On Saturday, Dec. 3, men’s basketball (6–2 overall, 0–0 Ivy League) handily defeated the Drexel Dragons (4–5, 0–0 Colonial Athletic Association) in a dominant 83–63 victory on the road in Philadelphia. The statement victory extended the Tigers’ winning streak to six.
The game began with Princeton’s scorching-hot backcourt of junior guard Matt Allocco and senior guard Ryan Langborg taking over. The sharpshooting duo took turns delivering smooth jumpers, giving Princeton a 9–0 lead to open up the match.
Around the 11-minute mark, Princeton still held complete control over their opponents. The score stood at 14–4 after first-year forward Caden Pierce knocked down a three-pointer, courtesy of a Langborg assist.
Over the next three minutes, the Dragons would attempt to climb back with guard Jamie Bergens leading the charge. Bergens managed to score 12 points to close the gap to 21–18, Princeton.
That would be the closest the score would get for the remainder of the half. First-year guard Deven Austin’s back-to-back three-pointers were followed by a two-hand slam in transition on a pass from first-year guard Xaivian Lee around the four-minute mark to keep Princeton’s double-digit lead intact.
Princeton would keep the advantage at double digits until the very end of the first half, when Drexel guard Lamar Oden, Jr. hit a contested three-pointer with the shot clock winding down. The first period ended with the Tigers ahead, 36–27.
Senior forward Tosan Evbuomwan was quieter than usual in the first half, only adding three points to the Tiger total. However, he quickly found his rhythm in the second, scoring six points for Princeton all on his own to keep his team in front.
“I definitely got into a rhythm in the second half,” Evbuomwan wrote in a comment to The Daily Princetonian. “It’s also a case of balancing, facilitating, and scoring throughout the game depending on what the team needs.”
For the Tigers, the lead may have seemed comfortable by the numbers; the Dragons, however, seemed unwilling to give their opponents an easy night on the road. Eventually, the cracks in the Tigers’ defense began to show.
With 13 minutes to go, Drexel guard Justin Moore broke down the defense with a shifty crossover that earned him a wide-open lane. When the defense collapsed, he made a clean dish inside to forward Amari Williams for an emphatic and-one dunk.
Soon after, a three-pointer from Oden, Jr. brought Drexel even closer. With 12:23 left, Princeton led by just five, 52–47.
That would be the closest the Dragons would get. Sophomore guard Blake Peters immediately responded to Drexel’s run, squaring up behind a ball screen at the top of the key for a pull-up three-pointer to push the Tiger lead back up to eight.
Drexel would never come closer than a nine-point game for the rest of the way. Although it was much tougher than the scoreboard would imply, the game ended in a 20-point blowout victory for the visiting Tigers.
Leading all scorers was Princeton’s Allocco, who dropped 19 points on an efficient 75 percent shooting from the field. For the Tigers, Evbuomwan also had a monster performance, scoring 16 points alongside 13 rebounds. Langborg added 11 points, and Lee and Austin contributed 10 each.
“I think just staying in the flow of the game and not missing opportunities to make a play was key for myself as well as the team,” Allocco wrote in a comment to the ‘Prince.’ “They’re a really good team, so we knew they’d make a few runs and play hard, but I think we did a good job of staying in the moment and not getting discouraged when things weren’t going well for us.”
Drexel’s offense was fueled by Lamar Oden, Jr.’s 16 points. Bergens also tallied 12 points off the bench.
The Dragons struggled on the glass, getting out-rebounded by the more aggressive Tigers. Princeton ended with 39 rebounds as a team, 12 of which were on offense; Drexel only had 23 total rebounds. The Tigers’ defensive rebound percentage of 19.4 percent now ranks No. 1 nationally following the victory.
Princeton will host their next opponent, the Lafayette Leopards (1–8, 0–0 Patriot League), in Jadwin Gymnasium on Tuesday, Dec. 6.
Matt Drapkin is an assistant editor for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’ Please direct any corrections requests to corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.