Saturday, February 26, 2011

Game Recap: Cornell at Princeton

(photo by Stephen Goldsmith)
Below, recaps from Friday's action...

The Ithaca Journal

PRINCETON, N.J. -- In a matchup that looked nothing like a two-point game in the 50s played two weeks ago, Princeton shot a sizzling 62.3 percent and hit 10 of 18 3-pointers to beat Cornell, 84-66, Friday at Jadwin Gymnasium.

The Tigers successfully rebounded from last Saturday's 10-point road loss at Brown, which knocked them out of first place. Harvard (21-4, 10-1 Ivy League) stayed in first place with a 74-68 win at Brown. Princeton is now 21-5 overall and 9-1 in the league.

Sophomore forward Ian Hummer led Princeton with 20 points and nine rebounds. Guards Dan Mavraides and Doug Davis combined to shoot 9-for-15 from the three-point arc and totaled 32 points. In Princeton's 57-55 win at Cornell on Feb. 12, the backcourt pair had zero and nine points, respectively.

"That was a huge key to the game," Cornell coach Bill Courtney said in a post-game radio interview. "We couldn't pack it in on the big guys."

Chris Wroblewski led Cornell with 14 points, seven assists, four rebounds and four steals. Mark Coury scored 13 points, and Drew Ferry added 10. Cornell shot 37 percent (20-for-54) and missed 17 of 25 3-point attempts.

Princeton made 33 of 53 field-goal attempts. On the season, Cornell's Ivy League opponents are shooting 49 percent from the floor and 38 percent from the arc.

Cornell (7-18, 3-8) plays Penn at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Palestra. The Quakers beat Columbia on Friday, 64-54, to even their record at 12-12 on the year and go 6-4 in the league. Cornell beat Penn on Feb. 11, 82-71, in overtime.

Cornell trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half, but cut its deficit to four at halftime. Princeton kept trying to pull away, but Cornell answered into the middle portions of the second half. Two free throws from Johnathan Gray made it a 61-59 Tigers lead with 9:12 left in regulation.

But the hosts had one last spurt in them. Princeton scored 20 of the next 23 points to bury the Big Red.

Box Score

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Cornell sped up Princeton throughout the night, but the Tigers were able to pull away in the second half to keep step with first-place Harvard in an 84-66 win on Friday evening at Jadwin Gymnasium. Princeton remained unbeaten at home and improved to 21-5 (9-1 Ivy) with the victory, while the Big Red fell to 7-18 (3-8 Ivy) with the loss.

Chris Wroblewski scored 14 points, dished off seven assists, ripped down four rebounds and stole four passes, while Mark Coury (13 points) and Drew Ferry (10 points) were both in double figures as well. Cornell shot just 37 percent from the floor against Princeton's defense and was outrebounded 34-27.

Princeton put four players in double figures, led by Ian Hummer with 20 points, nine rebounds and four assists. The sophomore made 9-of-11 shots from the floor. Dan Mavraides (17 points, six assists) and Douglas Davis (15 points) combined for 32 points and nine 3-point baskets, while Kareem Maddox made 6-of-7 shot attempts and scored 13 points with eight rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocked shots. The Tigers shot 62 percent from the floor in the win and assisted on 25 baskets.

After playing a tight game in the mid-50s two weeks ago, this game had a much bigger track meet feel. Princeton led 41-37 and led by as many as 17 points in the first half (36-19) before Cornell ended the half on an 18-5 run to close the gap. Ferry and Johnathan Gray each hit 3-pointers and Max Groebe conntected on two during the run with Wroblewski assisting on all four baskets from beyond the arc. In all, Cornell's huge 16-4 scoring advantage off turnovers kept the visitors in the game.

A Wroblewski 3-pointer 15 seconds into the second half got Cornell within one (41-40), and then a basket by Josh Figini did the same, but the Tigers again grabbed control. With the score 61-59 with 11:22 to play, Princeton got on a roll, going on a quick 8-0 run over the span of just 1:30. Maddox began the run by finding Hummer for a layup, then ended the run with a conventional three-point play to push the lead to 10. The lead went under double figures just one in the final 10 minutes and steadily grew to as many as 19 before both teams went to the bench in the final two minutes.

