Princeton men’s basketball 2018-19 season recap

I attended the University of Virginia during the Barry Parkhill era, earning a law degree in 1972. Needless to say I was elated when my “borrowed heroes” captured the Cavaliers’ first national championship. Their “worst to first” turnaround brought to mind the Miracle Mets’ run to the World Series in 1969 while I was in Charlottesville.

It is time, however, to return my attention to my real heroes, the Princeton Tigers, the season just concluded and the prospects for the future.

Read morePrinceton men’s basketball 2018-19 season recap

Ivy Madness media day tidbits

 

  • Penn men’s coach Steve Donahue noted Penn’s “interesting path” to the Ivy League Tournament, which included a 0-3 start to league play for the second time in three seasons, Antonio Woods noted he’ll shoulder the burden of guarding Bryce Aiken, and AJ Brodeur said that it may be more difficult to play Ivy teams than Big 5 teams because the Ivies know the Red & Blue so well and are more prepared to face them.

Read moreIvy Madness media day tidbits

Q&A with Princeton associate head coach Brett MacConnell

In an in-depth interview, Princeton associate head coach Brett MacConnell talks about filling in for an ill Mitch Henderson during Princeton’s win at Dartmouth last weekend, the Tigers’ many personnel changes this season, another Ivy Defensive Player of the Year-caliber campaign for Myles Stephens and why Jaelin Llewellyn could be a future Ivy Defensive Player of the Year, Richmond Aririguzoh’s development and impact guarding the post, his own path to becoming associate head coach and much more:

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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Princeton ekes past Dartmouth, bows to Harvard

With a record of 7-3, the Tigers headed to New England for the Dartmouth-Harvard trip needing a win on the weekend to punch its ticket to Ivy Madness. The fact that the Tigers’ record against their four remaining opponents contained all three of those losses and only one of the wins was a matter of grave concern to the Tiger staff. The lone win was a 69-68 nail-biter in Jadwin against the Friday foe, Dartmouth’s Big Green.

The staff itself suffered an unexpected loss when its head coach was unable to answer the bell in Hanover. Mitch Henderson was forced to scurry from the floor just prior to tip-off, suffering from what we shall describe as “flu-like symptoms.”

Read morePrinceton ekes past Dartmouth, bows to Harvard

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.

Read moreEverything is on the line for Princeton this weekend

Princeton pulls away from Columbia, 79-61

The Tigers’ 79-61 defeat of the Columbia Lions last night was the hardest-fought “blowout” I have ever seen.

The Lions, arriving at Jadwin after a stunning upset at The Palestra, had their sights set upon the rare road sweep of what used to be known as “The Killer Ps.” The back-and-forth play in the first half indicated the winner of this game was going to earn it.

With about a minute  and a half to go in the first half, a long three from Jerome Desrosiers, the Tigers’ sixth of the opening period, broke a 29-29 tie. Fifteen seconds later, a Desrosiers steal resulted in two free throws by freshman Max Johns, sending the Tigers into intermission leading, 34-29. Princeton coach Mitch Henderson liked what he was seeing on both ends of the floor but knew he was in another typical Ivy League scrap.

Read morePrinceton pulls away from Columbia, 79-61

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.

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

With three weeks to go, where does Princeton stand in the Ivy League title chase?

It’s been an up and down season for the Princeton men’s basketball team.  During the nonconference schedule, the Tigers see-sawed up and down, with jaw-dropping losses and heart-stopping wins, including the largest loss in program history to Duke and a win for the ages at nationally ranked Arizona State.

The roller coaster ride has continued for the Tigers during the Ivy League season.  The conference slate began with a surprising four-game winning streak, including a thrilling, back-to-back sweep of arch-rival Penn.  As Princeton entered the heart of its conference schedule, the Tigers sat in the catbird seat, atop the Ivy League standings with a perfect 4-0 record.  Even better, the team learned that its senior co-captain and leading scorer and rebounder, Devin Cannady, would be allowed to return to the team after serving a three-game suspension for a violation of team rules.  The future looked bright.

But then the roller-coaster suddenly dived downward again.  A second straight road weekend took its toll on the Tigers as Princeton was swept convincingly by Yale and Brown.  A third straight loss by nine points at home to Harvard on Friday night dropped Princeton to fourth in the League standings, and suddenly the season sat on a precipice.

Read moreWith three weeks to go, where does Princeton stand in the Ivy League title chase?