Tigers celebrate Senior Night, sweep both games in season’s last homestand| Mar 8, 2015
In a thrilling weekend, the Princeton men’s basketball team swept opponents Cornell and Columbia in its final homestand of the season. Previously, they had split their games in the four-game road trip.
In the first game of the weekend, the Tigers (15-14 overall, 8-5 Ivy League) put in a strong defensive effort for the win. They held the Big Red to 37.5 percent shooting from the field and a paltry 19.0 percent from behind the arc. In addition to stopping Cornell from grabbing the board, Princeton also prevented the visiting squad from getting any second chances — they outrebounded Cornell 35-26 on the day.
All this is not to say that Cornell (13-17, 5-9) didn’t have its bright spots. Star forward Shonn Miller did not disappoint for the Big Red, putting up 25 points and 8 board on the day, with an efficient (relative to the rest of his team) 47.6 percent shooting performance. However, the Tigers’ defense would hold the two top guards in Cornell's rotation, Galal Cancer and Robert Hatter, to 3-of-10 and 2-of-10 shooting, respectively.
A steady offensive performance for Princeton was paced by junior forward/center Hans Brase and senior guard Clay Wilson. After delivering only three points for his team in their last outing vs. Brown, Brase would put up 14 points on 80 percent shooting and 6 boards to go along with it. Wilson, for his part, would score 15 points on 50 percent shooting, including a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line. The game was part of an upwards trend for Wilson, who had gotten into double-digit scoring in three of the four previous contests.
Princeton’s offensive improvement overall is a far cry from what they had when they faced Cornell in Ithaca. There, Princeton shot only 32.7 percent from the field and were themselves outrebounded by Cornell 36-29.
The day after, Princeton played perhaps its most exciting game of the season on Senior Night against Columbia. The game was an end-to-end offensive explosion, as Princeton would eke out a win 85-83. Both teams stayed hot for the entire game, as Princeton shot 56.8 percent for the game, and Columbia 48.3 percent.
Just as in the game against Cornell, Princeton would be forced to weather an extremely impressive individual offensive performance. The Lions (13-15, 5-9) received an incredible performance by Maodo Lo, the Ivy League’s leading scorer on the season. He would put up 37 points on 66.6 percent shooting for the game and dropped an astounding 11-15 from three point land. In addition, center Cory Osetkowski and guard Kyle Castlin, who scored 14 points each on the game, lent him support.
The Tigers dealt with such strong showings with an across-the-board high performance. While Brase may have stood out in the game (scoring a career-high 23 points), the Tigers’ faithful saw many contributors to this exciting victory. Freshman guard Amir Bell and sophomore wing Henry Caruso would put up 11 points each, while sophomore guard Stephen Cook and senior wing Ben Hazel would post eight and nine points, respectively, in reduced minutes.
The game itself came down to the wire as the Tigers clawed their way back from the jaws of defeat. After a three by Lo, the Tigers were down 83-74 with just over two minutes to go. From there, they would go on an 11-0 streak, as Brase would prove pivotal in the closing stretch. He converted an and-one opportunity and scored the go-ahead layup to put the Tigers up by one with just 15 seconds to go.
The Lions, so consistent on the offensive side for almost all of the game, would simply go cold down the stretch. Lo himself had the opportunity to win the game at the buzzer but could not sink the final three-point shot.
After this heart-pounding victory, the Tigers now prepare to travel to Philadelphia for their final game of the regular season. They will take on rival Penn on Tuesday at 7 p.m.