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Men’s basketball defeats Lafayette for seventh straight win

Senior guard Ryan Langborg finished with a game-high of 19 points

<h5>Senior guard Ryan Langborg finished with a game-high of 19 points and five assists.&nbsp;</h5>
<h6>Courtesy of <a href="https://twitter.com/PrincetonMBB/status/1600320394816520192/photo/3" target="_self">@PrincetonMBB/Twitter.</a></h6>
Senior guard Ryan Langborg finished with a game-high of 19 points and five assists. 
Courtesy of @PrincetonMBB/Twitter.

On Tuesday night, the men’s basketball team (7–2 overall, 0–0 Ivy) prevailed in a back-and-forth matchup with the Lafayette Leopards (1–9 overall, 0–0 Patriot), winning 69–58.

The Tigers’ winning streak was extended to seven with the victory, which was secured in large part due to confident scoring from senior guard Ryan Langborg, who finished with a game-high of 19 points and five assists.

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“Great game tonight from Ryan,” said head coach Mitch Henderson ’98 after the win. “He’s been playing with confidence and calm.”

“Now, he’s thinking about other guys and how he can help other people, which is really good,” Henderson added.

Despite hot shooting from Langborg, the Tigers shone brightest on the defensive end against the Leopards. With 10:16 left in the first half, the Leopards had produced just seven points and had only made one of their first six three-point shot attempts.

The Tigers’ lead grew as large as 11 at its peak during the first half, but Lafayette guard C.J. Fulton kept the Leopards in the game. His elusive drives and creative finishing led him to success inside the paint against the Tigers’ big men. Fulton was the only Leopard to shoot above 50 percent from the field in the half, but helped cut the Princeton lead to three by halftime.

Princeton struggled to pull away from the Leopards in the second half, and a three-pointer from guard Ryan Pettit gave the Leopards their first lead of the game with 13 minutes remaining. The Tigers persisted, though, as senior forward Keeshawn Kellman soon took the lead back with a strong and-one layup.

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The Tigers wouldn’t turn back from there.

Kellman’s bucket would jump-start a 12–0 run for the Tigers that culminated with a highlight dunk from first-year guard Deven Austin. The Tigers would go on to hold this lead and ultimately win the game, 69–58.

“He’s fearless defensively,” Henderson said about Austin’s play. “He's got good energy, I want to see that develop into consistency.”

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“We need him, he’s gonna be a force in this league, and we need his contributions,” he added.

Austin played a key role in the Tigers’ suffocating defense tonight. As a team, they held the Leopards to just 36.8 percent shooting from the field and 25 percent from three.

“The game plan was to not let them shoot threes,” Langborg said. “Defense really just comes down to effort. If you’re playing as hard as you can, leaving everything out there, not worrying about having to stay on the floor and get subbed out, then we become pretty good at it.”

Austin, along with fellow first-year guard Xaivian Lee and junior forward Zach Martini, has emerged as one of the primary bench options for the Tigers this season. Lee won Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors after the team’s championship run at the London Basketball Classic, and Martini made his season debut last week after recovering from injury.

The Tigers will suit up at home on Dec. 10 for another non-conference matchup with the Monmouth Hawks (1–8, 0–0 Colonial).

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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