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 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 typically wild weekend road trip to Boston and Hanover is over, and the Tigers survived with one of their goals, a berth in Ivy Madness, well within their grasp. We may well look back on this trip as the time Jaelin Llewellyn’s total game was on display at an absolutely crucial juncture for his team. Recognizing the need to step up in the absence of Ryan Schwieger, Llewellyn courageously embraced the challenge and, to put it mildly, delivered.
On Friday at Harvard, Llewellyn almost single-handedly kept the Tigers in the game to the last seconds, leading the scoring with 22 points. If he has had a weakness this season, it has been his inefficiency from deep. He takes more three-pointers than anyone else, but came into the weekend converting an unacceptable 25%. His 21 points on Saturday night gave the Tigers the spark they needed, and included 5-for-7 from beyond the arc. The final score, 65-62 Princeton, tells very little about the game.
Last night’s contest between the Tigers and the Brown Bears matched two clubs apparently heading in different directions. The Bears, winners of five straight, including a win the previous night in Philadelphia, came in focused on a shot at the league title. The Tigers, on the other hand, had squandered their hot start by failing to be competitive in two of their last three outings. The humiliating loss to Yale was galling in every way. The question for Mitch Henderson was how his kids would respond just 22 hours later.
The winner of this one would at least maintain a hold on second place and move a step closer to Ivy Madness.
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.
Once again, Mike Tony has posted an excellent recap of Penn’s frustrating outing at Princeton Friday night. It might be worthwhile for Tiger fans to consider the significant elements of the sweep and what the implications may be going forward.
Tiger basketball fans got a rare opportunity to watch both their men’s and women’s teams in a doubleheader Sunday. The women continued their amazing start with a 40-point thrashing of New Hampshire, 77-37. The Tigers’ Player of the Year candidate Bella Alarie enjoyed her 37th career double double with 18 points and 11 rebounds in just 21 minutes. Earlier this week the Tigers reached the USA Today Top 25 and received seven votes in the AP rankings. The Ivy slate opens on January 11 at The Palestra.
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.