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Pitt 82 Princeton 61.

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Postgame audio - Coach Mitch Henderson, Ian Hummer, Mack Darrow & Douglas Davis:

Princeton’s year came to an unexpectedly undramatic end on Monday night in the second round of the College Basketball Invitational, as the Tigers fell by 21 at Pitt.

Everything that was attained easily six days previous in Evansville was exceptionally hard versus a Big East foe. Frustrated by the Panthers’ defense jumping out to snuff hand off screens and slice apart ball screens, Princeton played their opening 20 minutes with an uncharacteristic lack of poise and rightfully trailed 49-25 at the break.

Even when the ball was going in, such as a first half stretch where the Tigers made three consecutive shots behind the arc but still could not decrease the Panthers’ lead, Princeton was unable to slow, stop or delay a Pitt team that opened 8-14 from distance.

“We knew when [Pitt] scored points they were dangerous. Two games in a row, a team that makes just over five threes a game makes nine,” head coach Mitch Henderson said. “We just couldn’t handle that.”

Going inside with greater regularity after intermission, the Tigers turned a -26 crevasse into an 11 point deficit with more than seven minutes remaining but on a pair of possessions that could have drawn within single digits, quality looks from Ian Hummer and Brendan Connolly bounded out.

“I thought we played well for spurts in the second half, but they were better,” Henderson assessed.

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Princeton 95 Evansville 86.

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Postgame audio - Ian Hummer, Patrick Saunders & Douglas Davis:

Postgame audio - Coach Mitch Henderson:

Douglas Davis has played in 121 games, more than any other Princeton Tiger in program history.

He’s had a lot of stellar stat lines over his four years, but in what could have been his concluding collegiate outing, Davis saved his best for what ended up not being his last.

Davis poured in a career high 31 on 9-11 shooting, including Princeton’s final 10 as the Tigers closed out a ludicrous, fast-paced, defense-optional sprint versus Evansville in the first round of the CBI with a 10-1 run after the scoreboard was even for a 15th and final time.

“I’ve never been a part of a game like that,” said a bemused and relieved head coach Mitch Henderson afterwards.

A spinning Davis jumper with the shot clock expiring gave Princeton the lead to stay with 2:47 remaining and after Kenny Harris split a pair at the line Davis connected once more from just behind the free throw stripe for a three point lead.

“We never looked back after that,” said Ian Hummer, who added 18 and a game high eight rebounds. “It was one of those shots where it was like ‘Alright, now we’re not losing [tonight].’ Doug led our team today and hopefully we can keep that going.”

Ned Cox’s left wing three was short and Davis capped a superb performance with six consecutive free throws, a trio of one-and-ones.

Evansville’s Colt Ryan was a superb 11-12 from the floor and scored 21 of his 29 in the first half. Henderson was forced to shape the Tigers into a 2-3 zone for one of the first times this season in order to try and cool off Ryan.

“We had to do something,” Henderson admitted. “We changed defenses about 30 times in the first half. None of it worked.”

Both teams shot over 60% on the evening.

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Cincinnati 72 Georgetown 70 (2OT).

Box Score

Postgame audio - Coach John Thompson III, Henry Sims & Jason Clark:

As they had done one day previous against Pitt, Georgetown (23-8) was able to slowly pull away from Cincinnati (23-9) in the second half of this afternoon's Big East Tournament quarterfinal, leading 48-37 following a pair of Jason Clark free throws with 9:11 left.

However, unlike their last time out, the Hoyas were unable to counteract a final run for their opposition. Disrupting the day’s ebb and flow, a nine point lead went down to four rapidly and emphatically on a fantastic play where Yancy Gates stole the ball, passed backwards to Cashmere Wright on a break and still heading forward Wright lofted a diagonal pass for the alley oop dunk.

The Bearcats moved ahead late in regulation on a Gates tip follow for the first time since the 8:54 point of the first frame.

I’m not sure the Georgetown coaches and players would agree, but from a sheer entertainment standpoint this is where the tense, dramatic fun ramped up exponentially.

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Georgetown 64 Pitt 52.

Box Score

Postgame audio - Coach John Thompson III, Otto Porter & Henry Sims:

Postgame audio - Coach John Thompson III one on one interview:

For whatever reason, a quote from Joe Scott relayed in the upper balcony of Jadwin Gym ages ago has stayed with me all these years.

Players get better from their freshman year to their sophomore year.

They can improve from their sophomore season to when they are juniors.

Once they hit their fourth and final campaign however, they aren’t going to be more than what they already are.

The exception to Scott’s rule may be a late leap by Georgetown center Henry Sims.

Averaging 3.2 points per game three years in, Sims more than tripled his output in 2011-12, putting up 11.1 points along with 5.6 rebounds as an All-Big East third team member.

Sims was downright dominant at times in a Wednesday afternoon Big East Tournament second round matchup versus Pitt with both his scoring and his distributing as the Hoyas were able to build, cultivate and expand a lead that they took for the first time late in the first half on a three point play by freshman Greg Whittington. This was only part of a 16-2 run that closed a frame which ended with Georgetown up by eight as Sims bodied inside for the closing bucket.

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Princeton 62 Penn 52.

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Postgame audio - Coach Mitch Henderson, John Comfort, Douglas Davis & Patrick Saunders:

As someone who has slugged through Princeton vs. Penn repeatedly as both a player and as a coach, Jerome Allen’s statement after his team had been withheld a share of the 2011-12 Ivy League title by losing to the Tigers at Jadwin Gym was a surprise.

“How can a team that’s playing for nothing play harder than the team that is supposedly playing for something?” he asked himself.

It was not the circumstance that Princeton wanted to find itself in at the regular season’s close, but when the Quakers come to town there’s always substance on the line.

Tigers senior guard Douglas Davis didn’t see Tuesday’s competition as Allen did, nearly channeling Pete Carril in the process. “Not at all,” he said when questioned if Princeton had nothing to play for. “Every time you step on the floor you’re trying to win. We don’t know what our future holds so we’re just going to play.”

Play they did. Play to win. Especially on defense.

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Princeton 81 Brown 47.

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Postgame audio - Coach Mitch Henderson, Douglas Davis & Brendan Connolly:

There was more drama as to if Saturday night’s game would actually take place than in regards to what the result would be.

Delayed 34 minutes by a malfunctioning backboard stanchion and non-synching shot clocks, Princeton took the lead for good with under eight minutes to go in the first half on a Patrick Saunders three pointer and methodically pulled away to go up 10 on Douglas Davis’ righty drive prior to the horn.

When play resumed the Tigers ran off nine straight and cruised to the finish, shooting 64.5% from the floor in the second half. The Bears did not score over the final 5:23.

With no answer by shorthanded Brown for 6’11″ Brendan Connolly inside, the junior center was in control throughout scoring 14 points and handing out six assists along with seven rebounds in 22 minutes of play. Davis added 12 in his penultimate Ivy game and fellow co-captain Patrick Saunders did the same.

“Because he’s running and establishing early position in the post, I think the guys are really looking for him,” head coach Mitch Henderson said of Connolly’s play. “It is such an advantage for us when we can throw the ball in to a center.”

Saunders is shooting 9-12 from three point range the past four contests.

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Princeton 64 Yale 57.

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Postgame audio - Coach Mitch Henderson, Mack Darrow, Ian Hummer & Jimmy Sherburne:

The pressure was on.

For the first time since 4-4, Princeton looked up at a tie score with 11:34 left in the second half. Yale had pulled even from down by as many as 15 on a Greg Mangano drive at and over Mack Darrow.

Reeling, it was Darrow who would smash the cover that seemingly was placed over the rim the prior six+ minutes by connecting from the top of the arc and the Tigers converted on four consecutive subsequent possessions to reinstate a 49-40 advantage.

“Our defense was good enough but, man, we were very fortunate to play like that and be in a situation where if you make a few plays you reestablish control of the game, said Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson. “We were sweating it. Yale can do that to you.”

The homestanding Tigers fought off every last push from the Bulldogs, including Patrick Saunders somehow blowing up a four-on-one break with Yale down two in the final four minutes.

“Pat does that,” Henderson said with pride of the senior co-captain who is closing his final season with some of his strongest minutes. “He’s got a good sense for things. That was a great play – just a basketball play.”

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Rider 65 Fairfield 62 - recap and photos.

Box Score

Postgame audio - Coach Sydney Johnson & Maurice Barrow:

Battling back from down 13 points with 14:17 to go, Fairfield (17-13) was able to pull even at 55 against Rider (13-18) on a pair of Maurice Barrow free throws, but could not convert three prime chances in the last minute to either win the game or send the afternoon to overtime.

Barrow missed a pair of free throws – one long, one short - after being fouled on a drop step with :46 remaining and the Stags behind 63-62.

Then, out of a time out nine seconds later the Broncs went immediately inside to Novar Gadson for a quick righty flip and a three point game.

Unlike Princeton at Harvard on Friday, Fairfield opted against the quick two and subsequent foul. Rakim Sanders, who scored 13 of his team best 17 in the second half on a series of strong drives, got a good look on the left wing yet the tying try went in and out.

Rider’s Junior Fortunat was fouled but left both his attempts off the front rim and the Stags got one final opportunities at drawing even. As the clock ticked down from nine Sanders pulled up for a three that sailed long.

The ball bounded into the Fairfield bench while time expired.

Photos from today’s game courtesy Robert Solomon.

Recap continues after the jump.

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Princeton 85 Dartmouth 61.

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Postgame audio - Coach Mitch Henderson, Denton Koon, John Comfort & Ian Hummer:

One night after a tough loss at Harvard, there were no slumped shoulders. There was no letdown.

Instead there was no letting up.

Princeton made 12 of 17 three point shots, converted 65.4% of their chances and got a complete team effort in a dominant tip-to-buzzer 24 point victory over Dartmouth in Hanover.

Leading by one 10:30 into the game, the Tigers scored 19 of the next 21 to take control going up 19 on a feed from Ian Hummer to senior John Comfort.

“It was import for us to come out with a lot of energy and stay focused on today’s game, Comfort said. “I think we did that well.”

Their advantage never dipped lower than 14 and three consecutive second half three point shots, the first by Patrick Saunders and the last two from Mack Darrow extended the already sizable margin to 60-31.

Saunders, likely playing in his home state for the final time, was a perfect 4-4 from three point range and had a team best 14. Support came inside from Hummer (11 points, four assists), Brendan Connolly (11 points, five assists) and Denton Koon with 10 off the bench.

Princeton unselfishly dished out 25 assists via 11 different sets of hands.

“We were really trying to emphasize that. I thought across the board everybody shared the ball nicely,” said Tiger head man Mitch Henderson.

All 14 players in uniform saw the court as Clay Wilson and Brian Fabrizius both recorded their first collegiate baskets.

Freshman John Golden has 21 for the Big Green including a series of impressive throw downs.

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Harvard 67 Princeton 64.

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Postgame audio - Coach Mitch Henderson:

Postgame audio - Patrick Saunders & Ian Hummer:

The nation’s second-longest home winning streak lives on, but barely.

After desperately chasing Princeton since nearly the midway point of the first half, Harvard turned up the pressure and finally passed the Tigers for good during a 6:15 stretch well into the back stanza wherein the orange and black went scoreless.

The Crimson were only able to extend their slim lead to 59-55 on a Brandyn Curry shot that lipped in and were able to hold off every last Princeton push for their 28th consecutive victory in Lavietes Pavilion.

“I was really proud of our guys,” said head coach Mitch Henderson after a defeat that all-but-officially snuffs the Tigers’ hope for a portion of the Ivy title. “I thought the game could have gone a number of different ways.”

A pair of Kyle Casey free throws provided his team with a three point advantage as :34 remained. Princeton went for a quick two but Ian Hummer could not convert over Casey inside and Oliver McNally’s four free throws were enough to offset a T.J. Bray three pointer.

Hummer and Douglas Davis led the way for Princeton with 14 apiece but three of Davis’ total came on a harmless 35′ jumper to halve the Tigers’ deficit at the buzzer. Patrick Saunders scored all 12 of his tallies in the first half on three straight three point shots and a three point play as Princeton turned a 9-1 hole into as wide as a 10 point lead before Harvard closed the half on a 9-0 run.

Casey’s 20 championed Harvard, one of three Crimson starters in double digits.

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Seton Hall 73 Georgetown 55.

Box Score

Postgame audio - Coach John Thompson III, Henry Sims & Jason Clark:

I've never fully understood the "o-ver-ra-ted!" chant. Don't you want the team you're beating to be as good as you expected if not better? Doesn't that say more about the school you support?

Still, such a cheer broke out half-heartedly with 2:04 left in the second half tonight in Newark with Seton Hall (19-9) up 64-49 on #8 Georgetown (20-6).

Perhaps it was deserved. The Hoyas didn't play much like a Top 10 team and Seton Hall performed like a school on the NCAA Tournament bubble desperate for a marquee victory.

Jordan Theodore was magnificent for the Pirates, scoring 29 points on 8-11 shooting including 5-5 from three point range and 8-8 at the free throw line.

John Thompson III's team was holding opponents to 38.0% shooting from the floor and 27.8% from behind the arc in Big East play but Seton Hall lit them up from all over, connecting on 8-13 threes and 61% of all their attempts.

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Princeton 75 Cornell 57.

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Postgame audio - Coach Mitch Henderson, Patrick Saunders, T.J. Bray & Ian Hummer:

Of the 10 sour choices, January 13th was the night this season Princeton wished most they could have back. Missing more than their fair share of clean jump shots and unable to take advantage of late opportunities to rally on the road past the Big Red, the Tigers fell 67-59 to open their Ivy League schedule.

“The guys understood that this was a game up in Ithaca – and all credit goes to Cornell – where we really did not feel good about how we played,” Head coach Mitch Henderson admitted.

This evening at Jadwin Gym was poles apart.

“We looked like a completely different bunch,” Henderson said. “I’ve watched that Cornell game probably five or 10 times now. I just don’t recognize us up there. This was a little bit more of who we really are tonight.”

After scoring on their final 12 possessions to finish Columbia off on Friday night, Princeton picked up right where they concluded. The Tigers had five baskets from five different players their first five times down the court.

“I thought we brought a lot of energy right from the tip,” said junior forward Ian Hummer. “We just kept it going all night and tried not to hit a wall.”

While Cornell was able to keep pace offensively for the initial seven minutes, Princeton never let up as they shot 69.2% in the opening frame and maintained a double digit lead over the night’s final 27:47.

“We knew if we came out in the second half and really put our foot to the pedal we would be fine,” Hummer added.

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