Playing its final home game of the semester, Princeton men’s basketball (3–6) earned a much-needed non-conference win over Monmouth (3–8) on Tuesday night. Princeton scored the final nine points of the game to cap off a 69–58 victory.
“I know that’s a good Monmouth team,” head coach Mitch Henderson said after the game. “I think that’s a really good win, and we needed [it], bad.”
The beginning of the game did not go according to Princeton’s plans. Princeton tallied just one field goal in the first 6:37 of the game, and an energized Monmouth team leapt out to a quick 16–3 lead. Princeton would quickly respond, however, tying the game at 18 a mere five minutes later, and continuing a hot stretch to take a 31–26 into halftime.
The Tigers scored the first seven points of the second half and pushed their lead to 43–30 at one point. To its credit, Monmouth did not buckle, and battled back to cut the margin to 52–51 with five minutes remaining in the game. The teams continued to trade baskets, with Princeton clinging to a 60–58 lead with two minutes remaining. Finally, a pair of threes by junior guard Devin Cannady catalyzed one final Princeton run, and the Tigers pulled away in the game’s final moments to secure a 69–58 win.
Cannady and junior guard Myles Stephens led the Tigers offensively with 18 and 19 points respectively. Both were prolific from behind the three-point arc, with Cannady making four of nine threes and Stephens making five of nine.
“Devin changes the way teams defend us,” Henderson said. “If he’s unselfish, everyone else around him benefits.”
Senior guard Amir Bell added 11 points for the Tigers, and first-year forward Sebastian Much continued to establish himself as a rising star, scoring 9 points and adding five rebounds and five assists in 26 minutes played.
First-year guard Deion Hammond led Monmouth in scoring with 17 points. Princeton was stellar on defense throughout, holding a Monmouth team that averages nearly 75 points per game to 58 points and 38.6 percent shooting from the field.
“We really wanted to focus on our defense,” said Stephens. “Hedges, boxing out, all around the board I think we did a really good job on the defensive end.”
The team will escape to warmer climates beginning this weekend, with a pair of matchups against California schools, Cal Poly (4–6) and USC (4–3), followed by a trip to Hawaii for the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic over the break.
Though their record may not be ideal, the Tigers are satisfied with the improvements they have made early in the season. “We’re not determining our success on the wins and losses at this point,” Cannady said. “It’s just, are we winning and getting better, and that’s what we did this game.”