Tuesday, January 31

Previous Issues

Follow us on Instagram
Try our latest crossword

Men’s basketball beats Northeastern to win London Classic

Senior forward Tosan Evbuomwan won tournament MVP awards in his home country

<h5>Senior forward Tosan Evbuomwan averaged 13.5 points per game in the tournament.</h5>
<h6>Courtesy of <a href="https://twitter.com/PrincetonMBB/status/1596607269936021509/photo/1" target="_self">@PrincetonMBB/Twitter.</a></h6>
Senior forward Tosan Evbuomwan averaged 13.5 points per game in the tournament.
Courtesy of @PrincetonMBB/Twitter.

Senior forward Tosan Evbuomwan has done it again for Princeton men’s basketball — this time, on his home turf in the United Kingdom.

In a come-from-behind effort on Saturday night, the Tigers (4–2 overall, 0–0 Ivy League) won the 2022 London Basketball Classic Championship over the Northeastern Huskies (1–5, 0–0 Colonial Athletic), 56–54. Evbuomwan, who hails from Newcastle, England, won tournament MVP honors, averaging 13.5 points and five rebounds per game over the course of the competition.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Tigers were coming off of a big Thanksgiving Day win against Army (2–5, 0–0 Patriot League) that saw four players reach double figures. In the first half against Army, Princeton trailed by as many as eight points. They managed to come back in the second half for a strong 74–66 victory.

That slow start was not replicated in their championship matchup on Saturday. Instead, Princeton found themselves in heated back-and-forth play with Northeastern’s aggressive offense. 

Guard Joe Pridgen contributed big minutes off of the bench for Northeastern. Five minutes into the game, the athletic guard wasted no time getting into an offensive groove. He got the ball in his hands and went to work right away, scoring on back-to-back drives inside to give the Huskies a 17–11 lead.

Senior guard Ryan Langborg led the Princeton offense up until that point, scoring five quick points. Giving him a quick breather, head coach Mitch Henderson ’98 subbed Langborg out and put in first-year guard Xaivian Lee.

On the very first play, Lee showed no signs of first-year jitters. He caught the ball on the left wing, stared down his defender, and calmly knocked down a spot-up three-pointer with a hand in his face. 

Two possessions later, Lee went back to work on offense. A quick crossover move got him deep into the paint. When help defenders collapsed, he found another first-year, forward Caden Pierce, who knocked down a three of his own. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Then, with the momentum on the Tigers’ side, Lee again sliced and diced his way under the basket, hitting a mid-range shot to push the score to 20–19. With about 10 minutes remaining in the first half, the first-years helped Princeton reclaim their lead.

This lead would be short-lived, however, as Northeastern immediately clapped back with a run of their own. An 8–0 run gave the Huskies a seven point lead, 27–20, with 6:30 remaining in the half. 

The Tigers climbed back to make it a two possession game. Yet, that was the closest they would get in the first half, trailing Northeastern 32–30.

Right out of the half-time locker room, senior forward Keeshawn Kellman gave Princeton a massive burst of energy. Sitting on the low post, Kellman caught a feed inside from Evbuomwan. In a one-on-one matchup, Kellman took his time bullying the defender, jumpstopping and rising up for a posterizing slam that shook the entire stanchion.

Subscribe
Get the best of ‘the Prince’ delivered straight to your inbox. Subscribe now »

 

This newfound jolt of strength seemed like the kind of play that might bust the game open for Princeton. Instead, the Huskies remained poised and continued to maintain distance from the Tigers. They wouldn’t give up their lead, and instead widened the gap to eight points halfway through the second half. The score stood at 45–37, Northeastern.

In a tight game in his home country, Evbuomwan turned it on. It seemed he refused to go out with a loss in the championship game. Evbuomwan went on to score seven of Princeton’s next 13 points, including an and-one finish that he converted to give the Tigers their first lead of the game since the first half. Princeton now led 51–49 with just 3:19 left in the game.

The two teams continued to trade blows. With 40 seconds remaining and down 54–53, Northeastern ran a play to get guard Pridgen open on a curl to the left side of the bucket. Pridgen caught and went up in one smooth motion, looking to give the Huskies the late-game lead. Junior guard Matt Allocco had other plans.


Allocco rose up and swatted the layup attempt off of the backboard — a timely defensive play that helped Princeton maintain their lead.

Northeastern got one final chance on offense with 10 seconds remaining. Princeton squashed that chance with their swarming defense, forcing a turnover in the half-court. Lee then hit two clutch free throws to extend the Princeton lead to 56–53.

Not allowing the Huskies to even get an attempt from three, the Tigers intentionally fouled on defense the next play. Northeastern hit one out of two free throws, and with the defensive rebound, Princeton secured the championship in a 56–54 victory.

“It wasn’t pretty but we figured out a way to get a tough win here and get the inaugural London Classic Championship,” Henderson told The Daily Princetonian. “Our defense came through for us when we needed it most and when we were struggling to get baskets. Tosan came alive at the end, and the guys made some really tough plays to get the win.”

It was another well-rounded offensive showing for the Tigers, who saw three players score in double figures. Leading the way was Langborg, who finished with 17 points and six rebounds. Evbuomwan added 13 points and Lee looked confident with a career-high 12 points on 50 percent shooting from the floor. Kellman dominated inside with seven points and 10 rebounds.

The Tigers will play their second home game of the season on Wednesday, Nov. 30 against Division III opponent Cairn (3–2, 0–0 Colonial States) as they look to extend their win-streak to five.

Matt Drapkin is an assistant editor for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’ Please direct any corrections requests to corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.

Comments