Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ithaca Journal Scouts Princeton

Matchup: Princeton (17-4, 5-0 Ivy League) at Cornell, 7 p.m. Saturday (not including Friday's games).

Radio: WVBR (93.5). Online: Follow Brian Delaney's in-game twitter updates (@BDelaneyIJ) at

Coach: Sydney Johnson (fourth season, 58-50).

Last time out: Princeton topped rival Penn, 62-59, in overtime on Tuesday at Jadwin Gymnasium.

Probable starters: Doug Davis (5-11, 164, Jr., G), Dan Mavraides (6-4, 210, Sr., G), Ian Hummer (6-7, 226, Soph., F), Patrick Saunders (6-8, 200, Jr., F), Brendan Connolly (6-11, 252, Soph., C).

Key reserves: Kareem Maddox (6-8, 230, Sr., F), Mack Darrow (6-9, 225, Soph., F), T.J. Bray (6-6, 207, Fr., G), Ben Hazel (6-5, 191, Fr., G/F).

Statistically: Leading scorers are Hummer (13.8 ppg), Mavraides (13.3), Davis (13.2) and Maddox (12.9). ... Maddox has a team-high 42 blocks, and is the Tigers' top rebounder (7.3 rpg). ... Mavraides (.422) and Davis (.406) are good three-point shooters. ... Princeton is holding teams to an average of 59.2 points per game, and 42 percent shooting per game.

Outlook: Princeton is blessed with two important characteristics: production from quality, experienced seniors; and terrific length and versatility at every position with the exception of Davis at guard. Maddox is one of the Ivy League's best all-around players. He can defend guards or forwards, is a tenacious rebounder at both ends and can score when his team needs him to. He's had two 30-point scoring efforts this season. Hummer, Darrow and Saunders are also mobile and give Johnson options. Darrow and Saunders can shoot the 3 and extend defenses. Mavraides is tough, hard-nosed and has a penchant for hitting big shots.

The challenging part about approaching how to beat Princeton is where to begin. The Tigers have great chemistry and balance, they defend with conviction and are zoned in on winning their first Ivy title since 2004. They're also playing faster than they used to. Don't be surprised to see them get out in transition and pull the trigger on a pullup 3-pointer or two. It's in their repertoire now.

Cornell will have to play a near-perfect game to win. The play of Errick Peck and Adam Wire, in particular, will be important against Princeton's bigger forwards. The Big Red must limit turnovers and offensive rebounds, shoot well, stay out of foul trouble and try to outwork the Tigers consistently. At Newman Arena, on the second game in two nights, anything's possible. But this is a longshot win for Cornell.

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