Follow us on Instagram
Try our daily mini crossword
Play our latest news quiz
Download our new app on iOS/Android!

Men’s basketball rallies late to overcome the Brown Bears at Jadwin

A man shooting a jump shot over a defender at a basketball game while the crowd watches on.
Senior guard and captain Matt Allocco recorded 16 points, eight rebounds, and six assists to lead the Tigers
Ryland Graham / The Daily Princetonian

In another packed night at Jadwin Gymnasium, Princeton men's basketball (18–3 overall, 6–2 Ivy League) faced off against the Brown Bears (6–17, 2–6). Coming off of a win against Penn last weekend (9–14, 1–7), the Tigers looked to continue their momentum on Friday night — setting the stage for their rematch against the Yale Bulldogs on Saturday.

In a game that saw the Tigers seal the win late in the second half, the Tigers took the win 72–63, coming back from a ten-point deficit by finishing the game on a 22–8 run.


While senior guard Matt Allocco proved to be the star of the game with 16 points, eight rebounds, and six assists, it was first-year guard Dalen Davis who helped secure the Tigers’ win. Davis played 23 minutes Friday night — his highest total for an Ivy League contest this season — and made an impact that went beyond the stat sheet. Davis finished the contest with a plus-minus of 15.

“I thought Dalen was just terrific tonight,” head coach Mitch Henderson ’98 told The Daily Princetonian. “Stats don't tell the whole story. He had deflections, and guarded [Kino] Lilly … very very difficult to cover.”

Sophomore forward Caden Pierce led the Tigers in scoring with 21 points and 12 boards, while sophomore standout guard Xaivian Lee finished the game with 17 points, six rebounds, and four assists.

Princeton got off to a slow start, missing seven of their first eight shots. Brown guard AJ Lesburt Jr. hit a three to put the Bears up, but Lee tied the game at five with a quick layup on the other end. Allocco hit Pierce for a wing triple, and after a turnover, Allocco found Davis for a catch-and-shoot three.

The Bears started to get going offensively. After two triples and some tough finishing inside the paint, Brown held a 22–15 with under six minutes remaining in the half.  However, junior guard Blake Peters responded quickly on the other end of the court, making a great cut to the basket and completing a three-point play after getting hit by Lilly Jr.


Following the and-one by Peter, the Bears made two triples in a row to extend their lead to ten. The Tigers needed to cut the deficit by halftime, which they were able to do. Peters threw a dime to Lee, who split two Brown defenders and finished at the rim. The last points of the half came courtesy of two free throws by Lee. At the break, the Tigers trailed 30–25.

After shooting just 31 percent from the field and 21 percent behind the arc, the Tigers needed a few adjustments at the break. The adjustments came, as the Tigers attacked the rim more and attempted 24 free throws in the second half.

“We weren’t really moving the ball offensively, and I have to take blame for that,” Henderson noted postgame. “I thought we did a much better job in the second half of applying our kind of basketball offensively.”

Shortly into the second half, the Bears went on a 10–6 run to take a commanding 10-point lead. The Tigers’ offense looked listless, failing to convert on a field goal for four minutes. The difference maker for the Tigers was none other than Davis.

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

The Chicago native stole the ball and hit a transition three, which shifted the momentum of the game. On the next Brown possession, Allocco took an offensive foul, and Davis blocked a three-point attempt, shifting the momentum further in Princeton’s favor. Princeton kept attacking the basket and drawing fouls, hitting five free throws to make it 50–48 with 8:50 left in the game.

“I thought that they were really great at getting themselves to the line, not just attempting shots at the rim but cutting hard and moving hard,” Henderson noted. “It was a physical game, but I was glad to see that we were able to make our free throws.”

In the final seven minutes, Allocco took control of the game, drawing a foul and hitting both free throws. On the next possession, he blocked a deep ball and scored in transition.

Brown continued to struggle, with Lilly Jr. getting the ball stolen from Allocco. Following the steal, Brown head coach Mike Martin was assessed a technical foul for using vulgar language toward the officials. Allocco calmly sank both technical free throws to give Princeton its first lead of the game since their early 11–10 lead. On the ensuing possession, he drilled a midrange pull-up to complete a one-man 8–0 run. The Tigers extended their lead to five after Lee split the defense and finished strong at the rim.

With Princeton up five, the momentum was completely with the Tigers. A score from Lee put the Tigers up nine with just four minutes to play, and Brown never threatened again. The last four minutes proved to be the most comfortable for the Tigers as they cruised to a 72–63 victory.

“It’s always great to feed off the crowd,” Allocco told the ‘Prince.’ “But you know, the crowd doesn't give as much when we played like we did in the first half, you know, not a lot of energy and joy, but it’s fun for everybody when we play like we did in the second half. So, hopefully, tomorrow we can do that for 40 minutes.”

The Tigers were indeed able to do that for 40 minutes on Saturday night against the Yale Bulldogs (17–7, 8–1). After a back-and-forth start to the game, Henderson’s squad took a 38–30 lead into the break and never looked back, winning by a final score of 73–62.

Ryan Kirby is a staff Sports writer for the ‘Prince.’

Please send any corrections to corrections[at]