This weekend, the Princeton men’s basketball team (0–2, 0–0 Ivy) boarded a plane and flew across the country, where they were defeated by the University of San Francisco (2–0) 82–72 at the new Chase Center in downtown San Francisco, home of the Golden State Warriors. It was the first men’s college basketball game played at the Warriors’ new arena.
USF led 41–35 at halftime and raced out to a 51–39 lead early in the second half, but the Tigers kept it close and cut the lead to six with 9:21 left to play. The Dons held on, however, outscoring the Tigers 41–37 in the second half for the 82–72 win. Guard Charles Minlend scored 16 for USF, while guard Jamaree Bouyea added seven rebounds and three assists. Seven-foot center Jimbo Lull and guard Jordan Ratinho scored 15 each for the Dons.
Sophomore guard Jaelin Llewellyn scored a career-high 24 points to lead Princeton. Sophomore guard Drew Friberg grabbed nine rebounds, another career high. As a team, the Tigers hit 39 percent from beyond the 3-point line, whereas USF made seven of 23 (30 percent) from outside the arc.
“It was awesome,” said associate head coach Brett MacConnell. “We’ve played at world-famous arenas like Madison Square Garden in the past, but this was just an incredible arena. The feel when you walk in the building where Steph Curry and Klay Thomson play, to see the blue and gold colors on the court … just being there for that was incredible.”
Highlights of this trip included a four and a half hour flight to the West Coast, visiting the Olympic Club in San Francisco, and even a short excursion to Alcatraz.
“We were in front of a lot of different alumni at the Olympic Club, and just being able to showcase just how talented and motivated our players and coaches are, how they put in work every single day, was an honor,” said longtime team manager Mark Agostinelli, who traveled with the team.
When asked about takeaways from the first slate of games, MacConnell and Llewellyn had similar comments.
“I thought we’ve had flashes where we have been great. We led for the first half against Duquesne and most of the first half against USF. As we mature and grow — we’ve played for a lot of young guys — it’s about keeping that mental focus for the whole forty minutes,” said MacConnell.
“I’d say a takeaway for this trip is that we definitely have areas to work on, especially defensively. Outside of the game itself, being at the Warriors arena was definitely such a humbling experience,” Llewellyn said afterward.
The Tigers will host Lafayette College (1–1) in their home opener this Wednesday, Nov. 13, at Jadwin Gymnasium at 7 p.m.