The men’s basketball team went on several long runs and showed off its three-point shooting ability to defeat Rice 70-56 in Houston on Saturday afternoon.
Despite trailing 23-21 more than halfway through the first half, Princeton (3-1) finished the period on a 15-2 run and entered halftime leading 36-25. The Owls (2-3) fought hard in the second half, eventually scoring 31 points to the Tigers’ 34, but Princeton pulled away quickly. The Tigers opened the second half on a 17-6 run and continued to produce offensively, widening their lead to 60-35 with eight minutes left to play.
The victory, which was Princeton’s second straight, gave the Tigers their third of the season. Princeton is now 3-1 for the first time since the 2006-07 season, in which the team opened the season on a 6-2 surge before dropping 15 of its final 20 games. That season, in which Princeton finished in last place with a 2-14 record in the Ivy League, also marked the last time the Tigers took on the Owls. Princeton defeated Rice 51-28 at Jadwin Gymnasium in its first game of the 2007 calendar year. Now, with Saturday’s victory, the Tigers hold a 3-1 all-time advantage over the Owls.
Sophomore forward Hans Brase led Princeton with 15 points on the night. Brase also led the Tigers with three three-pointers, making three of eight from beyond the line. In total, Princeton attempted 31 three-pointers in the game, tying its season high. The Tigers sank 10 of the attempts, right in line with their average of 10.5 three-pointers per game. Rice finished six for 17 on shots from three-point range, while no Rice player scored more than nine points. Three players tied to lead the Owls in scoring with nine points each.
Although Princeton finished the night 25-55 from the field, the team had issues finding the basket early in the contest. The Tigers opened the first half 0-6 from the field, allowing Rice to take the lead early on. Trailing by two points in the first half, Princeton went on an impressive 10-0 run to claim a 31-23 lead with 4:18 left in the period.
Senior guard T.J. Bray, who was back on the court for the first time this season, ended the run with a three-pointer, his first basket of the 2013-14 campaign. Bray scored eight points in the game, trailing only Brase’s 15 and junior guard Ben Hazel’s 11. He also contributed four assists.
Freshman forward Spencer Weisz continued a solid rookie season, notching eight points, six rebounds and two blocks.
The Tigers will play one more game before Thanksgiving break, taking on George Mason at home on Tuesday evening. The Patriots (4-1) opened the season on a four-game winning streak, but suffered a tough 89-73 road loss at Iona on Saturday afternoon. The 8 p.m. matchup will mark the first ever meeting between the two teams and will be the second game of a Princeton basketball doubleheader — the women’s team will take on St. Joseph’s at 5:30 p.m., also at Jadwin Gymnasium.