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Princeton 63 Brown 46.

Box Score : HD Box Score

Postgame audio - Coach Sydney Johnson:

Postgame audio - Douglas Davis & Ian Hummer:

When your starting center and his backup both pick up two personal fouls in the first 3:27 of the game, a one-sided blowout isn’t a surprise.

What was a surprise is that the team hampered by foul trouble were the ones that dominated play.

With bigs Pawel Buczak and Zach Finley on the bench, Princeton used an unselfish offensive attack and a pressure defense that bothered Brown’s guards before they could get into their sets - opening the game on an 18-7 run and building a 40-18 halftime advantage - cruising to the 63-46 final.

The score of the Ivy opener wasn’t even that close. The Bears did not get within 17 points in the second half until the game’s final basket.

"That's what we do when we're at out best," said Princeton head coach Sydney Johnson after opening his third consecutive Ivy campaign with a victory. "We're trying to learn from some of our mistakes and I think that showed a little bit tonight."

Douglas Davis scored all of his game-best 16 in the first 20 minutes, set up four times behind the arc by his teammates. Ian Hummer bullied for 10 down low, eight after intermission.

Matt Mullery, the interior presence for Brown who came into Friday’s game with a lofty stat line went 2-8 from the floor and finished with 10.

"2-8 - I didn't know that," a surprised Johnson remarked afterwards. "He causes a lot of problems for people. I didn't know that we were able to do that. He's really good, so I guess we caught him on an off night, because he's really, really good."

It took 61 seconds for Buczak to take himself out of the equation. A foul pushing Mullery at the free throw line was followed by a whistle for holding on an offensive rebound.

Finley poked an entry pass intended for Mullery to Patrick Saunders and Dan Mavraides raced up the floor for a layup to make the score 3-2 Brown.

Two tweets by the official within 13 seconds of one another removed Finley from the lineup, the second coming on a lob inside to Mullery.

Kareem Maddox and Ian Hummer came off the bench to give the Tigers some size and versatility. At times Maddox would even play center in this quicker lineup.

Tied at five, Davis popped on the right wing for a three and pulled up for a left baseline midrange jumper to make the score 10-5 Tigers.

Two offensive rebounds for Princeton kept a patient possession alive and the Tigers finished with a Mavraides trey from the far corner, set up by Saunders. Brown called time out with 12:37 left, unable to rotate their defense in time to follow the ball around the court.

Hummer's baseline leaner made it an eight point lead again and at the other end of the court Hummer had a stellar defensive play, coming down the paint to block Peter Sullivan's sure baseline layup off the backboard after Sullivan beat his man to the basket. Hummer's swat may have been a goaltend, but the fact that he did not give up on a play that looked over was impressive either way.

Mavraides found Davis in the far corner for his third triple of the half and after Mullery made one of two at the free throw line, Maddox was unable to score inside and fell to the ground as play moved the other way.

Davis came up with a quick steal of Steve Gruber and passed the ball ahead to Maddox, who was just reaching half court. Maddox turned 180 degrees and headed back towards his basket, emphatically dunking with his right hand on the accidental breakaway. The Tiger edge had increased to 20-8.

Brown missed several point blank layups, some of which were rushed as the duo of Hummer and Maddox intimidated inside.

While the Bears weren't missing from close, Princeton pressured the Brown guards as soon as they got over half court, making sure to keep their arms spread and active. The home team never found their comfort level.

"I think we probably disrupted them a little bit but then there were some plays where they were driving to the rim and stuff was rimming out," Johnson said. "I think we were a little fortunate to be honest."

Davis was slightly less modest, praising the scouting report and the team's gameplan.

"We went over in practice putting pressure on the guards, and it all started with the guards - once we put pressure on them, made it hard for them to throw passes around the perimeter and into the block, we disrupted them," Davis concluded.

"It makes a huge difference," Davis said when asked about the frantic pressure Princeton put on Brown's ballhandlers. "When you're bothering [your man] and putting your arms out there, he doesn't have the time he thinks he has to pass the ball or to make a shot. You're in his head when you're putting your hands out there and things that he thinks are open aren't open anymore."

Two free throws by Brown's Tucker Halpern were followed by back-to-back-to-back three point shots for Princeton. Davis passed to Saunders in the left corner. Schroeder spotted Davis from deep. Will Barrett got in the action off the bench, his high arcing jumper taking the lead up to 29-10.

Coach Johnson signalled for a time out with 7:56 remaining in the half.

"We were just clicking," Davis said of his team's aggressive patience. "Somebody would run out at Marcus, he would swing it. Dan, he would swing it. I would swing it. We just had a lot of open looks. Everybody seemed to be clicking."

"It opened up a lot in the second half," Davis continued. "We made a lot of shots in the first half, they came running out at us and we were able to get it down to guys like Ian."

