The men’s basketball team conceded its second game to the University of Pennsylvania this season after a tough 82–65 defeat. Penn’s victory puts them at the top of the Ivy League with a perfect 6–0 record. Princeton is now tied with Columbia with a 3–3 record. The top four teams in the Ivy League will qualify for the Ivy League tournament.
The Quakers took control of the game with a strong start, breaking into an 11–0 run for the early advantage. Penn and Princeton exchanged blows until halfway through the first period. A three-pointer from senior Amir Bell would spark an offensive explosion for the Tigers that would see the Orange and Black tie the game at 30 apiece.
However, as would be the narrative for the evening, the Quakers seemed to have an answer for every Princeton run. Responding with a 10–3 run, Penn quickly found its rhythm, widening the gap to seven points. However, a tip-in by junior Myles Stephens in the dying moments of the first half cut the lead to a manageable five points.
The second half, however, would take a turn for the worse for Princeton. The team struggled to find its rhythm, shooting 40.4 percent from the field and 28 percent from beyond the arc. In contrast, the Quakers shot an impressive 53.6 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from three-point range. While the team played strong defense at times, Penn seemed to find a way to attack when it needed to. Forward AJ Brodeur was particularly dominant for Penn, scoring all 17 of his points in the second half.
Five Quakers scored in double digits with senior Darnell Foreman leading all scorers with 21 points. Three minutes into the second half, Penn took off with nine unanswered points to increase the lead to 11. While the Tigers rallied, Penn managed to fend them off each time. The Tigers were never able to draw within six points for the remainder of the game. With six minutes to go, the Quakers went on a 13–2 run, opening the lead to 21. This would prove to be enough cushion as Penn took the win at Jadwin Gymnasium.
Despite the tough loss, Princeton showed some strong individual performances. Stephens led Princeton’s offense with 20 points and dominated the boards with 12 rebounds for his second career double-double. His first came against Penn as well during the Ivy League tournament semi-final last year.
The Tigers set the bar high for themselves after a perfect Ivy League season last year, which was part of a 19-game-winning streak. However, Princeton graduated three starters: Ivy League Player of the Year Spencer Weisz, All-Ivy League starter Stephen Cook, and forward Pete Miller. Princeton is still undoubtedly trying to fill these gaps in the midst of a tougher schedule this season.
Many of the players have stepped up this season, including junior duo Devin Cannady and Stephens, and the Tigers have shown much potential in the face of stiff competition.
The Tigers will continue their Ivy League campaign this weekend with games against Harvard and Dartmouth. The Crimson is second in the Ivy League with a 5–1 record while the Big Green sits at the bottom of the table still searching for their first win.
Princeton will start the weekend in Massachusetts. The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPNU.