Continuing its tough non-conference schedule, Princeton traveled to the nation’s capital Wednesday night to face George Washington University. The Tigers kept the game competitive throughout, but ultimately fell 71-60, a story that has become a theme of the early season.
Princeton leaped out to a fast start, taking a 9-3 lead. Freshman forward Sebastian Much, in the starting lineup for the third time this season, scored 5 of those 9 points. George Washington, however, would quickly respond. After tying the game at 18, the Colonels went on a 9-2 run to take a 27-20 lead just before half. A pair of three-pointers from junior Devin Cannady and freshman Ryan Schwieger narrowed the gap, and Princeton entered the locker room for halftime trailing 31-28.
Princeton kept George Washington’s lead slim through the first part of the second half, but a 7-0 run from the 13-minute to the 11-minute mark of the half gave George Washington a more comfortable 49-41 lead. To its credit, Princeton prevented the Colonels from running away with the game. Junior guard Myles Stephens began to shoulder the load offensively for Princeton, contributing a layup, dunk, and three-pointer on three consecutive positions. However, the Tigers were never able to string together the series of defensive stops and offensive buckets necessary to mount a serious comeback, and George Washington ran out the clock to secure the 71-60 win.
Princeton was led offensively by Cannady, who continued his hot shooting season by making 3 of 5 from beyond the three-point arc. Stephens added 13 points, but the third member of Princeton’s “Big Three”, senior Amir Bell, struggled, failing to score and committing six turnovers. Even in defeat, Princeton shot the ball relatively well, going 9 for 16 (56.3%) on its three-pointers and 24 for 49 (49%) from the field. Another positive for the Tigers was the play of Much and freshman Jerome Desrosiers, who combined for 18 points. Their continued development will be crucial for a Princeton team that has needed more contributions from its role players at times this season.
Sophomore Guard Jair Bolden led the way for George Washington, scoring a game-high 25 points on 8 out of 15 shooting. Yuta Watanabe added 13 points for the Colonels, and Bo Ziegler contributed 10 points off the bench.
With the loss, Princeton fell to 2-6 on the season and will undoubtedly be desperate to notch several more wins before beginning Ivy League play in January. The team will have the chance to get started Tuesday, as they return home to face Monmouth.