HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – A furious second-half comeback by Princeton, cutting a 16-point deficit to one with less than a minute to go in regulation, fell just short, as the Tigers lost to Hofstra, 81-77, at the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex Wednesday evening.
The big question facing the Tigers as they squared off against in-state rival Fairleigh Dickinson was the status of Tosan Evbuomwan, their most reliable front court player. Tosan missed Princeton’s last outing a loss at Monmouth on Thanksgiving Eve, due to injury. His presence might have spelled the difference in a winnable game lost in the final 10 minutes of play.
Henderson had scouted FDU, who came into Jadwin having lost all four of their starts this season. His conclusion was that his team would have to play very well, and certainly better than it had in West Long Branch, if it was to succeed against a gritty FDU squad.
Evbuomwan was able to play and, in fact, turned in one of his better performances tonight. As it turned out the Tigers needed career scoring highs from three players, including Evbuomwan, to hold off FDU, 89-79, in a very exciting college basketball game.
The Princeton men traveled across the country to meet Oregon State, winner of last year’s Pac-12 championship and Elite 8 darling. Tiger fans recall the six-year tenure Craig Robinson had as head coach in Corvallis.
The Tigers held the lead for most of Sunday afternoon’s contest. In the end, Princeton managed to survive a late run by the home team, which came from 11 points down in the final five minutes to get within one.
Powered by the best all-around game in the career of senior guard Ethan Wright, Princeton managed an 81-80 victory.
The Princeton Tigers concluded a very busy opening week of the new season tonight, entertaining the Red Foxes of Marist and coach John Dunne. It was the fourth contest for coach Mitch Henderson’s club in eight days. Tiger fans will remember Dunne from his days at St. Peter’s whom he coached in a game played at Dillon Gym, the only time the old gym was used for Division I men in over 50 years.
Princeton expected an exciting game. Marist lost its season opener in overtime against American, which is coached by former Tiger Mike Brennan, On November 12, the Foxes thrashed Ivy foe Columbia by 15.
The Tigers put together their best outing thus far, administering a sound beating to the visitors, 80-61. Although the Tigers (3-1) posted four players in double figures the real story tonight was written at the defensive end. Princeton’s harassing swarms, featuring a lot of doubling down low was reminiscent of the 2017 Ivy champions. The Foxes (1-2) were forced to settle for a lot of uncomfortable shots. For the evening Marist shot 36% from the floor and 30% from deep. These percentages were higher in the second half when the outcome was no longer in doubt.
Announcers and writers around the nation focused a lot of attention to the 600-plus days between games for the Ivy League. While many expected the teams to be a bit rusty out of the gates, the Ancient Eight acquitted itself quite well in the season’s first week.
Thirteen of the league’s 16 teams had at least one win, with the Princeton and Columbia women notching three victories each. The Brown men almost upset No. 19 UNC without their top player, and the Princeton men just missed out on winning the Asheville Championship.
Check out some of the highlights from a very successful and welcome week of Ivy hoops:
George “Toothless Tiger” Clark recaps two huge wins for Princeton Friday: the women’s 76-56 victory at Delaware in junior guard Julia Cunningham’s best game as a Tiger and the men’s 66-62 triumph over South Carolina in the opening game of the Asheville Championship with a stellar performance from junior forward Tosan Evbuomwan:
Two days after the Media Day for Ivy women’s hoops, the men had their turn at the virtual podium. A day prior, the results of the preseason poll were released. While five different teams earned top votes, the overall totals showed no changes from the last day of competition in 2020.
Yale, two-time defending Ivy champion, was again picked to come in first with 115 points and seven first-place votes. Harvard, the 2019 co-champion, was close behind, tallying 110 points and four first-place votes. Princeton, the 2017 title winner, closed out the top tier with 108 points and two first-place votes.
Penn, the 2018 co-champion, secured the last slot in the upper division with 93 points and two first-place selections. Brown, which last held the title in 1986, again found itself behind the Quakers for fifth place with 79 points and a pair of title votes.
Dartmouth, which last entered the winner’s circle in 1959, was tabbed in the six slot with 43 points, four points more than Cornell, which last held the top spot in the Sweet Sixteen season of 2010. Columbia, the 1968 champion, was projected to finish last with 25 points.
As this Ivy non-season progresses, we thought it’d make sense for us to do an Ivy Hoops Online contributors’ roundtable looking ahead to next season, assuming there is one:
It feels like déjà vu all over again.
For the second year in a row, the Princeton men’s basketball team is emerging from its exam break at the top of the Ivy League standings and looking primed to make a run for an Ivy League title after sweeping arch rival Penn in back-to-back games to open the conference season.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Exactly one year ago, the 2018-19 Tigers stood in exactly the same position. That Princeton squad of a year ago started conference play by sweeping Penn in back-to-back games and then beating the New York schools on the road to start the Ivy campaign at 4-0. Hopes of an Ivy League title began to rise until calamity struck and Princeton lost the services of one of its transcendent stars, Devin Cannady. Without their senior co-captain, the Tigers slumped through the rest of the Ivy season, losing six of their final 10 regular season games and finishing a disappointing third in the conference standings.