Princeton men’s basketball’s (8—8, 3—0 Ivy League) most complete defensive outing of the season helped propel the Tigers to their third straight Ivy League win.
Princeton held Dartmouth (7—11, 0—3 Ivy) to 17 second-half points and 36.5 percent shooting from the field in a 66—44 win at Jadwin Gymnasium on Friday night.
The Tigers have now allowed just 52 points per game in their first three Ivy League contests of the season. That represents a stark improvement from the beginning of the season, in which the Tigers gave up nearly 80 points per game while falling to 1—7 in non-conference play.
“It wasn’t a pretty game, but we responded over time. Our defense is getting better and better,” head coach Mitch Henderson ’98 said. “[Dartmouth] is a really challenging team to guard, [and] I thought our guys were terrific. They closed out with hands up [and] just focused on what it takes to win.”
The perimeter defense was especially stout for Princeton, as the Tigers didn’t allow Dartmouth to make a three-pointer in the second half and held the Big Green to 3—12 behind the arc in total. Dartmouth guard James Foye, who entered the game shooting 48 percent from three, made just one of four three-point attempts.
“I knew his percentages, so I knew what he was trying to do,” said sophomore guard Ethan Wright, who drew the assignment of guarding Foye for much of the night. “It’s something I’ve worked really hard at. I realized if I want to stay on the court, I’ve got to play really good defense.”
Dartmouth scored the first five points of the game, but the teams traded baskets throughout the first half, leaving the score tied at 20 with five minutes to play in the first half. A layup from junior guard Ryan Schwieger followed by a three from senior guard Jose Morales kicked off a 9—3 Princeton rally which helped Princeton take a 32—27 lead into halftime.
The Tigers were able to carry over some momentum from the end of the first half into a second half dominated entirely by Princeton. They started on a 14—6 run spanning the first eight minutes of the half, and Princeton’s defense held Dartmouth to 30.4 percent shooting from the field in the second half, preventing the Big Green from getting back into the game.
Senior center Richmond Aririguzoh led Princeton in scoring with 13 points, followed by Schwieger with 12. Princeton’s scoring, however, was distributed fairly evenly throughout the rotation. Nine players scored, seven of whom scored at least five points.
“We’ve got the ability to go inside with multiple guys,” Henderson said. “You saw [first-year guard] Tosan [Evbuomwan]’s skill level is improving, [and] with Ethan and [sophomore forward] Drew [Friberg] on the floor I think it balances the court out. I think we have a really good group, and the guys are really looking for each other, which I love.”
Friday’s game was the first night of the first Ivy League back-to-back weekend of the season. The Tigers will return to Jadwin with a game against Harvard (13—5, 2—1 Ivy) on Saturday, as the team looks to start 4—0 in Ivy play for the second straight season.