Men's Basketball: Cagers host Drexel Saturday
Three weeks after a frustrating loss to Rutgers, the men’s basketball team returns to Jadwin Gymnasium on Saturday to face Drexel. The Tigers (3-4) had a shaky November but showed signs of gaining their footing this past Saturday, starting the month of December with a strong 62-50 victory at Kent State. The Tigers hope they can keep the momentum going from a strong end to their four-game road stretch, particularly when it comes to maintaining early leads.
“Beating Kent was good for us. It showed that we can win tough games on the road and close teams out,” said junior point guard T.J. Bray, who scored a team-high 15 points against Kent State. “It’s also much better heading into a week of practice with a win under our belts. It’s really helped set the tone for this week in practice and will help set the tone on Saturday.”
“Last Saturday’s win helped us shore up a few things that had given us trouble, such as holding onto early leads,” senior center Brendan Connolly added. “If we can continue to fix some early problems, then good things should happen.”
Drexel has struggled so far this season, as the Dragons (2-6) have won just one of their last five games. Coming off a 10-point loss to Tennessee State on Tuesday evening, Drexel head coach Bruiser Flint will try to turn around his team, which returned a majority of its starters from last season.
A silver lining exists for Flint’s players, however, as they turned their 2-4 start to the beginning of the 2011-12 season into a 29-7 record. Despite rattling off 19 consecutive victories before falling in the CAA championship game, the Dragons were snubbed of an NCAA bid.
The Dragons will be without the services of guard Chris Fouch, who averaged 16.7 points in three games before suffering a season-ending ankle injury in November. Still, the Tigers recognize Drexel’s potential, not taking anything for granted going into Saturday afternoon’s game.
“Drexel is a very good team,” Bray said. “It’s hard to gauge teams on their records at this point because so many teams take time to gel, ourselves included. We just have to go into this game like any other game and set the tone right away.”
Saturday gives Princeton a chance to redeem itself from last December’s bitter 64-60 loss against the Dragons at the Daskalakis Athletic Center in Philadelphia. It was that particular game that began Drexel’s stretch of 25 victories in its last 27 games before the National Invitation Tournament. The Tigers do not want to be the springboard for Drexel’s season again.
“It was a tough loss for us last year at Drexel,” Bray said. “There were a couple calls that didn’t go our way, but we also made a lot of mistakes throughout the game. It would be very nice to get a win at home this year against a Drexel team that is returning so many guys.”
“Last year’s loss to them was definitely a tough one,” Connolly said. “It would be nice to win this time around. Overall, though, it’s just another chance for us to get better as a team and improve going forward.”
Tip-off for Saturday’s game is at 2 p.m. in Jadwin Gymnasium.
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