Princeton’s calamitous weekend leaves Tigers looking to atone in Ivy Madness

Princeton’s roller-coaster regular season ended in calamity this weekend.  In a season of ups and downs, the Tigers saved their worst for last, losing back-to-back games in convincing fashion at home to Brown and Yale.  After surrendering an astounding 25 turnovers to Brown on Friday night, the Tigers completely collapsed on Senior Night, losing by 22 points on Saturday to Yale, 81-59.  It was the most lopsided loss by a Princeton team at home to Yale in program history.

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Ancient Eight thoughts: Ivy Friday men’s edition

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.

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Princeton bows to Brown, 67-63

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.

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Everything is on the line for Princeton this weekend

Everything is at stake on Friday night when the Princeton Tigers men’s basketball team clashes with the Dartmouth Big Green in Hanover. And by everything, I mean winning an Ivy League regular season championship. That’s the goal for a program like Princeton’s every year.

Earning a berth in the conference postseason tournament is a nice reward, and one that Princeton very nearly has cemented at this point. But make no mistake, the real goal for Princeton this year—and every year—is to win an Ivy League championship. When you win an Ivy League championship, they put a banner in the rafters enshrining the memory of your team for eternity. Princeton players and fans are reminded of the glory of Princeton’s greatest players and teams every time they enter Jadwin Gym and gaze upon that awesome pantheon of conference championship banners hanging in the rafters.

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Ivy League announces conference tournament rotation schedule through 2025

On Wednesday, the Ivy League office announced that Harvard will host the 2020 Ivy League Tournaments on Sat., Mar. 14 and Sun. Mar. 15. In addition, the league also scheduled the tournament locations through the 2024-25 season, with each of the conference’s schools that haven’t already hosted getting a turn.

After holding the first two Ivy tournaments at Penn’s Palestra (seating 8,722) and scheduling this year’s event at Yale’s John J. Lee Amphitheater (2,800), the league has elected to follow a southern-central-northern pattern for future sites.  After Harvard’s Lavietes Pavilion (1,636), Ivy Madness will travel down south to Princeton’s Jadwin Gymnasium (6,854) in 2021, followed by trips to Brown’s Pizzitola Sports Center (2,800) in 2022 and Cornell’s Newman Arena (4,473) in 2023.  The event will move to the northern-most site at Dartmouth’s Leede Arena (2,100) in 2024, before finishing the rotation at Columbia’s Levien Gymnasium (2,700) in the spring of 2025.

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Princeton’s variety of contributors pays off in 68-59 win over Cornell

As a followup to Mike Tony’s excellent summary of last night’s Ivy League skirmishes, I offer some takeaways from the Tigers’ hard-fought win against Cornell at Jadwin Gym.

Richmond Aririguzoh (RA) turned in a season-best performance in Ithaca, scoring 20 points without a miss from the field in an overtime thriller. In a pregame conversation, Mitch Henderson was effusive in his praise for the Trenton product, stating flatly that he considers the 6’9″ junior the league’s best at his position.
Brian Earl was determined to prevent a repeat of the first game. He deployed two and sometimes three defenders on the big fellow. As a result RA was held to seven points, although he did corral eight rebounds. Earl won that battle but lost the war.

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Harvard pushes past Princeton, 78-69

Spirits were high at Jadwin Gym as last night’s battle for second place between the Tigers and Harvard got underway before a hyped up home crowd and a national TV (ESPNews) audience. Most knowledgeable observers and the oddsmakers predicted a one-possession game in the final minute, the type of game in which home court advantage might be crucial. For the most part, the somewhat limited success Princeton coach Mitch Henderson has enjoyed against Harvard coach Tommy Amaker has been at home.

Both teams experienced lackluster performances last week. The Tigers lost twice on the road (Yale and Brown) while the Crimson were stretched to the limit in a triple overtime win at home against Columbia, followed by a second-half collapse against Cornell on Saturday. Amaker surprised the Ivy community with a rare public putdown of his team, calling his players’ performance against the Big Red “selfish.”
The shoo-in All-Ivy point guard unleashed a Niagara Falls of scoring last week, including 45 against Columbia, almost willing his team to the win last Friday night.
The following Friday night, Aiken’s work against the Tigers would again prove decisive in a 78-69 victory for the visitors, in which Aiken outscored Princeton 20-19 himself in the final 8:10.
A fast start by the constantly improving Richmond Aririguzoh (RA) pushed the Tigers to a 15-8 lead after seven minutes. Undeterred, Harvard used some excellent ball movement and timely shooting to turn things around quickly. The Crimson reclaimed the lead, 21-19, with 9:33 remaining. From that point, Noah Kirkwood, a dazzling freshman talent, and Justin Bassey stymied the Tigers over the next three minutes, extending the visitors’ lead to 32-25. Jaelin Llewellyn’s lone three-pointer for the evening, followed quickly by a Sebastian Much bomb, one of 4 for the Californian, enabled the Tigers to get within one point, 33-32, at the break.
Aiken’s nine and RA’s eight were high for each team at that point. Henderson was quite satisfied with the defensive work of Myles Stephens on Aiken. Once again, Stephens was assigned to the opponent’s best player. Perhaps ominously for the Tigers, Devin Cannady’s first start at home following his three-game suspension was not going well. He was 0-for-4 from beyond the arc and 0-for-1 from the line. For all that, the Tigers were encouraged by the fact that the statistical battle was a virtual standoff through he first 20 minutes. Harvard’s six made free throws to three for the Tigers accounted for the slim Crimson advantage on the scoreboard.
Harvard controlled the play early in the second half, seizing a 42-37 lead after three minutes. A Much-needed (forgive me!) three-pointer kept the Tigers close. His tough layup at the 13:38 mark restored the lead for the Tigers and spurred a five-minute spurt by Princeton tom its largest lead of the evening 54-48 with 8:33 remaining.
With the Tigers holding a one-point lead at the 13:13 mark, Aiken crumpled to the floor in apparent agony. He had twisted his right ankle and was helped to the bench. Fortunately for the Crimson, he was back on the floor in less than a minute.
His presence turned the game around in a way observers will not soon forget.

An Aiken layup cut the lead to four with 8:10 left. RA countered with a layup. On the next Crimson possession, Aiken found himself isolated on Jose Morales. His eyes widened. With the clock running down, Aiken launched a long three-pointer. Morales committed the cardinal sin, sending Aiken to the line to complete the four-point play. Over the next three minutes plus, Aiken posted 11 points, propelling Harvard to a 10-point lead, 70-60, with 3:53 to play.
The Tigers eventually cut Harvard’s lead to 70-64 but would get no closer.
Aiken’s 24 second-half points showcased another phenomenal performance in his team’s successful effort to hold on to a share of second place in the Ivy standings at 5-2. The Tigers third straight loss leaves them at 4-3, still very much alive in the Ivy race.
For Princeton, RA shared scoring honors with Cannady (15), and both Tigers added three assists. Defensively, Aririguzoh held Chris Lewis to nine points in 18 minutes and Henry Welsh to none in 15. Sebastian Much had 14 points in 19 minutes. Jerome Desrosiers pitched in with seven points and five rebounds, all in the first half. He appeared just briefly in the second stanza. Cannady and Llewellyn combined to shoot 2-for-12 from deep. Harvard’s 10 threes to eight for Princeton spelled doom for the home team.
Looking ahead to tonight’s encounter with Dartmouth, one expects RA to get more touches and Morales less. A win tonight may be a critical component in the Tigers’ bid to return to Ivy Madness. A loss turns a promising start to the Ivy season into a desperate struggle to remain relevant.

Inside Ivy Hoops – Jan. 10, 2019

In the latest episode of Inside Ivy Hoops, Ivy Hoops Online editor Mike Tony is joined by Columbia women’s basketball coach Megan Griffith and IHO writer George Clark.

Mike and George recap last weekend’s Penn-Princeton doubleheader, preview the rematch between the Ps at the Palestra Saturday and weigh in other action from around the league:

Coach Griffith reflects on Columbia’s big win at Mercer Sunday, her team’s relative youth and the importance of confidence, her thoughts on the Ivy League Tournament and much more:

Mike notes the payoff of continuity and experience for Ivy men’s and women’s hoops this season – and the few rookies who are breaking through so far:

Can Princeton contend for an Ivy League title?

With back-to-back wins over No. 17 Arizona State and the defending Ivy League champion Penn Quakers, the Princeton men’s basketball team has their fans wondering whether the Tigers can contend for a league title.

A few weeks ago, thoughts of an Ivy League championship seemed wholly unrealistic.  After an exhibition win over Division III DeSales, the Tigers opened their Division I season inauspiciously with double-digit losses at Lehigh and at home against Farleigh Dickinson. Princeton’s prospects brightened after three straight wins over Monmouth, Maine and George Washington; however, both Monmouth and Maine were winless when Princeton played them, and George Washington was 1-6 when the Colonials invaded Jadwin Gym.

Another pair of double-digit losses to St. Joseph’s and St. John’s suggested that Princeton hadn’t cured its defensive woes of a season ago when the Tigers allowed nearly 72 points per game, worst in the Ivy League.  Then the Tigers suffered their most lopsided loss in program history, when the Duke Blue Devils thrashed Princeton by an astonishing 51 points at Cameron Indoor Stadium in a nationally televised game.

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Princeton has become a different team going into Penn rematch

Mike Tony posted an excellent recap of Saturday’s heart-stopping overtime victory by the Tigers over arch-rival Penn. I thought I’d share some of my own observations.

Pete Carril was on hand to welcome back one of his favorite teams, the 1969 Ivy Champions, celebrating the 50th anniversary of that title. Most of the members of that team returned, led by NBA first-rounders Geoff Petrie and John Hummer. The first game in Jadwin Gym, also against Penn, was played 50 years ago this month.

The Tigers of January are a far different team than the one that opened the Division I season absorbing a sound thrashing by Lehigh in Bethlehem. Let’s break down the changes, most of which have been positive.

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