Cornell returns to action tomorrow at 7 p.m. when it visits Penn at the Palestra.

Times of Trenton

PRINCETON TOWNSHIP — Sydney Johnson was more than happy to educate anyone who would listen when the cacophony of praise for his Princeton University men’s basketball game began reaching unreasonable levels before the Tigers had played a single game in the Ivy League.

This was not a Princeton juggernaut akin to 1965, 1989, 1996-98 or even 2004, when the Tigers last won the Ivy and reached the NCAA Tournament.

This, Johnson cautioned, was a work in progress with no superstars and a group practically incapable of running roughshod over the rest of the league.

Having spent most of his adult life either playing or coaching in the Ivy League, Johnson knew of what he spoke.

A week after Brown ended any ambitions Princeton had of leading wire-to-wire, Cornell gave the Tigers all they could handle for 31 minutes last night before a 20-3 second-half run powered an 84-66 Princeton victory in front of 3,864 at Jadwin Gym.

“Every game in the Ivy League is a battle,’’ senior guard Dan Mavraides said. “But as long as you are in control of your own destiny that’s all you can ask for.

“We have beaten all these teams already this season, so as much pressure as there is to win out, we’re in control of that.’’

The Tigers (21-5, 9-1) received a game-high 20 points from Ian Hummer, 17 from Mavraides, 15 from Doug Davis and 13 from Kareem Maddox to avoid consecutive losses for the first time since November.

Harvard was able to hold off Brown, 74-68, to remain a half-game in front of second-place Princeton in the Ivy League standings.

The Tigers streaked to an early 6-0 lead, but some of their 10 first-half turnovers allowed Cornell (7-18, 3-8) to pull even at 13-13.

With just under 13 minutes to play in the opening session, Princeton ripped off a 23-6 run spearheaded by four straight 3-pointers by Davis and Mavraides, and the Tigers’ lead was 36-19.

Cornell answered more like the two-time defending champion, as opposed to a team looking down at only last-place Dartmouth, as a 21-5 spurt ended the half with Princeton clinging to a 41-37 advantage.

The Tigers continued to unleash a barrage of 3-pointers over the first six minutes of the second half as Davis, Mavraides and Will Barrett all connected from long range, and the lead was 10 points (57-47).

Cornell managed to get as close as 61-59, but Hummer and the Tigers put the hammer down from there.

The 6-foot-7 sophomore was 9 of 11 from the floor, had four assists and grabbed nine rebounds as the Tigers, who return to Carril Court tonight looking to sweep the weekend against Columbia, made 10 of 18 3-pointersand outscored the Big Red 44-20 in the paint.

The entire Princeton basketball family paid tribute to Christian Michael “Crunch” Regulski prior to the game.

Regulski, 11, of Robbinsville, passed away Feb. 10.

“Crunch’’ was welcomed into the Princeton men’s program last season through the “Friends of Jaclyn.’’

The Trentonian

PRINCETON — The folks at Princeton are more than smart enough to figure out the simple math.

No room for error. That’s what the Tigers have if they want to reach the NCAA tournament with five games remaining this season.

They took the first step toward that last night with an 84-66 victory over Cornell at Jadwin Gym.

“We have to understand that we’re trying to play our best basketball and can’t concede anything,” said coach Sydney Johnson. “We have to battle and I thought we did that tonight.”

Princeton (21-5, 9-1 Ivy) did just enough through the first 30 minutes. It built a 17-point lead in the first half but had that cut to four by halftime. It went up 10 early in the second but saw that trimmed to within a bucket.

The Tigers eventually wore down the Big Red and pulled away in the final 10 minutes. After Cornell sliced the lead to 61-59 with 11:22 to play, Princeton went on a 20-3 run to put the game away.

By the time the run ended on a Kareem Maddox layup with 2:40 remaining, the Tigers had a 19-point lead, their largest of the game.

Ian Hummer led four Princeton players in double figures with 20 points. Dan Mavraides finished with 17, Doug Davis 15 and Maddox 13.

