Penn men no match for disciplined and balanced Princeton

There may be a new schedule for Ancient Eight rivalries, but the Penn men had an all too familiar result against Princeton on Monday afternoon.

The Quakers, despite getting within two around the halfway point of the second half, could not keep up with the more disciplined and deeper Tigers, ultimately falling at Jadwin Gymnasium, 74-64.

This is Penn’s 11th loss in the last 14 meetings between the historic rivals, while Princeton picked up its ninth win in a row and 11th straight at home.  The Tigers sit atop the standings with an undefeated 4-0 record (14-3 overall) and the Quakers fall to 3-2 (6-12 overall).

Things started off well for the Red & Blue, jumping to a 17-11 advantage in the game’s first eight minutes.  Unfortunately, the Orange & Black used a 9-0 run to spark the team to a 22-19 lead at the under-eight timeout.

A Clark Slajchert jumper from just inside the foul line kept the Princeton lead at three with just under five minutes, but Tosan Evbuomwan hit two straight baskets, including an uncontested driving slam dunk, to put the Tigers up 32-25.  Jelani Williams hit a three and Evbuomwan hit a layup with 18 seconds left to finish the first half scoring.

The Tigers shot 53% (8-for-15) from two and 36% (5-for-14) from three over the first 20 minutes, while the Quakers hit 44% from inside (11-for-25) and 40% (2-for-5) from outside. The Quakers entered the game taking over 43% of their shots from three, but the Tigers forced them into a 17% three-point rate and took away a major offensive threat.  In addition, Princeton held Jordan Dingle, the Ivy League’s second-best scorer, to zero points on 0-for-5 shooting.

After Max Johns hit a driving layup to make it an eight point game with 14 minutes left in regulation, Willams and Max Martz combined for a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to two, 51-49, at the 10-minute mark.

The Tigers would bounce back and go on their own 6-0 run, punctuated by an old-fashioned three off an Ethan Wright layup, to get the lead back to eight with just under seven minutes remaining.

Dingle finally got on the scoreboard, scoring five points in a 45-second span to cut the deficit to five with just under five minutes to go, but a Jaelin Llewellyn reverse layup and an uncontested three by Wright from the left elbow stretched the lead to 10 and put the game away for the Tigers.

Princeton ended the afternoon shooting 58% from two (18-for-31) and 35% from three (8-for-23), around their typical numbers of 57% and 38%.  Penn made 54% (26-for-48) of its inside shots, while only hitting on 25% (3-for-12) from downtown.  While the Quakers did better than their season success from two (54% vs 50%), their three point effort (25% shooting vs 36%, 20% rate vs 43%) was hampered by the Tigers’ tenacious outside defense.

In addition to holding Penn to only three three-pointers, Princeton limited their opponents’ chances at the free throw line.  Despite being a typically physical game between the two long-time rivals, the Tigers only committed ten fouls and allowed the Quakers to shoot five free throws.  Princeton meanwhile took 17 shots, making 14, from the charity stripe.

The Orange & Black had another balanced scoring attack with four players in double digits.  Wright led the way with 16, while Matt Allocco added 12, Drew Friberg had 10 and Llewellyn, in his first game off the disabled list since the team’s opener against Columbia, had 11.  Evbuomwan didn’t join that group but had his usual stat-stuffing line of nine points, six rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block.  Johns added seven key points for the victors, in only eight minutes of action.

The Quakers were led by Williams with 13 points, Slajchert with 10 points and George Smith, who had nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds.  The team also received another solid effort from Michael Moshkovitz, who finished with 12 points and four boards, but the battle with Evbuomwan left him in foul trouble during the decisive part of the second half.

Dingle finished the day with nine points, but they came off of a 25% effort and arrived too late to make a difference. The team’s most prolific and best shooter has averaged 16 points on 47% shooting in the Quakers’ three wins, but only managed to average nine points on 24% from the field in the two defeats.  As Penn looks to battle for a slot in Ivy Madness, it will need more consistency from its All-Ivy star.

Things don’t get easier for the Red & Blue as they welcome undefeated and preseason title favorite Yale (8-8, 2-0) to the Palestra.  The Orange & Black will head up to Leede Arena to put its unblemished league record on the line against Dartmouth.

Both games start Saturday at 2 p.m. and can be viewed on ESPN+.