in even more dramatic fashion.
Two struggling New Jersey clubs squared off Saturday afternoon in Stratis Arena on the campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University. The Knights, defending champions of the Northeast (NEC) Conference, had stumbled to a 2-7 early record. The visiting Princeton Tigers sported a similarly dismal 1-7 mark, including two buzzer-beating losses at home to ASU and Monmouth.
Analytics guru Ken Pomeroy projected a one-point Princeton win. The Tigers may have blown a Pomeroy circuit board as they pulled away in the second half, cruising to an 80-65 win, the 150th in Mitch Henderson’s head coaching career.
PRINCETON – The Tigers welcomed intrastate rival Monmouth to Jadwin Gym Tuesday evening in what has become a most entertaining series.
Last year, these two teams struggled to score against each other in what looked at times more like a street fight than a basketball game. A late Devin Cannady three-pointer gave the Tigers a 60-57 win. Mitch Henderson and his Hawk counterpart, King Rice, each arrived in their current positions in 2011. They have become good friends over the years as well as rivals on the court.
Tiger fans were treated Tuesday evening to something they have sorely missed this young season: an exciting nail-biter of a college basketball game. The Arizona State Sun Devils capped off an eastern swing seeking revenge for last year’s remarkable upset at the hands of the Tigers in Tempe. In the end ASU got its revenge, but not before the Tigers pushed them into the final seconds with the outcome very much in doubt. A long baseline three by ASU’s Khalid Thomas inside of five seconds left settled the matter, 67-65.
The Ivy League launched the 2019-20 campaign with an impressive 5-2 men’s record on opening night, highlighted by Penn’s nail-biter at Alabama, 81-80. (Dartmouth was idle.)
The evening’s lowlight occurred at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, where the Tigers collapsed in the second half, losing to A-10 foe Duquesne, 94-67.
Seeing it through
Brown notched an outstanding 67-63 win at Jadwin Gym, hanging on after nearly surrendering a 60-47 lead with 2:17 left. Brandon Anderson was the best player on the floor off the bench, posting 21 points and three steals in just 28 minutes, his trips to the foul line and jumpers setting back the Tigers any time they got even a modicum of momentum. Brown’s defense shut Princeton down early and often, holding the Tigers to 0.79 points per possession and collecting a whopping 25 turnovers from the hosts.