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Men’s basketball defeats Marist after strong first half

<h5>Allocco led in the scoring against Marist with 14 points.</h5>
<h6>Courtesy of <a href="https://goprincetontigers.com/news/2022/11/19/mens-basketball-mens-basketball-outlasts-marist-62-55.aspx" target="_self">goprincetontigers.com</a>.</h6>
Allocco led in the scoring against Marist with 14 points.
Courtesy of goprincetontigers.com.

The Princeton University men’s basketball team (2–2 overall, 0–0 Ivy League) picked up their second win of the year on Saturday evening against the Marist Red Foxes (1–3, 0–0 Metro Atlantic Athletic), winning 62–55.

At the game, the Tigers debuted a new bowtie-shaped patch, visible on the top-left corner of their jerseys, in honor of late coach Pete Carril’s signature court-side attire. Carril, who retired in 1996 after serving as the Tiger’s head coach for 29 years, remains the winningest and longest tenured coach in Princeton men’s basketball history. His passing this August left the Tiger faithful with heavy hearts, but his legacy lives on through the Princeton basketball program.

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“The program is where it’s at nationally, and known nationally because of coach Carril,” head coach Mitch Henderson ‘98 told the Daily Princetonian. “This is an opportunity for us to not only honor him as a coach, but his influence on the game of basketball as well.” 

The first half was all Tigers, as they jumped out to an 18–2 lead to start the game, forcing a Red Foxes timeout less than five minutes into play. Hot shooting and precise passing helped the Tigers take a commanding 36–19 lead at the half. At the break, the Tigers had nine assists to the Red Foxes’ four, and they shot 47 percent from three, compared to Marist’s 33 percent. 

Marist center Patrick Gardner, who leads the team in scoring and rebounding, was entirely kept in check by the Tiger defense in the first half. “We wanted to make sure that he didn’t hurt us,” Henderson told the Prince, “I thought we did a really nice job with the scout… and the guys executed.” Gardner scored only three points in the first 20 minutes; two early fouls forced Gardner to spend a considerable portion of this half on the bench.

Gardner, however, picked up his play in the second half, igniting a Red Foxes comeback with an array of post moves near the basket. Later on, the Foxes cut the lead to 11 with just under 14 minutes to go. The lead would remain at around 10 points for the Tigers for the bulk of the second half, but back-to-back threes from the Foxes would cut the lead to just three points with 6:43 remaining.

Despite the pressure applied by the Foxes, the Tigers ultimately prevailed. Junior guard Matt Allocco responded with two back-to-back threes of his own to bring the lead back up to six. “He kind of put us on his back,” Henderson told the ‘Prince’ with regards to Allocco’s play. “He always believes we’re gonna get it done. It’s the way he practices, it’s the way goes through every single shooting competition, every drill… it’s no different for him from the way it is in the game… I thought he was just terrific on Saturday.” Henderson will continue to rely on Allocco’s shot making and leadership moving forward. 

First-year guard Deven Austin iced the game with four free-throws in the last 30 seconds to secure a 62–55 Tigers win.

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After starting the year 0–2, the Tigers picked up their second win in as many games to get back to .500. “There’s still a ways for us to go, and that’s the focal point for this group,” Henderson told the ‘Prince.’

The Tigers head to England on Nov. 14 to face-off with the Army Black Knights (2–3, 0–0 Patriot League) in the London Basketball Classic.

Diego Uribe is a contributor to the sports and news sections at the ‘Prince.’ Please direct any corrections requests to corrections at dailyprincetonian.com.

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