Princeton held Brown without a field goal for a 10:24 stretch of the first half, a 13-1 run turning a tie game into what would remain a comfortable Tiger advantage.
Hans Brase or Brendan Connolly bothering Bears big man Rafael Maia into 1-7 shooting - including a number of off-kilter attempts - allowed Princeton's other four players on the floor to focus on locking the arc.
All eight of Brown's first half field goals were layups, five in the first six minutes and two in the final :45 seconds.
In between there was plenty of Ian Hummer.
Hummer - who scored 11 in the opening 20 minutes - had seven straight as the Tigers assembled a lead they would only build upon. Hummer finished with 15 points as Denton Koon recorded 17 including 3-3 shooting from three point range and T.J. Bray added 14 (6-7 from the field).
“Having Brendan playing as well as he is defensively, it really gives us confidence to guard hard on the perimeter,” said Hummer. “If they go by us we know we have great help inside.”
Maia totaled 17 of his 19 in the second half but Brown was 1-12 outside the arc overall with their only connection coming in the game's final 30 seconds. No other Brown player had more than eight.
The 12 point differential at the break extended to 22 on a pair of occasions and never dipped to single digits as the visiting Bears converted 38.0% of their tries for the game.
Princeton by comparison shot 54.8% including 8-13 as a team from behind the arc.
The rest of this recap plus postgame audio from Coach Mitch Henderson & Ian Hummer can be found after the jump.
Postgame audio - Coach Mitch Henderson:
Postgame audio - Ian Hummer:
Everything worrisome about this contest turned out to not be an issue. Myriad isolation drives against Columbia? A non-factor the final 80% of the game versus Brown. The snowstorm outside creating an antiseptic environment? Well, a full pep band and cheerleading squad did their best to make Jadwin Gym lively. A 22 point second half comeback by the Bears at Harvard last Saturday? History would not repeat itself at Jadwin Gym once Princeton got up big. Struggles against Brown the past four years? This game was nothing like the majority of those unpleasant affairs.
Hummer missed a drive left at Cedric Kuakumensah and Maia scored up and over Hans Brase in the early-going.
Bray’s help defense slapped the ball free from Kuakumensah on the dribble but Will Barrett going to his left was unable to thread a too-ambitious pass to Brase instead of continuing his drive.
Matt Sullivan made it 4-2 when he went glass over Koon stepping out to cut him off. Hummer drove to his right at Kuakumensah a second time and tried to finish in the opposite direction but Kuakumensah made an impressive block which he then controlled.
Brase altered Maia inside, not the last time such a thing would occur.
A Brown inbounds pass was a thing of beauty. Tucker Halpern passed to Kuakumensah at the free throw line who passed swiftly and immediately right back to Halpern in the field of play for a layup. It was a rather well-designed play.
Hummer to his right set up Koon with a midrange jumper from the right side. It is amazing how far Koon’s jumper has come since his first campaign to the second.
“He couldn’t hit an outside shot from beyond 10 feet [as a freshman], kind of like myself a little bit,” said Hummer. “[Denton’s] put a lot of work in. If he’s able to keep that up the whole season I think we’re looking really good.”
A lefty scoop by the always dangerous Sean McGonagill had his team up 8-4. Hummer was fouled going to his right by Kuakumensah. After starting 2013 converting 23-27 at the line, Hummer missed both his chances.
Following a stretch that saw Kuakumensah miss inside, Connolly unable to grab a defensive rebound, Kuakumensah blocked by Mack Darrow and Maia grab a pair of offensive boards before Brown called time from the bench with a jump ball about to be awarded in their direction, Tyler Ponticelli posted Bray and scored to his right off the glass with the shot clock at one.
There was 14:01 left in the first half. From this point forward the game changed considerably.
“They had easy layups and then I think everything tightened up [defensively],” head coach Mitch Henderson said following his team’s 21st straight home conference victory. “I was very pleased tonight.”
Bray – who in warm-ups was hitting over 70% of his three point attempts during a drill with assistant coach Marcus Jenkins – used a narrow window to connect from behind the arc. Connolly diving to the floor for a ball McGonagill lost got the Tiger bench on their feet and when Bray inbounding under the Princeton basket fed Darrow drifting unmarked to the left corner for three the score was even.
Following a Stephen Albrecht turnover where he zipped a pass over Maia’s reach and into the end zone bleachers, Connolly on the left block dropped a pass to Hummer in the lane for a short jump hook and a 12-10 Tiger edge.
McGonagill’s curling drive around Darrow was scooped home and did bring back eerie memories of the Columbia game, but Hummer put any fears to rest.
Hummer slid behind a dribbling Darrow for his fourth three pointer of the season, providing Princeton a lead they would not relinquish. Maia with the ball guarded by Brase hesitated for a second and traveled in the process. Hummer got great position inside, bumped Kuakumensah lightly and legally to create separation and went right up for two off the glass.
As the Tigers were taking control the only issue that arose was Koon picking up his second personal trying to check Maia on an entry feed.
With the Tigers up six after Brase split a pair at the line, Chris Clement drew the assignment of staying with McGonagill and performed nicely. Barrett also rotated very well defensively to swat a Maia try inside.
If you’ve watched Princeton at all the last two+ seasons you’ve seen Bray bring the ball up, drive and keep going all the way to the rim. Such a scenario made it 20-13 Tigers.
Connolly may have missed his first two hook shots, but both were very good looks and Connolly continued to call for the ball, taking a Clement feed, passing out and then immediately re-posting for a point blank layup.
When Hummer rose for a left elbow jumper the lead was up to 13.
The bench and coaching staff especially liked Clement sliding in front of Kuakumensah to take a charge.
A rare poor Bray pass after Kuakumensah threw the ball off of his teammate Maia resulted in a transition drive for Sullivan. It was Brown’s first basket since the 11:09 mark.
Clement hadn’t recorded a field goal since November 24 (you can look it up), but you would never have guessed as Hummer across the lane found the junior guard in the near corner for a pure three which increased the lead up to 29-15 in the final minute.
“I was really happy for him,” Henderson said of Clement’s trey. “That’s an important shot for him.”
With the shot clock off McGonagill used up enough time that his incredible reverse layup dropped in off his left hand a second before the intermission. That nifty play was an extremely minor damper on an excellent defensive half for Princeton.
The Tigers shot 12-22 (54.5%) and 4-6 from three (66.7%) with the only sour note a 1-4 mark at the line (25.0%). Princeton had seven assists and four turnovers with Hummer scoring 11.
In the process Hummer passed Craig Robinson for fifth place and equaled Pete Campbell for fourth place on the career scoring list at Princeton.
Brown’s numbers were poor - 8-24 from the floor (33.3%), 0-4 outside and 1-2 at the stripe. The Bears had a lone assist and eight giveaways. With Maia accounted for Mike Martin’s team could not spread the Tigers out as they might have hoped.
Matt Sullivan got a clean look for three on Brown’s first possession of the second half but his shot sailed long. Will Barrett bounced a feed to Bray bisecting the lane and the Tigers would score on three of their first possessions after the break.
Following two Maia free throws, Bray ran behind a screen to fire in his second three of the night as a pass from Barrett met him in rhythm. Halpern was able to set his feet from behind the arc but sent an attempt long and Hummer first slapped a rebound to himself in the lane then deferred to Bray driving all the way to the basket off the glass for a pair. Brown called time down 36-17.
Maia was able to establish himself in a fashion that he could not in his first 20 minutes versus Princeton. The same inbounds play that worked so nicely in the first half was adjusted as instead of passing back to the inbounding man, Tyler Ponticelli went to Maia on the opposite block.
When Maia banked a shot in over a fouling Connolly, Brown had closed to 13. Following a time out Maia – a 53.6% free throw shooter – could not complete his three point play.
Bray posted Kuakumensah and across the lane found Koon confidently stroking from the right corner.
A trailing Maia on a McGonagill drive and McGonagill grabbing a rebound Connolly should have had and flipping the ball back up and in drew Brown down 39-27 and caused Henderson to use a time out with 14:15 showing.
Connolly traveled trying to make the same spin move that worked late against Columbia and a three pointer from Albrecht somehow went 75% of the way down the cylinder before meekly popping out.
On a Princeton inbounds Bray got the ball in and immediately posted, finding Hummer at the left elbow blowing past Kuakumensah for a whistle and two made free throws.
Maia went against his average with two more conversions at the line after Brase slid in and did not get a favorable whistle outside of the circle trying to take a charge.
Brown went into some form of zone with Koon promptly broke from the top of the arc. Maia missed at point blank range and while Brase lost the ball inside it flew to Hummer under the backboard who spotted Koon on the right side for his third deep jumper in as many attempts.
It was the first time in his career the sophomore had hit a trio of treys in the same game and according to Koon’s parents was likely something that never occurred in high school.
“That impressed me a little bit,” said Hummer of his teammate’s shooting display.
After a Brown time out it was Brase to a cutting Bray dishing to Hummer crashing for a two hand slam and a 49-29 score.
Midway through the second half and the Bears were down by about the same amount with about the same time remaining as they were when they mounted an incredible comeback at Harvard to force a pair of overtimes.
While Henderson said he did not mention this to his team, he admitted that what Brown was almost able to accomplish “never left my mind.”
This game was not that game. Maia scored after bumping off Barrett but again missed two chances for a third point from the line as Barrett committed a lane violation on the first attempt.
Bray split the defense with a lefty scoop and after perhaps their best team defensive possession of the night Koon got some space on the left block with a ball fake and scored over Sullivan for a game-high 53-31 advantage.
Inside of eight minutes to go Wilson, Connolly, Barrett and Clement replaced Koon, Hummer, Bray and Brase. The substitutes did a nice job of playing with a sizable lead – using clock and waiting for good shots to find them. Wilson faked a three on the far side and stepped in to a long two.
Kuakumensah splitting a pair at the line, Jon Schmidt grabbing an offensive rebound, Joe Sharkey missing an open three from the left side and Kuakumensah tipping in the follow with far too much ease was enough to provide Henderson reason to get his starters back in off the bench.
Not much of consequence occurred down the stretch, with almost all watching eager to get the heck out of Jadwin in front of the snow. Princeton did go 6-6 at the free throw line (two each for Brase, Koon and finally Bobby Garbade) before Issac Serwanga, Ameer Elbuluk and the again-healthy Brian Fabrizius closed the ledger.
Tucker Halpern’s three on the Bears’ final possession avoided a night without a true shot from behind the arc for the visitors.
“I think today we really picked up the defense,” a contented Hummer said afterwards. Hummer praised his fellow “athletic, mobile forwards and guards” who were able to constantly switch out on Brown and take away the majority of things they do well.
With a whole lot of meteorological drama surrounding Jadwin Gym, Carril Court was host to an unexpectedly calm contest controlled by Princeton after the first six minutes as the Tigers moved one game closer to the eye of the Ivy storm.
-Princeton’s shooting percentage increased in the second half with the Tigers 23-42 overall (54.8%). The orange and black also shot even better from the perimeter in the vesper frame, hitting 4-7 attempts for 8-13 on the night (61.5%). Going 8-9 after intermission boosted Princeton to 9-13 from the stripe (69.2%).
-Eight total turnovers made this the fourth game of the season where the Tigers had less than 10 giveaways.
-Princeton is a gaudy 16-24 from three point range in their last two games.
-The Tigers were +20 with Hummer on the floor.
-Princeton improved to 9-2 when Hummer uses <35% of his team’s possessions. Hummer was a part of 28.3 of his squad’s 55 possessions on Friday.
-Brown shot 19-50 overall (38.0%), 1-12 from deep (8.3%) and 7-15 at the line (46.7%).
-After opening 4-5, Maia finished the night 5-11 on free throws.
-Of Brown’s 46 points, 34 came in the paint and seven more from the stripe. Add in three more on their lone trey of the game and that’s all but two of their tallies.
-The Bears entered Friday averaging 8.1 made threes per game.
-Daniel Edwards returned to Jadwin Gym after a several month absence. He was not in uniform but on the floor for warmups, seated several rows behind the Princeton bench.
-If you made it to the game I hope you got home safe and sound.