The Tigers shot 62.3 percent for the game and connected on 10 of their 18 3-point attempts. Davis (5-of-7) and Mavraides (4-of-8) combined for nine of the 10 makes from beyond the arc.

It was a welcome relief to have the senior backcourt back on track. The starting guards combined to go 0-for-9 from 3-point territory in the loss at Brown.

“In my whole career, I’ve had a lot of games where you don’t play well or you don’t shoot well,” Mavraides said. “So it wasn’t really stressing me out, but it was nice to come in and hit one of your first couple and get into a nice rhythm.”

Chris Wroblewski led Cornell (7-18, 3-8 Ivy) with 14 points. Jamal Cherry added 13 in the losing effort.

Mavraides found Maddox with an alley-oop that tied the game at 13 early in the first half and seemed to spring the Tigers to life. Over the next 8:05 they outscored Cornell 23-6, opening up a lead as large as 17.

The Big Red answered, though, with a run of their own closing the half on a 21-5 stretch. Princeton led 41-37 at half.

The Tigers remained behind Harvard (21-4, 10-1 Ivy) in the Ivy League standings after the Crimson came from 11 down at halftime to knock off Brown, 74-68.

Princeton still has a game in hand and travels to Cambridge, Mass., March 5 for what could be a matchup for the league’s automatic NCAA bid.

“Every game in the Ivy League is a battle,” Mavraides said. “As long as you’re in control of your own destiny you can’t ask for much more.

“There have been times when, two seasons ago, we were counting on Cornell to lose a game to get back into it and that is not a good feeling. No matter what you do, you may still not have a chance. For however much pressure there is to win out, we’re in control of that and we’ve beaten all these teams already this season so we’re going in confident.”

New Jersey Press Room

PRINCETON, N.J. – After being upset last Saturday by Brown University, the Princeton Tigers needed to bounce back Friday night against Cornell if they were going to keep their hopes of a NCAA tournament bid alive.

Mission accomplished, but it was not easy.

Each time Princeton appeared to be gaining control of the game in the first half, they could not put Cornell away. Throughout the first half and part of the second, the game between the Tigers and Big Red resembled a track meet, and other times a three-point shooting contest.

It wasn’t until midway through the second half that Princeton got control of both the offensive and defensive ends, outscoring Cornell 23-7 over the final 11 minutes of the contest for an 84-66 win at Jadwin Gym.

The victory improved Princeton’s record to 21-5, 9-1 in the Ivy League—one game behind Harvard in the conference win column with four games left in the season.

And if Princeton is looking to punch a ticket to the Big Dance, then the Tigers will have to win out, including their March 5 matchup at Harvard. Brown did not do Princeton any favors either, as Harvard defeated the Bears 74-68 to stay a half-game ahead of the Tigers in the Ivy League standings at 10-1.

Princeton coach Sydney Johnson was not willing to look past any opponent before next Saturday’s game.

“We have Columbia coming in tomorrow night,” Johnson said. “Every game in the Ivy League is a battle. We’re not looking ahead beyond tomorrow night.”

Senior guard Dan Mavraides echoed Johnson’s comments.

“In my four years here, every game is a battle, and we control our destiny, so you can’t ask for anything more than that,” Mavraides said.

Ian Hummer led four players in double figures for Princeton with 20 points and nine rebounds. Hummer converted on 9-of-11 shots, mostly from inside the paint and on the low-blocks.

But what opened up the inside game for Hummer and Kareem Maddox—who had 13 points and eight rebounds—was the Tigers shooting from the outside. Princeton converted on 10-of-18 shots from behind the arc.

“We played well inside-out tonight,” Hummer said. “Doug and Dan hitting threes spread the defense out, and it allowed the bigger guys like me and Kareem to do what we want. When they collapsed on us, we had guys step up and make the shots fro the wing.”

Mavraides connected on four shots from three-point range and finished with 17 points on the night. His backcourt partner Douglas Davis hit five treys in seven attempts and finished with 15 points.

“It is nice to hit a couple of threes and get into a rhythm,” Mavraides said.

The victory was Princeton’s second over Cornell this season, as the Tigers defeated the Big Red 57-55 on Feb. 12. That victory, however, was the lowest point total for Princeton this season. Johnson believed that Cornell caught Princeton off-guard defensively the last time when they slowed the Tigers’ offense down.

There was no repeat of that Friday night.

“People try to slow us down and break our rhythm,” Johnson said, “We shot poorly the last game. We made some adjustments this time. Tonight we were able to break their press and go. If you are going to give us two-on-one, and three-on-two, we’ll take it.”

The Tigers had jumped out to a 6-0 lead but Cornell took advantage of four straight turnovers by the Tigers to go on a 10-0 run. A three-point shot by Davis broke the string. A free throw and then a driving layup by Hummer helped Princeton retake a 16-15 lead.

After exchanging baskets, Princeton then found the range from the outside, hitting on four consecutive three-point shots, two each by Doug Davis and Dan Mavraides, to key a 16-2 run that would give Princeton its largest lead of the evening at 36-19.

Cornell answered right back with back-to-back threes by Drew Ferry and Johnathan Gray. The Big Red would hit two more 3-point shots by Max Groebe and Chris Wroblewski to close the final three minutes of the half on an 8-3 run. Princeton led 41-37 at the half.

In the second half, after Cornell closed to within two points at 61-59, Princeton put the game out of reach by going on an 8-0 run with a layup from Hummer, a trey from Mavraides and a three-point play from Maddox. That stretched the Tigers’ lead to 69-59 and they never looked back.

Timeouts did not slow Princeton down. The Tigers finished the game on a 15-5 run, and that allowed Johnson to sit down and watch the final three minutes, instead of pacing up and down the sidelines.

Chris Wroblewski and Drew Ferry led Cornell with 16 points each.

Princeton’s 9-1 record in the Ivy League is its best since 2004. The Tigers’ 21-5 record is their best since the 1997-1998 season. They’re 11-0 at home, having won the last 15 games at Jadwin Gym.

Men's Basketball: Seniors key as Tigers reclaim 1st place

Daily Princetonian

It truly was senior night on Carril Court. In the last home game of their Princeton careers, senior forward Kareem Maddox and senior guard Dan Mavraides did not let their team fall, as the captains willed the men’s basketball team to a close 66-61 victory over Columbia on Saturday.

Faced with a six-point deficit with seven minutes, 47 seconds left in the game, Mavraides was a man on a mission, forcing two clutch steals and hitting two clutch three-pointers down the stretch. Maddox was right there with his classmate, putting up 20 points and pulling down eight rebounds for the game. Coupled with an 84-66 win over Cornell (8-18 overall, 4-8 Ivy League) on Friday and Harvard’s loss to Yale on Saturday, Princeton (22-5, 10-1) rose to first place in the Ivy League.

The Tigers’ victory over the Lions (14-12, 5-7), capped off a perfect 12-0 season at home.

“There was a moment where I looked at the shot clock, and we were down six,” Mavraides said. “The game had been miserable for me personally. But I just thought, ‘Why am I nervous? Why am I scared? We’ve been in this position a lot. I’ve played in this gym all the time. I’ve made a million shots in this gym.’ “Me and Kareem looked at each other across the foul line one time, and we were like, ‘Let’s do this.’”

After missing his first seven field goal attempts, Mavraides came through in the clutch. Along with two steals and another forced turnover, his 14 points all came in the closing minutes and accounted for all but four of the team’s final 20 points. Maddox grabbed a rebound in the waning minutes off his own missed free throw, drawing a foul and making both foul shots.

Mavraides then made two three-pointers, including one that dropped through the net after Mavraides himself was knocked down in the process of shooting.

“We knew that we could battle through it and figure it out down the stretch,” Maddox said. “We’re not going to get every call, the ball’s not going to bounce our way every time, we’re not going to get every rebound or hit every shot. It’s just kind of a maturity and a calmness that we’re happy to see from everyone.”

