While most Princeton students headed home for the holidays and took some much-needed time away from campus, Tiger teams remained in action throughout the break. Here is a recap of some of the notable game results and individual standout performances.
December 29 - Men’s Basketball wins @ No. 17 Arizona State 67–66: The biggest non-conference win for Tigers by far, men’s basketball defeated the 17th ranked Sun Devils 67–66 in the desert. A few weeks after Penn upset a ranked Villanova team in the Palestra, the Tigers became the second Ivy League team to shock the basketball world, notching their first win over an AP Top 20 school since their iconic NCAA Tournament victory over UCLA in 1996. Junior Richmond Aririguzoh etched his name into men’s basketball history when he put the Tigers up for good, sinking two free throws to put the Tigers up one with 24.8 seconds to go. The defense then withstood three shots from the Sun Devils in their final possession to come away with a statement victory. Led by Cannady’s 21 points, the Tigers led by as much as 10 in the second half before Arizona State went on a 12–2 run to make the game close heading into the final minutes. Princeton held the Sun Devils to just 13 percent shooting from beyond the arc, a big reason why the Tigers were able to come away with the victory. The win marked the second of a current three game win streak and improved the Ivy League’s image as a powerful mid major conference. For whichever team makes the NCAA Tournament, they are going to be a real threat to upset a high seed in the first round.
December 15 - Men’s Hockey ties No. 9 Penn State @ Wells Fargo Center 4–4: After starting the season red hot, the men’s hockey team cooled off during the month of December. However, they earned an impressive draw with one of the nation’s best teams in front of a raucous Philadelphia crowd in the Wells Fargo Center, home of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers; Princeton rallied from an early 3–1 deficit against the ninth ranked Nittany Lions to earn a draw after a scoreless overtime. Senior All-Americans Ryan Kuffner and Max Veronneau each earned four points in the game, tying their career highs. Both also continued to move up on Princeton’s all-time points list; Veronneau is now 6th all-time with 126 career points, right behind fifth place Kuffner who has 129. Kuffner scored the game tying goal with just a few minutes remaining off of a Veronneau shot that the Penn State goalie could not corral, capping a two goal third period that gave the Tigers a chance to win the game in overtime. Since the 4–4 draw, Princeton has gone 2–2 in the standings, winning two in a row against Maine before dropping two straight ECAC games to Cornell and Colgate.
January 5 - Women’s basketball loses vs. Penn 66–60: In their first Ivy League game, women’s basketball fell to Penn in Jadwin Gym 66–60. Facing arguably their toughest competition for the 2019 Ivy League title, the Tigers could only watch as Penn sunk clutch free throws late in the game to put it out of reach. Junior Bella Alarie tallied 21 points and 17 rebounds, putting the early season injury struggles well into the rear-view mirror. Gabrielle Rush closed the gap to one with 24 seconds to go after drilling a three, but could not force Penn into a turnover and saw their hopes for a comeback go up in smoke after five consecutive made free throws for the Quakers. The loss evens the Tigers overall record at 8–8 and puts them in an early 0–1 conference record; the race for the Ivy League title will take a long break for Princeton as they will not play again until Feb. 1.
Notable Individual Standouts
Davin Cannady, senior, men’s basketball: When you lead your team in scoring, and your team stuns a nationally ranked school, you are bound to get some attention. That’s exactly what happened to Cannady after his 21-point performance against the Sun Devils. Cannady took home some serious hardware for the week, earning Ivy League Player of the Week Honors and the Lou Henson National Player of the Week Award, given to the best player from a mid-major school. Aside from his individual accolades, Cannady etched his and his teammates’ names into the record books, as the Tigers beat a ranked team for the first time since 2012.
Bella Alarie, junior, women’s basketball: Over winter break, Alarie moved further up the Princeton and Ivy League record books; her impressive performances over St. Francis-Brooklyn and Hartford earned her a third straight Ivy League Player of the Week Award. She now has 12 in her two plus year career as a Tiger, good enough for third in conference history and second in Princeton history only to Niveen Rasheed ’13. Even more impressive is that Alarie is doing all of this despite starting the season off the court rehabbing an arm injury. Since her return to the court, Alarie is averaging just under 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. If she keeps those numbers up, the Tigers will be able to put their slow start behind them quickly.
Sarah Fillier, first-year, women’s hockey: First-year Sarah Fillier has impressed Tiger fans throughout the season, and her month of December impressed the rest of the conference as well. Fillier was named the ECAC rookie of the month for December after leading all ECAC players in points and goals for the month. During that span, she not only led all ECAC players, but was first in the nation among rookies as well. She currently sits at 4th in the nation with 21 points and second in the nation with 1.17 assists per game. Fillier and the rest of her impressive rookie class are a huge reason why women’s hockey has impressed so far, and why they are still undefeated in ECAC play.