Brandon Anderson went to the free throw line 13 times for the Brown Bears, but his only miss of the night from the charity stripe was the one that mattered most, and the one that will be burned into the Tigers’ memories for the rest of this season.
Unable to come up with a last-second rebound, the Tigers saw one of their most exciting games of the season fall into the hands of their opponent. Princeton eclipsed the century mark in scoring for only the second time this season, but fell two points short in a heartbreaking 102–100 loss to Brown in overtime at Jadwin Gymnasium. Princeton fired up 65 shots from the floor, only to watch their defense surrender more than 100 points for the first time this season. Despite holding a lead for a majority of the game, the Tigers lost it in the final seconds of overtime and dropped their second Ivy League game of the season.
The game was back and forth the entire way; neither team ever had a lead larger than seven and Brown’s largest lead was only three points, midway through the first half. For much of the first half, the Tigers and Bears traded shot for shot with only media timeouts stopping the flow of the game. The Tigers saw a great performance from freshman forward Sebastian Much in the first half, with junior guards Myles Stephens and Devin Cannady providing the scoring from outside the paint. On the other side, Brown received a stellar outing from Desmond Cambridge, who totaled a game high of 32 points on 10/16 shooting. Brown also received a strong contribution from all of its players at the free throw line; the Bears shot 82 percent from the free throw line in the first half, with most of them coming towards the end of the first half. This performance allowed them to tie the game at 49 when the first half buzzer rang.
In the second half, the Tigers climbed their way to a 70–65 lead following the second media timeout. Much would later extend that lead to 6 when he went up strong for a layup in the paint. As the half continued, the Tigers seemed poised to take a commanding lead, but Brown continued to hang around throughout the second half. At the 3:37 mark, Cannady drained a deep 3 to give the Tigers an 85–78 lead — their largest of the game — and sent the crowd into a frenzy. But the Tigers failed to do what they had done in their game against Yale; close out a lead. Anderson and Cambridge scored all of the remaining points for the Bears, sinking clutch free throws and three-pointers to tie the score at 90 with six seconds to go. On the final play of the second half, Cambridge stood strong and stuffed Stephens’ go ahead layup attempt at the buzzer.
In OT, Cannady’s missed layup in the last 15 seconds was recovered by Stephens, who was promptly fouled by the Bears. Making both free throws, he gave the Tigers a 100–98 lead in the waning seconds of the game. Once again, the Tigers looked poised to earn a critical win, so long as they could get one final stop. But celebration would turn to heartbreak as Cambridge pulled up from deep to drain a 3 and sink the Tigers’ lead for good. A turnover on the inbound attempt would prove to be the last time Princeton would touch the ball, as Anderson finished the game at the stripe for the Bears.
As far as individual performances go, the Tigers all put up good numbers. While no one earned a double double for the Orange and Black, many of the players put up great shooting percentages and showed the offensive firepower of the team. Cannady led the way with 27 points for the Tigers and played every minute of the game. Not far behind, Stephens added 23 points on 8/11 shooting. Ultimately, however, the individual performances were not enough to overcome the Bears’ resilience, and Princeton’s 23 team fouls proved costly as Brown cashed in on most of their chances.
Now, the Tigers head into a showdown with the Quakers as they attempt to put the tough loss behind them. Princeton now sits two games back of Pennsylvania, guaranteeing that the game on Tuesday will not be for first place. As the Tigers get ready for the final month of regular season play, they know that their margin for error grew considerably smaller following this tough finish.