Men's Basketball: Tigers to play at Barclays Center
The men’s basketball team will look to get the season back on track when they travel to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., to take on Fordham this Saturday after having blown another second-half lead against Drexel in their last outing, dropping the Tigers to 3-5. Fordham (1-8) is the perfect opponent for Princeton to attempt just that as the Rams have lost five games in a row.
“I think the keys to the Fordham game will be mainly on the offensive end,” senior forward Ian Hummer said. “The reason I say that is because for the last couple games, we have been playing very good defense, and it has been our offense that has struggled. In order to beat a team like Fordham, we are going to have to play a full 40 minutes, which means playing well on both sides of the court.”
Junior guard T.J. Bray offered a different opinion, citing defense as the key to a Tiger victory on Saturday, pointing to the Drexel game as evidence.
“Against Drexel we were very good [defensively] in the first half, and then it got away from us in the second, so we just have to stay solid defensively for 40 minutes,” Bray said.
Guard Branden Frazier will be the most important player for the Tigers’ defense to contain, as Frazier leads Fordham in scoring and assists. Princeton will also have to make sure to distribute its shots effectively, as the only game the Rams won — a 70-68 victory over Penn — saw two Quakers with 20 points and no one else above seven points.
Slow starts to the season have been a recurring theme for the Tigers the last few years, and Princeton has been fairly successful bouncing back. Last year the Tigers started 1-5 and were 3-5 after eight games, as they are now, but they eventually finished 20-12. If Princeton doesn’t start showing signs of improvement soon, however, it may have a lot of trouble during the Ivy League stretch.
“We’re worried a little bit, but at the same time we know we’ve been leading in just about every game and against Syracuse — that was one of the closest games they’ve had all year,” Bray said. “We know we have a lot of talent on the team. It’s not a matter of that; it’s a matter of putting all the pieces together and coming together as a unit.”
“I am not that worried,” Hummer explained a little more confidently. “Of course I want to win every game I play, but there are going to be times when we struggle, and over the past three years, I have been a part of good and bad streaks. Even though we are struggling, I believe that we have the team that can get it done.”
As the Drexel game only further emphasized, Princeton has really struggled closing out games this season. If the Tigers want to have a successful season, they will have to find a way to fix that before the start of Ivy League play.
“I feel like we just have to be more patient on offense and wear teams out a little bit in the second half, because we’re getting away from what has gotten us the lead, and that’s cost us,” Bray said. “If we can just stay with our stuff and wear teams down I think we’ll have more success.”
The game on Saturday will be in an exciting new venue for Princeton, as the Tigers will be playing in the Brooklyn Nets’ new home arena, the Barclays Center. The game is a part of the Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival and will be televised on YES Network.
“Because it is such a new arena, not many players have had the opportunity to play there,” Hummer said. “Just knowing that makes the game on Saturday all the more special. I can’t speak for my other teammates, but I would say this game will definitely be high on my list of basketball experiences.”
“It’s going to be an awesome experience to say the least,” Bray added. “The Barclays Center is brand new, and just hearing how nice it is and all the cool stuff they’ve got in there, I’m excited to just see what it is all about.”
Reader Comments (0)
No comments yet. Be the first to post your opinion on this article.