For Princeton men’s hoops, the kids are alright

Princeton men’s coach Mitch Henderson has seen his team win seven straight games. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

The big question entering the 2022-23 season for the Princeton men’s basketball team was how coach Mitch Henderson was going to replace the contributions of an outstanding cadre of seniors who helped lead the Tigers to an Ivy League championship last season.

Nine games into the season, that question has partially been answered. A dynamic trio of freshmen is blending nicely with four returning upperclassmen to win big games for the Orange and Black.

After a disappointing 0-2 start to the season, the Tigers have come together to win their last seven games. ‘

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Rookie production, Mitchell dominance key in successful weekend for Princeton squads

In his latest report, Ivy Hoops Online writer George “Toothless Tiger” Clark highlights key rookie contributions in the Princeton men’s 83-63 win at Drexel Saturday and Ellie Mitchell’s stat sheet-stuffing dominance in the Princeton women’s 65-51 victory at Maine:

“Leper treatment” for top Ivy men’s teams needs to stop

Princeton men’s coach Mitch Henderson has struggled to line up strong in-state nonconference competition for his Tigers, but not due to a lack of trying. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

What do Hofstra, Colgate, Siena, Loyola Chicago, UMass and Vermont all have in common? They are all solid mid-major men’s basketball programs and willing to travel to the home gym of a top Ivy team.

It doesn’t seem like a big deal on the surface, but it is.

Consider Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights have one natural rival in their 153 years of playing college sports. Not Penn State. Not Syracuse.

Princeton.

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Princeton men overcome Northeastern to win London Basketball Classic

Ivy Hoops Online writer George “Toothless Tiger” Clark on how Princeton men’s basketball pulled off a great escape to nick Northeastern and win the London Basketball Classic:

Princeton men outflank Army, 74-66, in London Basketball Classic

Ivy Hoops Online writer George “Toothless Tiger” Clark recaps how Princeton topped Army to advance to the title game of the London Basketball Classic in a Thanksgiving performance that Tiger fans can be grateful for:

Princeton men hold off Marist, 62-55

Mitch Henderson led Princeton to a second straight road win with its victory at Marist. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Ivy Hoops Online writer George “Toothless Tiger” Clark recaps how Princeton came out on top in a tale of two halves at Marist Saturday night:

 

Princeton women shoot their way past Fordham in ensemble effort

Junior guard Kaitlyn Chen helped lead Princeton to a 70-67 win over Fordham Wednesday evening, posting 19 points on 8-for-9 shooting, four rebounds, three assists and one block in 30 minutes. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)
Carla Berube’s Princeton squad squared off Wednesday evening against a Fordham program that fielded a team that defeated the Tigers last season in the Bronx, 76-67.
But for the second straight game, Princeton avenged a loss from last season by hanging on to notch a narrow 70-67 win over a very talented and veteran Rams team at Jadwin Gym. The Tigers (3-1, 0-0 Ivy) had turned the tables on in-state rival Seton Hall two nights earlier.

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The dam breaks for Princeton men in 94-64 romp at UMBC

Princeton men’s coach Mitch Henderson watched his shooters misfire repeatedly in the Tigers’ first two games, both close losses. Henderson wasn’t worried.

“I know these kids can shoot, and I know the shots will start to fall,” Henderson said.

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Mitchell dominates the glass as Princeton women prevail at Seton Hall, 62-58

Junior forward Ellie Mitchell posted an eye-popping 23 rebounds and six steals to go with her eight points in Princeton’s win at Seton Hall Monday night. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Carla Berube knew her Tigers were in for a rough ride at Seton Hall Monday night.

The Pirates, one of the beasts of the Big East, handled Princeton last year at Jadwin Gym, 70-60, on their way to 24 wins and a long run in the WNIT, reaching the championship game after dispatching Columbia in the Elite Eight.

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Cornell men pick up where they left off by pushing tempo

The Cornell men have picked up right where they left off last season.

Through three games, the Big Red are 2-1. They lost at the buzzer on opening night to Boston College, 79-77, before routing SUNY Delhi in a lopsided 57-point laugher.

Cornell defeated Saint Francis (Pa.), 80-77 Monday despite surrendering multiple double-digit leads. The Big Red led 70-57 with 5:11 remaining, but several Cornell fouls gave the Red Flash opportunities at the free-throw line. Max Watson, a junior college transfer, split a pair of free throws in the closing seconds for the Big Red, and a St. Francis half-court heave missed the mark, securing the Cornell victory.

The impressive part about Cornell’s quick start has been the changed offensive approach from Cornell coach Brian Earl. A disciple of Pete Carril, Earl came to East Hill in 2016 with the typical slow, methodical Princeton offense. In the 2019-20 season, Cornell ranked 314th in adjusted tempo and 325th in average possession length, per KenPom.

But after a year off from the COVID-19 pandemic, Earl came into 2021 with a much quicker pace. Cornell ranked 16th in adjusted tempo and third in average possession length, per KenPom.

The Big Red have continued that trend this season. In three games, Cornell is 16th in adjusted tempo and 17th in average possession length amongst 363 Division l teams. In comparison, former Princeton teammate Mitch Henderson’s Princeton squad is 207th in adjusted tempo and 256th in average possession length after a convincing 94-64 win over UMBC Monday.

Cornell has also continued its balanced scoring approach. Seven players are averaging eight or more points through the Big Red’s first three contests, led by senior Greg Dolan at 15.7 points per contest. On Monday, Sean Hansen scored 26 points to lead the Big Red, blowing away his previous high of 13 points last season.

And the team has much more room to grow, too. Sophomore guard Nazir Williams, although scoreless Monday, has shown flashes of 20-point-per-game potential and has seemingly improved his decision-making. The same goes for junior guard Chris Manon, who is averaging 10.7 points per game.

Junior forward Keller Boothby, who shot 49% from deep last season, has made just six of his first 21 treys this season. That clip is sure to improve.

After Cornell faces crosstown foe Ithaca College on Friday, it enters the most crucial portion of nonconference play.

On November 22, the Big Red host Canisius, which is fresh off an overtime victory against St. Bonaventure. Three days later, Cornell travels to New Jersey to play Monmouth in its first season as a member of the Colonial Athletic Association. Six days later, the Big Red will travel to Delaware before heading home to battle Lafayette on December 4.

Games against Miami and Syracuse, both projected NCAA Tournament teams, are sandwiched around a 10-day break for exams.

We’ll know a lot more about this Cornell squad in the coming days and weeks. But so far, the Big Red seem to be clicking well. Earl is continuing to build in Ithaca, and the reigning Ivy League Coach of the Year is hungry to lead Cornell back to Ivy Madness and, potentially, the program’s first NCAA Tournament since 2010.