The Princeton men’s basketball team had a chance to make history on Sunday afternoon in a matinee matchup with St. Joseph’s at Hagan Arena. A win and the 9-0 Tigers would have started the season 10-0 for the first time in the illustrious history of Princeton basketball.
It didn’t happen. The Hawks defended their home court, 74-70, in front of a raucous crowd and halted Princeton’s nine-game winning streak, the second longest in the nation.
Here are three takeaways from Princeton’s first setback of the season:
Princeton men’s basketball suffered its first loss of the season Sunday in a 74-70 defeat at St. Joseph’s. Ivy Hoops Online contributor George “Toothless Tiger” Clark brings us the audio of the press conferences that followed and a recap of the action between Princeton (9-1) and St. Joseph’s (8-2):
St. Joseph’s coach Billy Lange comments on the future of the series with Princeton, why his program scheduled the Tigers and more —
Princeton coach Mitch Henderson, Xaivian Lee and Dalen Davis reflect on the Tigers’ first loss of the season —
Our George Clark recaps the action and puts it in context —
PHILADELPHIA — Clark Slajchert took a quick dribble as Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard flew by, freeing the senior up for a wide open three from the wing he routinely hits.
If it went down, it would have pushed Penn to a 49-47 lead over the Associated Press No. 16 Wildcats with 15 minutes to play, completing a comeback from 16 points down.
The shot looked good but came up a little short. It was a microcosm of the afternoon for the Quakers, who gave Kentucky fits for the better part of 30 minutes in what wound up being an 81-66 loss.
Despite having the ball with a chance to tie or go ahead three times in the second half, Penn (6-5) never could quite get over the hump against the Wildcats. A 9-0 Kentucky run around the under-eight media timeout, capped by an open Antonio Reeves three, pushed the Wildcats’ lead from four points to 13 and put the game out of reach.
What could Penn fans take away from a solid showing against one of the most decorated programs in college basketball?
After taking a gut-punch loss to La Salle on Saturday, Penn responded by easily brushing aside Division III Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham on Wednesday at the Palestra, 111-57.
As is expected in a game against a Division III team, Penn could give regulars like Nick Spinoso, Tyler Perkins and Clark Slajchert light workloads. Slajchert scored 17 points on eight shots in just 15 minutes of action; he got virtually the entire second half off.
By the end of the evening, 14 different Quakers had scored. Penn also hit a program-record 21 three-pointers.
There aren’t many meaningful Quakeaways one can take away from a Division III tune-up game. But there’s certainly much to mull over ahead of Penn’s big-time game on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center against Associated Press No. 16 Kentucky.
Maybe these can be Palestra Ponderings on a possible path to victory instead.
There is no denying that Yale men’s basketball has tremendous talent. From the one through eight slots, Yale may have the best talent in the Ivy League.
But there is also no denying that another adjective applies to the Bulldogs. Coach James Jones used that word very pointedly in his postgame comments after a 75-71 loss to Fairfield at John J. Lee Amphitheater Wednesday night.
The Princeton women’s basketball team rebounded from a disappointing loss on Sunday to Rhode Island with an efficient win over Quinnipiac, 79-70, Wednesday night at Jadwin Gym.
The Tigers were led by sophomore guard Madison St. Rose, who scored 17 points and assisted on four other Princeton baskets. For her efforts, St. Rose was named the Player of the Game by the ESPN+ broadcast crew. It was a night of career highs for several other Tigers, including senior co-captain Kaitlyn Chen, who dished out a career-high 10 assists, the most of any Tiger since Blake Dietrick accomplished the same feat in 2014.
Unlike nearly every other Princeton game this season, the Tigers came out blazing from the opening tip, hitting their first seven shots en route to an early 15-5 lead. The Tigers exploited a height advantage in the paint, working the ball methodically into a pair of twin towers: Parker Hill and Paige Morton. Hill, a 6-foot-4 junior from Bethesda, Md., was unstoppable, sinking seven of nine field-goal attempts for 14 points, while Morton, a 6-foot-3 junior from Summit, N.J., came off the bench for a career-high eight points.
Despite facing a bigger and more athletic opponent, Quinnipiac, who defeated Rhode Island in their last outing on a buzzer-beater, would not go away. A layup by forward Grace LaBarge punctuated an 11-4 run and brought Quinnipiac to within two with two minutes to play in the first quarter. The 6-foot-3 junior came off the bench to score 20 points, tops among all scorers. The first stanza ended with the Tigers clinging to a narrow lead, 19-16.
Princeton continued its torrid shooting in the second quarter as just about everyone got in on the action. Junior guard Amelia Osgood, who hadn’t seen any playing time in Princeton’s previous two games, rattled home a long three to extend Princeton’s lead to 34-22. Coach Carla Berube dove deep into her bench, rotating in 12 different players in the first half. The Tigers led by 10 at the break, 44-34, behind 16-for-26 shooting for a blazing 73%.
In the second half, the Tigers continued to find points in the paint. With 3:47 to go in the third quarter, Mari Bickley, a 5-foot-10 freshman guard from Akron, Ohio, made an athletic move to the cup off a long feed up court from Chen. With the bucket, the Tigers led by twelve, 56-44. Bickley scored seven points off the bench for the Tigers, one of seven Princeton bench players to score in the game, a season high.
In the fourth quarter, the Tigers’ defense stiffened, getting stops on Quinnipiac’s first five possessions. A pair of free throws from junior forward Paige Morton put Princeton up by 17, 76-59, the largest lead of the night for the Tigers. From there, the Tigers coasted home to a 79-70 victory.
While coach Carla Berube may not have been entirely pleased by Princeton’s defensive effort in this game, the Tigers looked more connected and confident on offense than in any other game so far this season. Overall, the Tigers sank 33 of their 58 field goal attempts, or 56.9%, one of their best shooting performances of the season. Even more impressive, the team combined for 22 assists, by far their highest number of helpers this season.
During a postgame interview with ESPN+, St. Rose revealed the team has a goal of at least 15 assists per game. The Tigers well exceeded that threshold against Quinnipiac, a primary reason they succeeded in getting back on the winning track.
The Tigers now stand at 6-3 on the season and travel across the Delaware River next Monday to face Villanova for what promises to be another tough and competitive nonconference matchup for Princeton.
In a contest featuring two of the nation’s top point guards, Yale’s Jenna Clark bested Stony Brook’s Gigi Gonzalez on the stat sheet, but the Bulldogs came out on the losing end to the Seawolves in a Wednesday matinee at Long Island’s Island Federal Credit Union Arena.
The senior from Pittsburgh finished the day with 26 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals for Yale, while Gonzalez totaled 19 points, five rebounds, two assists and one steal.
Ivy Hoops Online contributor George “Toothless Tiger” Clark recaps and reflects on Princeton men’s basketball improving to 9-0 with an 81-70 win over Drexel at Jadwin Gym Tuesday night: