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Princeton JV 81 Mercer 78.

Sophmore guard Bobby Foley hit seven three pointers, including the deciding bucket with seven seconds remaining, as the Princeton JV defeated Mercer County Community College 81-78.

Foley's 26 points spoiled the homecoming of former Princeton assistant Howie Levy.

Forward Jason Liberman had 14 for the Tigers.

Stephen Elmore - a freshman Princeton baseball player who is the son of former Maryland standout Len Elmore, scored 12 in the post. The 6'6" Elmore's physicality makes him an intriguing possibility for a future varsity roster spot.

Zane Ma, who has not suited up for a single varsity game this season, was also in action with five points - including a coast-to-coast drive in the game's opening seconds after he picked off a Mercer pass on the wing. It was good to see him wearing something at Jadwin other than a suit.

Chris Petrie was an unexpected participant in Monday's game. Petrie recorded eight for the Tigers and gave the home team a 76-75 lead with a post move in the final two minutes.

Also on the floor down the stretch was a late-arriving Alex Okafor, who tallied six and picked up an assist on the game-winner when he dribbled to the left wing from half court down by one and set a dribble hand-off for Foley that put Princeton on top.

John Comfort, who scored 40+ in a JV game earlier this season, was off target against the Vikings - connecting just once from outside. This did not stop Levy from screaming "shooter!" to his team every time Comfort touched the ball on the perimeter. Comfort did have a nice individual play late in the first half where he faked a three and drove right to the baseline, dunking with both hands when help defense did not arrive.

While the Tigers ran numerous high screens for their shooters, Mercer looked to attack Princeton from the elbow and the free throw line extended to create backdoor opportunities.

Corye Payton's lefty drive put Mercer up 72-69 with three minutes remaining, but Foley took an Okafor pass that deflected outside and dropped it in to tie the score.

Okafor muscled up a bank on the left baseline to give the Tigers a two point lead. Payton connected from three after receiving a pass out of the post and the Vikings were back up one.

For those of you keeping score at home, Princeton started Petrie, Foley, Ma, Liberman and Comfort.

Rounding out the JV roster: Mystery Player #10 (two three pointers using an unorthodox delivery) and Mystery Player #12 (scoreless).

Pictures courtesy of Stephen Goldsmith.

Brown 61 Princeton 43.

Box Score

Postgame audio - Coach Sydney Johnson:

Postgame audio - Kareem Maddox:

One night after being out-muscled versus Yale, Princeton suffered through their worst loss at Brown since 1960, falling by 18 to the Bears - who were previously winless in Ivy play. The 61-43 decision was Princeton's fourth straight defeat in Providence and dropped the Tigers into second place behind Cornell in the race for the Ivy League title.

Center Matt Mullery led Brown’s “Iron Six” with 19 points on 8-10 shooting and six assists, one of three Bears in double figures.

Kareem Maddox had 10 points and six rebounds for the Tigers in defeat.

Brown combined timely outside shooting with high/low sets from the free throw line that allowed their big men to camp out deep in the lane for close, quality looks at the basket.

"We may have lost some confidence defensively, and that seemed to play out this weekend," said Princeton head coach Sydney Johnson. "Hopefully we can bounce back from that."

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Yale 60 Princeton 48.

Box Score

Postgame audio - Coach Sydney Johnson & Douglas Davis:

The opening possession was a harbinger of the rest of the night.

After winning the opening tip from Princeton forward Kareem Maddox, Yale's Ross Morin got the ball inside and missed at point blank range, his shot was rebounded under the basket by the smallest player on the floor, 5'9" Bulldog Chris Andrews.

An undaunted Morin missed again, but this time Yale center Garrett Fiddler took the ball away as it went up for grabs. The action stuck down at the far end of the John J. Lee Amphitheater, Alex Zampier was off the mark for three. Morin snatched his second board, but still could not score in the paint, Fiddler controlling before the ball went out of bounds off Princeton.

Morin passed out to Andrews just inside the three point line for a jumper over an oncoming Marcus Schroeder, which opened the scoring and ended a sixty second stretch with the ball continuously in Yale's hands.

Those four offensive rebounds were a quarter of the 16 the Bulldogs would grab as they overpowered Princeton inside on their way to a 60-48 victory, sending the Tigers to defeat for the first time in five Ivy contests.

"It was a physical game," said Princeton head coach Sydney Johnson. "The physicality seemed to favor them."

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Princeton 63 Columbia 35.

Box Score

Postgame audio - Coach Sydney Johnson, Pawel Buczak, Dan Mavraides & Marcus Schroeder:

On Friday night, Princeton finished their decisive victory over Cornell by not permitting the Big Red to score a field goal in the final 7:05 of the second half.

The Tigers picked right up where they left off on the defensive end Saturday against Columbia, as the Lions went the first 9:05 of the game without a point.

A decisive defensive effort by Princeton's big men shut down Columbia in the post and the Tigers cruised to a surprisingly easy 63-35 win, the team's seventh straight.

It was Princeton's largest margin of victory over a D-I opponent since 2003, when the Tigers defeated UMBC, 76-43.

The combined lockdown of Cornell and Columbia (76 combined points) totalled the fewest points allowed over an Ivy weekend versus Princeton since 1984, also against the Big Red and Lions (71 combined points).

"We were very attentive [on defense]," said Princeton head coach Sydney Johnson. "We really knew that we were going to have to lock in. We were emotionally up for the game and that was important, especially following last night."

Backup center Zach Finley scored 11 points in 14 minutes to lead the Tigers, reaching double figures for the first time this season.

No Columbia player finished with more than two field goals.

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Princeton 61 Cornell 41.

Box Score

Postgame audio - Coach Sydney Johnson, Pawel Buczak & Kareem Maddox:

It wasn't just that they won, though the fact that they won is remarkable unto itself.

It was how they won.

Princeton never trailed on Friday night against Cornell, defeating the defending Ivy League champions 61-41 and ending the Big Red's 19 game conference winning streak.

They won despite getting just two points from their leading scorer, Doug Davis.

They won holding Cornell to four points in the final eight minutes of the game, and not allowing a field goal in the final 7:05.

They won scoring the game's last 10 points.

They won with four players in double figures, starting with center Pawel Buczak, who was on target all three times he rose up from outside, connecting from the top of the arc and both wings. Buczak poured in 15 points on 6-7 shooting. Dan Mavraides added 12 and Kareem Maddox had his most complete game in months, scoring 11, grabbing a game-best seven boards and working with the Tiger frontcourt to limit Cornell to minimal second chances. Marcus Schroeder chipped in 10.

Louis Dale was the only Cornell player in double figures with 12.

"I don't know if we envisioned it quite this way in terms of how the game played out and starting the year 3-0 [in the Ivy League]," said victorious Princeton coach Sydney Johnson, "but we do have a blueprint that was started by a man named Pete Carril and we've all tweaked it in different ways. These young men have embraced the system and they have great chemistry amongst them selves. It is really starting to pay dividends."

While the Tigers improved to 3-0 in conference, Cornell dropped to 4-1.

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Princeton 77 Harvard 71.

Box Score

Postgame audio - Coach Sydney Johnson:

Postgame audio - Dan Mavraides:

Postgame audio - Douglas Davis & Patrick Saunders:

Marcus Schroeder and Dan Mavraides spend extra time as a pair after almost every Princeton practice shooting together. One fires up jumpers. The other rebounds and passes back out. The two have developed a chemistry in front of 7,000 empty seats at Jadwin Gym.

In the late stages of Saturday night's Ivy League game at Harvard, in front of a packed Lavietes Pavilion, things were as simple under pressure as they are between two teammates putting in additional work on their three point shots with no one watching.

"[Marcus] always knows where I am," said Mavraides. "He's a great point guard. He's always able to get in there, draw my man and kick it out to me. He's the best at that."

Two times in the final four minutes of an exciting, well-played basketball game between Princeton and Harvard, where neither team led by more than six points throughout, Schroeder drove to the basket, attracted the attention of the defense and knew where he could find his shooting partner outside the arc. Two times Mavraides set his feet, squared his shoulders and knocked down the open jumper.

Both shots gave Princeton a six point advantage and combined with perfect 8-8 shooting at the free throw line down the stretch, were enough to overcome an incredible 27 point performance by junior Crimson guard Jeremy Lin as the Tigers improved to 2-0 in Ivy League play.

Mavraides finished the 77-71 victory with a career high 22 on 6-8 shooting.

Schroeder dished out a season-best six assists. Princeton had a season high of 18 assists compared to just six turnovers, four of which came in the first half.

"He's been good," understated Tiger head man Sydney Johnson said of his junior point guard. "Seeing guys with character on our team responding, it is really nice. His parents, his high school coach, Coach Scott, they've all prepared him for a moment like this and I'm really happy for him."

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Princeton 59 Dartmouth 54.

Box Score

Postgame audio - Coach Sydney Johnson:

Postgame audio - Dan Mavraides:

Postgame audio - Pawel Buczak:

Junior center Pawel Buczak dominated the last four minutes of play, contributing to three straight baskets in an 8-0 Princeton run that helped the Tigers build a decisive 11 point advantage on their way to a 59-54 victory over Dartmouth. The win is the team’s fourth straight, Princeton’s first four game unbeaten streak since 2004.

It was a balanced offensive effort in Hanover to open the Ivy slate. Buczak finished with a team-high 14 points and a game-best five assists. Dan Mavraides scored 13, 10 in the first half. Freshmen Douglas Davis and Patrick Saunders each added 11, the latter a career high.

The near-unstoppable Alex Barnett was the only Dartmouth player in double digits, scoring 24 in a variety of ways, including five strikes from three point range.

"I felt like we got closer to doing what we wanted to do on offense and defense," said Princeton coach Sydney Johnson after the game. "When you're playing hard enough and play well enough times you come away with a win."

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Princeton 64 Concordia (NY.) 44.

Box Score

Postgame audio - Coach Sydney Johnson, Marcus Schroeder & Patrick Saunders:

Returning to play after their traditional 17 day January break for final exams, Princeton methodically pulled away from Concordia in the final tune-up before the start of Ivy League play. Douglas Davis scored a team high 11 points, all in the first half, as the Tigers won their third straight, 64-44.

Samuel Batista had 15 for the Clippers.

"I think it was obvious from the start that we were just trying to get used to a game environment," said Princeton head coach Sydney Johnson. "I think that's important for us to do that before we go into an obviously pivotal weekend [at Dartmouth and Harvard]"

Concordia scored the game's first five points, but the Tigers countered with a 10-0 run and never trailed the rest of the day.

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Manor 56 Mercer 52.

Postgame audio - Coach Howie Levy:

"Unfortunately, success tends to make guys let up," said Mercer County Community College head coach Howie Levy.

"It happened in the Northwestern game [when the Wildcats could not hold a double digit halftime lead versus Purdue]. It happened in [Oregon State's] game against Washington State," added Levy. "You get a big lead and you forget to do the things that got you the big lead."

The same story played out for Mercer on Saturday afternoon, as Manor climbed out of an early 26-9 hole and pulled themselves up from a 43-30 deficit with under 15 minutes to play to pass and fend off the Vikings.

The newest members of the Garden State Athletic Conference's Region XIX ended Mercer's four game winning streak with the 56-52 win and evened the Vikings' record at 8-8.

"The big message that I send to these guys is that every basketball game is decided by a handful of possessions," Levy stated after his team's loss.

"It turned from a game played our way to a game played their way. Our offense doesn't work when we don't cut hard and our guys aren't good enough to play without it." The hard work on defense to come over screens as Mercer built their advantage and the attention to assistant coach Roger Gordon's scouting report that limited the touches of the Blue Jays' sharpshooters came undone midway through the second half.