Despite two personal fouls, Finley returned to the game for Hummer with 7:33 left. Finley had a pair of great post moves - a deep lefty hook over Mullery to make it 31-12 and a fake inside that got Mullery in the air for an easy layup to put Princeton in front 35-16. In between these baskets Finley stepped in front of a Chris Taylor pass to Mullery and collected the steal.

Schroeder missed his first four shots from the perimeter, but Davis drove and kicked out to Schroeder for an on-target three that pushed the score to 40-17. The Tigers would go into the half up by 22.

Princeton was called for 14 fouls in the first half. Brown was whistled for just two before purposefully using three spares in the final 14 seconds, trying to disrupt the Tigers last possession.

As Davis alluded above, with Brown flying out of Princeton's shooters, the Tigers were able to go inside repeatedly in the second half. A posting Mavraides went cross-court to Schroeder for a three to start the scoring.

Up by 20, Hummer on the left block drew a double team and muscled the ball to Buczak all alone for a layup, his first basket of the game.

Hummer, who gets the lowest position of any player I can remember since Mason Rocca, his body contorting into a "less than" symbol as he receives passes inside, scored with Peter Sullivan on his hip.

"Coach says I use my butt real well," a bandaged Hummer said with a smile. "My dad teaches me all the post moves. Dig'm down in the post and take my time, go up as strong as possible."

With Hummer angled over, all he has to do to draw contact is straighten his body and rise.

Buczak's reverse around Mullery, using the rim as a shield, made it a 50-28 affair.

The points continued to come from the paint. A Hummer drop step put the Tigers up 24 with 12:42 to go and a hesitation shake in the lane to create space with his off hand made it 56-34 Tigers.

The lead apexed at 26 with 7:11 still to play as freshman center Brendan Connolly got Mullery airborne and laid the easy bunny home.

Benches emptied, contributors received applause and it was off to New Haven.

From outside in the first half and inside through the second, Princeton had methodically picked up an impressive first Ivy victory.


-Princeton shot 25-57 on the night (42.9%), 9-22 from three (40.9%). The Tigers only attempted four treys in the second half, making one. Princeton went 4-8 at the free throw line (50.0%), all in the second half.

-Brown had a season low 12 field goals in 40 attempts (30.0%) and only four baskets in the first half, doing most of their damage at the line, where they were 20-28 (71.4%). The Bears shot 2-9 behind the line (22.2%).

-Princeton had a 13:9 assist-to-turnover ratio and assisted on 62.5% of their baskets in the first half. The Tigers have a positive ratio in each of their last three games and nine turnovers matches a season low. Brown had just four assists and 13 turnovers.

-Senior co-captain Nick Lake traveled with the team but did not suit up. Jimmy Sherburne was not medically cleared to play and did not make the trip. Kareem Maddox's left thumb was taped up significantly prior to the start of the game.

-The center of Hummer's nose was taped after the game. When asked about what happened, Hummer said that "[Mullery] was making a post move and he just swung his elbow and cracked me straight in the nose. For a second I thought it was broken. It was bleeding non-stop. It just hurts a lot."

-A late-arriving crowd, made up of overflow from a capacity audience for the RPI/Brown hockey game next door, did not fill the side bleachers until Princeton was already in front by a significant margin. Many of these fans were out of the room by the middle of the second half.

John Poole said,

January 30, 2010 @ 10:01 am


I have become a big fan of Sidney Johnson, his fine coaching, and his relationship with his players. But, my wife, who belongs to the grammar and speech police, makes a few valid observations every time I listen to one of your interviews with the Coach. Perhaps you could give him a gentle nudge every time he says, "I mean ..." or, "you know ...". I've also noticed that those expressions are slipping into his players responses, too.

This may seem nit-picking, so I hope you or he won't be offended by this gentle criticism. But, he deserves to sound as intelligent as he is.

(And maybe an even gentler nudge after every "Hey ...", "I'm just ...", "To be honest ...", and "That's what we do".)

Sorry, I guess I'm a victim of my classical education.

Best wishes,

John Poole '69

PS Congratulations to all on a great game last night and be sharp tonight against Yale!

larry said,

January 30, 2010 @ 10:13 am

I'm trying to focus on the positives in the win at Brown, but Buczak's 8 minutes of court time and Findley's 14 minutes of court time (most after the outcome was set) distract me. It's great that the other guys stepped up to cover the two seniors.

Fred Smagorinsky said,

January 30, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

Here's a positive: this is Princeton's biggest margin of victory on the road against an Ivy team in five years --

- In 2009: 3-4 away Ivy record with margins of 3 to 6 points
- In 2008: zero Ivy road wins
- In 2007: zero Ivy road wins
- In 2006: 4-3 with margins of 1 to 11 points
- In 2005: 2-5 with margins of 10 and 17 (vs. Brown)
- In 2004: 7-0 with margins of 2 to 15 (vs. Brown, yet again)

Beat Yale!

Jon Solomon said,

January 31, 2010 @ 10:46 am


Perhaps you have forgotten all of Joe Scott's "you know" tics? I once had someone count all the times he said "you know" in an interview with me and the results were several dozen.


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