Men’s basketball (4–4 overall, 0–0 Ivy) was defeated 89–74 by St. John’s University (9–0) on Sunday, Dec. 9 afternoon. The match took place at Madison Square Garden (MSG), in New York City, as part of the MSG Holiday Festival.
The game was steadily competitive throughout the first half — the lead switched nine times. Down by just three points at the start of the second half, Princeton kept the game close for the first few minutes but as the game wound down the Red Storm slipped out of the Tigers’ reach.
Princeton’s senior captain Devin Cannady was first to score, hitting a three-pointer 13 seconds into the game. Junior center Richmond Aririguzoh added to Princeton’s lead 30 seconds later by making the first of his two foul shots, bringing the score to 4–0. St. John’s responded with a seven-point run, taking the lead for the first time in the game.
Freshman point-guard Jaelin Llewellyn, in his collegiate debut, stopped the Red Storm’s momentum with a good layup in the paint, bringing the score to 7–6 in St. John’s favor. Aririguzoh hit a subsequent layup to bring the Tigers back into the lead, 8–7.
The lead would go back and forth between the two teams seven more times in the first half as a result of points from Llewellyn, Cannady, senior captain Myles Stephens, and junior guard Jose Morales. St. John’s star LJ Figueroa hit a layup in the 10th minute, regaining their lead over Princeton with a score of 24–22. The lead previously held by the Tigers would be their last of the game.
St. John’s proceeded to go on a 10–2 run against the Tigers, gaining a 10-point lead with a score of 34–24. Princeton responded with a run of their own, going 14–4 with a hot streak of six straight points. Princeton’s sophomore guard Ryan Schwieger tied the game 38–38 with just over two minutes to go in the half, hitting a three pointer.
The half ended with St. John’s up by three, 41–38. Devin Cannady had a whopping 15 points to himself in first half, followed by Llewellyn with eight in his first-ever half of college basketball.
The Tigers started out the second half well with a strong layup by Aririguzoh, bringing Princeton just one behind St. John’s, 41–40. The two teams remained close for the next few minutes — Llewellyn hit a solid three pointer in the sixteenth minute to keep the Tigers within one point, 49–48. His shot marked the last time the Tigers would be so close in points to the Red Storm for the rest of the game.
St. John’s began to pull away and increased their lead to 14 points over the next five minutes, going on a 10-point run against Princeton and bringing the score to 64–50. With eight minutes to go, the Red Storm’s lead had increased to 19 over the Tigers, the highest margin for the entire game.
But Princeton didn’t give up. The team proceeded to go on a 10-point run, taking the score from 77–59 to 77–69 with six minutes to go. The team cut their deficit down to six after a three pointer from Morales in the third minute, bringing the score to 80–74. Morales’s shot earned Princeton’s last points of the game. St. John’s added a few more points to the board in the remaining minutes, and the game finished 89–74.
“The moments got a little too big for us at times,” said Head Coach Mitch Henderson. “We were so careless with the ball and need to value the ball a lot more.”
Devin Cannady was the team’s leading scorer with 18 points, followed closely by Llewellyn with 17. Aririguzoh put up 14 and Morales scored 13.
“I love my team, I think we can be really good,” said Henderson. “But time’s ticking. We need to start getting good right now.”
The Tigers have a tough schedule ahead, facing Iona College (2–6) next Saturday, followed by Duke University (9–1) the week after.