The Ivy League’s longstanding policy of only extending eligibility to student-athletes in their first four years of undergraduate enrollment, as expected, is prompting an increasingly long list of talented seniors becoming graduate transfers.
Things have not calmed down after Tuesday afternoon’s bombshell announcement from the Ivy League and its eight presidents that this weekend’s Ivy League Tournaments were canceled, making the league the first conference to cancel tournament play.
The conference likes to refer to its tournament as Ivy Madness. To paraphrase Harvard senior Seth Towns, the 2018 Player of the Year, it’s more like Ivy Mayhem.
The final regular season game followed a great storyline. One of my favorite coaches spurred his team to its best offensive showing of the season, 60% shooting from the field, 64% from deep, five players in double figures and 85 points in a win. The problem for me is the favorite coach is Brian Earl, skipper of the Cornell Big Red, who masterminded a terrific game plan in the 85-82 Cornell victory.
The Tigers claimed one of the four slots available in the Ivy League Tournament with a 71-49 thrashing of the Brown Bears in Providence last night. The key to the win was a signature defensive effort reminiscent of some of the best Tiger teams in the long and illustrious history of the program.
Princeton focused on the Bears’ formidable “Big Three” of Brandon Anderson, Zach Hunsaker and Tameneng Choh, holding the talented trio to a combined 33 points on 12-for-39 shooting from the field. No other Bear player scored more than six.
The game did not start out as a Tiger rout. Brown jumped out to a 5-0 early lead, but two Jaelin Llewellyn threes restored order after five minutes. Jerome Desrosiers and Drew Friberg came off the bench to spark a 9-0 Tiger surge giving the visitors an 18-10 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the opening period. Later, Desrosiers would feature prominently in a 13-0 Tiger run leading to a 40-28 halftime advantage.
Drew Friberg continued his hot streak in the second half. His long three at the 17:05 mark maintained the 12-point Tiger lead, but sparked a 14-0 run to put the game away. With eight minutes left and the score 56-33, Princeton coach Mitch Henderson was able to reach far down the bench.
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.
Saturday night in the Ivy League … you just never know!
The Tigers canned 13 three-pointers Saturday evening against the visiting Harvard Crimson. They needed every one of them, plus two Richmond Aririguzoh free throws with 3.9 seconds to go, to hold off the relentless Crimson, 70-69, before the largest home crowd in recent memory.
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.
One month into the 2019-20 season, the Princeton men’s basketball team is off to its worst seven-game start against Division I competition since the 1984-85 season, in which it started 0-6 and then 1-6 against Division I teams. The Tigers opened their 2019-20 campaign with five straight losses before finally shooting their way to a win at Bucknell last Saturday. Princeton fell flat in the second half against the Drexel Dragons Wednesday night and lost again on the road. The Tigers’ 1-6 start echoes the frustrations of the 1979-80 team, which also struggled out of the gate at 0-5 and finished the nonconference schedule with a 4-11 record.
However, that Tigers squad of 40 years ago scratched its way to a tie for the Ivy League title before falling in a playoff game by a single point to Penn. Can this year’s team come together in similar fashion once Ivy League play begins? Here is my assessment of what ails the Tigers at the halfway mark of the nonconference season.
The Tigers’ prospects entering Saturday’s road game at Bucknell were not bright. Ken Pomeroy’s analytics suggested a six-point Bison triumph. Princeton fans, while not at all pleased with the 0-5 start, were quick to point out that their opponents were a collective 27-4. While Bucknell is projected to finish second in the Patriot League, the Bison are off to a mediocre 3-5 start, including most recently a 20-point thrashing by Yale.