Back-to-back threes by Stefan Thompson, who had been shut out up to this point, gave Manor their first lead, 47-46 with six minutes to go. "They have shooters that just catch the ball and shoot it. All you have to do is not let them get any shots off, just being attentive. They got two," said Levy of this stretch. "A three point shooter can have a great game and have the ball in his hands for four seconds. You can make three threes, catch and shoot, and he had a great game."

Despite the setback, Mercer has made significant strides since the last time I saw them in action in mid-November. "I think they're starting to enjoy to play this way," Levy said of his team, "but when things are tough they haven't been doing it long enough to not revert to what they did previously."

Mercer hosts Essex on Tuesday night at 7:00 pm ET.

Princeton 73 Lehigh 64.

Box Score

Postgame audio - Coach Sydney Johnson, Zach Finley, Dan Mavraides & Kareem Maddox:

To fully appreciate Princeton's 73-64 victory over Lehigh on Wednesday night, you had to sit through the two teams playing in Bethlehem one year and one day ago.

It was a then-program-worst 11th straight loss for the Tigers, a game where Princeton was unable to put the ball in the basket or stop their opponent. A game where Lehigh's Zahir Carrington scored as many points as the entire Tiger team in the first 24 minutes. From 15-3 to 27-12 to 41-19 to the Mountain Hawks' eventual 27 point lead with 8:47 left, it was as ugly and discouraging a game as you could stomach.

Which is why last night's result was such a thrilling and unexpected treat.

The Mountain Hawks came into Jadwin Gym on a five game winning streak, but Princeton led almost the entire night and held off a number of second half pushes by Lehigh.

Dan Mavraides topped his career high for the second time this week, scoring a game-best 21. Doug Davis supported the cause with 14 and Marcus Schroeder offered up 10 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

"I talked to these guys about last year and I think they had a feel about how I felt about last year's game," said Princeton coach Sydney Johnson, choosing his words carefully. "I wasn't happy with how it played out. That may have factored into our preparation for this game. I'm glad that we were able to win."

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Princeton 65 UNC Greensboro 55.

Box Score

Postgame audio - Coach Sydney Johnson, Doug Davis, Dan Mavraides & Marcus Schroeder:

Princeton coach Sydney Johnson was blunt.

Losing is terrible.

Losing hurts.

Losing stinks.

His Tigers were tired of losing and on Saturday the team did what they had been unable to do in five straight tight contests across December. When the score got close and the clock got late, they made just enough plays to win, defeating UNC Greensboro 65-55.

Dan Mavraides scored a career-high 17 points, including a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line in the second half.

Doug Davis set the tone with 15 in the first twenty minutes as Princeton opened up early leads of 15-3 and 30-15.

Junior center Pawel Buczak grabbed 10 rebounds, a new personal best.

"I probably won't be able to wipe the smile off my face," said Johnson following Princeton's third win of the season.

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Lafayette 54 Princeton 53.

Box Score

Postgame audio - Coach Sydney Johnson:

Postgame audio - Dan Mavraides:

Trailing by one on the final possession of the night, with the clock dwindling down to single digits, Princeton’s Dan Mavraides drove to his left from the three point line and got his man in the air with a pump fake, setting up a clean look at an angled nine foot jumper. The shot did not connect, but Mavriades still had a tick to curl into the paint and push up a second shot between two Lafayette defenders from just inside the free throw line.

This high jumper came up well short of the rim, the referees did not stop play to whistle a reach-in foul and time expired on Princeton’s sixth straight loss, a 54-53 decision.

Tiger head coach Sydney Johnson waved his open hands towards the officiating crew in dismay before walking across the floor to shake hands with victorious Lafayette coach Fran O’Hanlon.

“We came off looking for a shot for [Doug Davis] off a high ball screen to see if Pavel [Buczak] could roll and get an easy layup,” said Mavraides of his team’s last offensive series. “[Davis] swung it to me, the clock was ticking and I took a pull-up jump shot that I know I can make and it didn’t fall this time.”

Mavraides and junior center Pawel Buczak each tallied 11 for Princeton in defeat.

Lafayette’s Michael Gruner, who had missed six games this season with a thigh contusion, led all scorers with 15, all but three coming in the second half.

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