The task for the Princeton Tigers was quite simple. Win and force a playoff game for the Ivy League title against Harvard. Lose, then wait for an invitation to play in the post-season. The Tigers had to do this against their fiercest rival, The University of Pennsylvania Quakers at the Palestra. And do it on Penn’s Senior Night. Princeton did so behind an 11 – 0 run late in the second half to earn a 70 – 58 win over Penn.
“Everybody is playing for something, a play-in game, we’re playing for .500,” said Penn Coach Jerome Allen about the significance of the contest. “They made shots when they needed them. We didn’t come up with stops when we needed them. ”
Princeton appeared ready to break the game open early jumping out to a 15 – 4 lead with 11:34 remaining. Three consecutive Tiger three-pointers by Guard Dan Mavraides, Guard Douglas Davis, and Forward Mack Darrow propelled the Orange and Black to the lead. However, Princeton would go cold getting just two more baskets the rest of the half. They shot 28% in the first half. A 17 – 4 Penn run capped by a Zack Rosen trey gave Penn the lead at 21 – 19. Freshman Guard Miles Cartwright sparked Penn with his drives to the basket. The Red and Blue went into the locker room ahead by 23 – 19.
The Penn lead would grow to 8 early in the second half. Princeton began their comeback after a timeout by Coach Sydney Johnson. Working the ball inside to Forwards Ian Hummer and Kareem Maddox, the Tigers took a 44 – 40 lead with 8:56 on the clock. The lead had been alternating between two and four points until the 8:00 mark when Forward Patrick Saunders made a 3 from the corner putting Princeton ahead 47 – 42. Following two free throws by Maddox the Tigers made Penn pay for their three missed shots as back to back threes by Davis and Saunders gave them a 55 – 42 lead with 5:22 to play.
Princeton shot 77.8% in the second half making 14 of 18 shots. Maddox scored a game-high 23 points, 21 in the second half. Maddox also added 5 rebounds and 5 assists, and was 11 of 12 from the free throw line. Hummer scored 14 points and pulled down 7 rebounds.
“When you don’t defend, you don’t win,” said Allen. “When a team shoots over 70% in a half and knocks down all of their free throws, our guys didn’t match their intensity.”
Senior Guard Tyler Bernardini led Penn with 18 points. Cartwright scored 12 points and handed out 6 assists. Senior Forward Jack Eggleston posted 10 points and 6 rebounds.
Penn ends to season with a 13 – 15 record, and 7 – 7 in the Ivy League. The Quakers look to build on the improvement they made this season.
“We did some good things, showed some character throughout the season, and the effort was never in question,” said Allen about the team’s performance this season. “That’s a start. We have a lot of work to do, but I’m enthused and encouraged about the opportunity to roll my sleeves up and get to work.”
The Tigers look to a play-in game against Harvard for the Ivy League championship, and a berth in the field of 68.
Key Run of the Game
With 8:28 to play a Rosen field goal brought Penn to within two at 44 – 42. Princeton scored the next 11 points over three minutes to move in front by a 55 – 42 score with 5:22 on the clock. The Tigers made three shots from beyond the arc, two by Saunders and one by Davis.
Key Stat of the Game
After a poor shooting first half where Princeton made 7 of 25 from the field, the Tigers turned it around making 14 of 18 shots for 77.8% in the second half.
Key Players in the Game
For Penn – Miles Cartwright who gave Penn energy and intensity scoring 12 points and handing out 6 assists.
For Princeton – Kareem Maddox who scored a game-high 23 points, 21 in the second half. Maddox had 5 rebounds and 5 assists. He made 11 of 12 free throws.
Point Where the Game Was Decided
Two free throws by Maddox with 1:06 to go put Princeton ahead by 67 – 57 ending the rally by Penn.
Thoughts and Musings
It was Senior Night at Penn. A chance to honor the seven seniors who gave much to the program. The school honored Darren Smith, Andreas Schreiber, Dan Monckton, Zack Gordon, Conor Turley, and Jack Eggleston. With the exception of Eggleston and Gordon, the above mentioned players suffered injuries that impeded their basketball careers.
Jack Eggleston completed his four years scoring 1,248 points, grabbed 700 rebounds, and started 111 of the 115 games in which he played. To fully understand what Eggleston meant to the team, it is best explained by the opposing coach.
“He is a leader, he is a competitor,” said Princeton Coach Sydney Johnson. “That kid is special, and he is a tremendous player. He is a great guy to compete against. He would have been a great Tiger. As a coach that is the highest compliment I can give.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian