Princeton’s defense is desperate for a turnaround

“You are what your record says you are.” – Bill Parcells

Princeton’s record says “we are not very good.”

Unable to hold an eight-point lead at the half last night at Fairleigh Dickinson, the Tigers surrendered an unfathomable 64 second-half points, losing to the Knights, 89-85. In one eight-minute stretch in the second period, the teams combined for 29 points, 25 of which were entered in FDU’s ledger.

Although Princeton outshot and outrebounded the Knights, the Tigers sent their opponent to the free throw line 41 times. FDU canned 31 free throws to the Tigers’ 20. Perimeter defense has been a trouble spot for Princeton as six straight opponents have bettered 40 percent from beyond the arc. Last night the FDU sharpshooters made 6 -of-6 in the second half.

When a team scores 85 points, the offensive stats are bound to be inflated somewhat, especially for a team averaging in the 60s. But when you give up 89, the offensive stats are essentially irrelevant. Senior Clay Wilson deserves mention for his efforts last night. The three-point specialist from Oklahoma did his thing five times in seven attempts, going 4-for-4 in the first half, helping the Tigers build an eight-point lead at the break. Wilson’s 15 points in 20 minutes were most efficient. Amir Bell continued his steady rise at point guard, leading the Tigers with 38 minutes on the floor, scoring 12 points and handing out five assists.

FDU’s backcourt tandem of Matt MacDonald and Mustafa Jones torched Princeton for 51 between them. Ouch!

The Tigers return to Jadwin, the scene of the Incarnate Word debacle, Saturday against Stony Brook, which currently sports a KenPom rating of 138 to the Tigers’ 190. Princeton athletic director Mollie Marcoux denied media speculation that the women’s game Saturday, in which unbeaten Princeton hosts Georgetown, was scheduled before the men’s game in the hope that the crowd will stay for the nightcap.

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