Princeton done in by second-half collapse at Duquesne

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.

Read morePrinceton done in by second-half collapse at Duquesne

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.

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Princeton notches huge Empire State sweep sans Cannady

The Tigers entered their annual three-week winter exam break riding an emotional wave. Five straight wins following the expected wipeout at Duke, including two stunning wins over Big 5 champion Penn, catapulted the Tigers to the top of the Ivy heap at 2-0. Princeton coach Mitch Henderson hoped that the layoff would not impact the Tigers’ momentum facing the first two back-to-backs on the road.

Read morePrinceton notches huge Empire State sweep sans Cannady

Princeton falls to St. John’s, but Jaelin Llewellyn makes big splash in collegiate debut

The Tigers returned to Madison Square Garden for the first time since 2000 to play the St. John’s Red Storm in the Holiday Festival. For decades, the Holiday Festival was the premier event of the preseason, played between Christmas and New Year’s, employing an actual tournament format.

The final in 1964 was one of the most memorable games in that entire season, matching Bill Bradley’s Tigers against Cazzie Russell’s Michigan Wolverines. Bradley canned 41 before fouling out with the Tigers holding a 12-point lead. The five-minute ovation he received was unmatched in Garden history. Alas, the Wolverines fought back, winning 80-78.

In Dec. 1997, Princeton beat Drexel and Niagara to win the Festival title on its way to a 27-2 record and an eighth-place national ranking in the final AP poll of that season. Current Princeton coach Mitch Henderson was a Tiger co-captain.

Read morePrinceton falls to St. John’s, but Jaelin Llewellyn makes big splash in collegiate debut

Princeton bows to St. Joseph’s as defense gives way

Princeton did not expect its second straight contest against an A-10 foe to go as well as the first. St. Joseph’s, picked preseason number 2 in the conference and winner of three straight versus the Tigers, promised much stiffer competition than the 13th-ranked George Washington Colonials.

Princeton’s expectations were fulfilled.

Phil Martelli’s club, behind Lamarr Kimble’s 22-point second-half explosion, raced past the Tigers, 92-82, Wednesday in an intensely fought and entertaining battle.

Read morePrinceton bows to St. Joseph’s as defense gives way

Princeton pulls away past George Washington, 73-52

On the most consequential night of the still young Ivy League season, the Tigers did their part by extending their modest winning streak to three games.  Although their effort will be overshadowed by Cornell’s near-miss at Syracuse in the Boeheim Bowl and Yale’s big win at Miami, the Tigers’ play against the A10’s George Washington deserves some recognition.

Princeton won, 73-52, but the final score is a misleading indicator of the proceedings. The outcome was very much in doubt after 12 minutes of play in the second half. While Princeton held single-digit leads through much of the game, the Colonials “hung around,” as we say, appearing poised to make a run at any time.

Read morePrinceton pulls away past George Washington, 73-52

Host Princeton bows to Fairleigh Dickinson, 77-66

The Tigers’ second Division I tilt, a home contest against Fairleigh Dickinson Wednesday, ended in a depressingly similar way to last week’s game at Lehigh.

Princeton held a 56-53 advantage at the 9:12 mark of the second period. The Tigers would not lead again. FDU went on a 20-7 run over the next eight minutes, coasting home with a convincing 77-66 road win. Tiger skipper Mitch Henderson alluded to the game as a “second punch in the face” for his club, per the Trentonian. For the second year in a row, the Knights have outscored the Tigers by 15 in the second stanza, although last year’s 22-point halftime advantage saved the Tigers.

The game started promisingly for Princeton, as Devin Cannady returned to the starting lineup, appearing to have recovered completely from what was described as a “high hamstring pull.” Cannady hit his first four threes from NBA range. His 15 points sent the home team into the locker room with a 34-30 lead.

Read moreHost Princeton bows to Fairleigh Dickinson, 77-66

Q&A with Princeton coach Mitch Henderson

Editor’s note: Our George Clark (Toothless Tiger) recently caught up with Princeton coach Mitch Henderson, who thoughtfully weighed in on Princeton basketball’s 2018-19 outlook, comparing the 2016-17 Tigers who went 16-0 in league play with last year’s 5-9 Princeton squad, previewing the program’s promising sophomore class, reflecting on rookie Jaelin Llewellyn living up to the hype, looking for Princeton’s defense to improve despite losing 2018 Ivy Defensive Player of the Year Amir Bell, explaining why Princeton and Penn are playing back-to-back in January this year … and much more:

Ivy weekend roundup – Mar. 2-3, 2018

What a wild and crazy Ivy season the 2017-18 campaign turned out to be.

The Ivy League finished first among all 32 Division I conferences with a whopping 39.3 percent of conference games being decided by four points or less or in overtime, a record for any conference in the KenPom era dating back to 2001-02, per Kevin Whitaker of NYC Buckets.

Every Ivy squad played in at least one league game that went to overtime, and the extra periods helped define at least two squads’ seasons in-conference: Harvard went 3-0 in such contests en route to a shared Ivy League championship, while Princeton went 1-4 to seal its first finish outside the league’s top four in 10 years.

Ivies went 39-17 at home in conference play, tops in Division I a season after they went just 28-28, worst in Division I in 2017.

Read moreIvy weekend roundup – Mar. 2-3, 2018

Princeton men’s basketball goes back to work

The Tigers’ annual January reading period and their forced three-week hiatus come to an end this weekend with visits from the Yale Bulldogs and the Brown Bears to Jadwin Gym. This is a good time to assess the season to this point and offer some predictions for the remainder of the Ivy campaign.

After a 2-6 start, the Tigers rebounded nicely, winning five of the final six out-of-conference games to conclude that portion of their schedule at 7-7. Princeton was bitten by the injury bug for the third time in as many years.

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