Columbia jumped out to an early lead on Saturday, going on a 9-2 run to open the game. Defense characterized the early minutes, as the Lions were able to force three turn during six and a half minutes in which Princeton did not make a field goal. The Tigers fought back, taking advantage of trips to the charity stripe, and two free throws by sophomore forward Ian Hummer tied the game at 15-15.

The teams remained defensive until the break, when the Tigers were down at 24-23, their lowest first-half point total of the season.

“Everybody’s going to give us their best shot,” head coach Sydney Johnson ’97 said. “We typically get a lot of people’s best and that’s fine, but we need to prepare in the right way for that. That’s our challenge.”

Cornell provided that challenge on Friday, hoping to push the Tigers as it did in Ithaca, N.Y., two weeks ago. Princeton shot a blazing 59.3 percent from the field in the first period, including 5-9 from three-point distance, and went on an 18-2 run midway through the half. However, the Big Red’s full-court pressure caused all sorts of trouble for the Tigers, and Cornell capitalized on 16 points off 10 Princeton turnovers to pull to 41-37 at halftime.

“I think people try to slow us down,” Johnson said. “As amazing as that sounds, that’s how I feel, that people are trying to break our rhythm. If we can do it in a wise fashion, we want to break the press and go. We’re very comfortable scoring points.”

Indeed, Princeton continued to shoot at a fiery clip. The Big Red stuck around for the opening minutes of the second frame, but the Tigers closed out the game with a 15-5 run starting with 9:12 left to go. Princeton finished the game with a field-goal percentage of 62.3, its highest percentage since 2005, and made 10 of 18 shots from beyond the arc.

The Tigers take their slim half-game lead on the road for their final three games, traveling to Dartmouth on Friday, Harvard on Saturday and Penn a week from Tuesday to close out the regular season. With a sweep of next weekend’s two games, Princeton could earn the Ivy League’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

“We’re at a point where we want to be, which is we’re playing the game,” Johnson said. “Not worrying about the crowd, not worried about calls, forget all that. We’re playing the game.”

PRINCETON -- With its best shooting game in six years, the Princeton men's basketball team bounced back from its first Ivy League loss with an 84-66 win over Cornell Friday night at Jadwin Gym.

Princeton made 33 of 53 from the field overall and 10 of 18 from 3-point range, a stark contrast from the last three games, especially from beyond the arc. The Tigers had shot below 20% from distance in each of three straight games for the first time since the rule was implemented 25 years ago, but against the Big Red, Dan Mavraides and Douglas Davis found their shot early.

Davis had a trio of 3-pointers by halftime and Mavraides had a pair, helping Princeton to a lead as large as 17 points with 5:30 to play. That came on a Kareem Maddox bucket to put Princeton ahead 36-19, but Cornell kept the game from getting away. Four 3-pointers in the last five minutes of the opening half trimmed Princeton's lead to as little as three before Will Barrett split two from the line to make the 41-37 halftime score.

As well as Princeton shot in the first half, making 16 of 27 (59.3%), the Tigers did even better after the break. As part of a 17-for-26 (65.4%) half from the field, Princeton put together a 20-3 run from the 11:22 mark of the half until a pair of Drew Ferry free throws cut the Princeton edge from 19 to 17 with 2:30 to go.

Princeton's overall 62.3% clip on the game was its best since the Tigers shot 70.7% on March 4, 2005 against Harvard in Jadwin Gym.

Ian Hummer was one of four players in double figures, narrowly missing his sixth double-double of the season with 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting and nine rebounds along with four assists and a block. Dan Mavraides, with 17 against the Big Red, raised his career total to 978 points heading into his final home game, while Douglas Davis eased past his head coach, Sydney Johnson (1,044), for 24th on the Princeton career scoring list with 1,047. Kareem Maddox made 6 of 7 from the field for 13 points.

Cornell's leading scorer on the season, Chris Wroblewski, led the Big Red last night with 14 points. Cornell made 20 of 54 (37.0%) from the field and was outrebounded 34-27 on the night.

The Tigers, who remained a half-game back of Harvard, will host Columbia at 6 p.m. Saturday with senior night festivities scheduled for the pregame and the honoring of the 1990-91 Tigers set for halftime.

No comments: