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Princeton 58 Yale 45.

Box Score : HD Box Score

Postgame audio - Coach Sydney Johnson, Marcus Schroeder & Kareem Maddox:

Yale cut a 10 point Princeton lead in half midway through the second half and was looking to crawl closer when Tiger coach Sydney Johnson made a personnel move he had not tried all night.

Johnson sent the senior center tandem of Pawel Buczak and Zach Finley on the floor together and Princeton was able to ride their shoulders on a 19-4 run that closed out the game after the Bulldogs had pulled even.

"Tough road game. Conference play. Just to have some experience out there helped us," said Johnson after Princeton's second straight Ivy win. "At the least we just kind of settled in. Things weren't so new to us and so surprising because those guys have played a lot of time. It was effective this time around."

Buczak's high arcing jumper from just inside the three point line sailed through the net as the shot clock expired to give the Tigers a 43-40 advantage and Marcus Schroeder - who finished the night with six assists and no turnovers - found Douglas Davis for three on the right wing after Buczak cleared out two Bulldog defenders on a wide downscreen. Buczak's hesitation hook over Greg Mangano took the lead up to eight with 6:41 remaining.

Davis finished with a team best 13, but it was Princeton's ability to post Buczak, Finley, Kareem Maddox and Ian Hummer that provided the Tigers with 22 points in the paint. Maddox had a solid game, scoring nine points off the bench on 4-5 shooting and all but icing the result when he sized up a baseline jumper off a Schroeder drive to make it a 52-43 game.

Princeton was 6-6 at the free throw line in the game's final 1:13.

Alex Zampier, the Ivy League's leading scorer entering Saturday was 4-11 off the the bench and did not make a three point shot. Zampier did not start the game because he "broke a team rule" according to Yale coach James Jones. He finished with 13 points and six turnovers.

With Zampier watching from the bench, Buczak scored one-on-one at Mangano, spinning into his hook.

The Bulldog offense hit twice from outside using big men as unexpected threats.

Mangano answered with a three point shot from the top, just his fourth trey of the season.

Dan Mavraides led Buczak too far on an entry pass and Michael Sands, known more for his physical play by the basket, stepped outside for his first three of the year to make it 6-2 Yale.

Schroeder drove and stepped back for a free throw line jumper to cut the lead in half and Ian Hummer came in off the bench in place of Patrick Saunders to score on a jump hook that knotted the ledger.

Zampier checked in with 16:10 to go, but he was a pale imitation of what he is capable of. Without the knowledge of why he was out, one might have guessed illness over insubordination.

Down by one, Davis attacked the paint and spun the ball off the backboard, touched by Mangano as it sat on the rim for a goaltending violation.

Davis pulled up on a drive for a short jumper that made it 10-7 Tigers.

With 13:51 showing Buczak picked up his second personal foul, needlessly leaving his feet on Sands drive. Johnson screamed at Buczak from the bench before removing him from the court and reminding him that he knew better than to put himself in position to pick up a personal.

Two more Hummer baskets built a respectable Princeton lead. Mavraides went quickly to Hummer down low for two and Maddox noticed Hummer overloading the Yale defense at the free throw line for a short jumper.

A drive by Josh Davis and a dish to Paul Nelson put Yale back in front 15-14 at the 11:39 mark, but Finley threaded a backdoor bounce pass to Mavraides for an easy layup to give Princeton a lead that they never regifted.

Schroeder drove the left baseline, but Mangano came over to help and swatted a shot jumper into the stands. Undeterred, Schroeder stepped behind the arc on the left side for a three to bump the lead up to four.

Zampier drove from outside the circle to the basket for his first field goal and a midrange catch and shoot by Zampier evened the score at 19.

Schroeder got around Zampier for a layup and Hummer's drop step drew Mangano's second personal. Hummer, who had missed two free throws a minute earlier, was good on both his attempts.

Jordan Gibson went down the right baseline and slammed the ball with two hands, but Maddox did him one point better, driving to his left, stopping to pump fake the ball and scoring off glass while fouled by Nelson. Maddox's free throw created a 26-21 Tiger advantage.

On more than one occasion Maddox was able to run a diagonal cut, looking for a feed from the center. If the pass was not there, Maddox stayed with the offense and would turn to face the wing, attempting to post. This worked successfully with 3:10 left in the half as Finley found him for the basket.

Mavraides stumbled on defense, leaving Brian Katz open on the perimeter, but Katz's try was short.

Zampier made two at the line after being pushed by Mavraides on a drive with 1:27 showing and Sands was strong inside, jumping up from behind the backboard and scoring while fouled by Saunders. Sands' attempt to tie at the line was off.

With momentum swinging back to Yale, and Princeton in danger of heading into halftime trailing after controlling much of the play, Marcus Schroeder ripped the pendulum back in the Tigers' favor.

Schroeder recognized Maddox inside and Maddox went up with a high right hand jump hook. Yale looked to hold for the final shot of the half, but Schroeder picked Zampier's pocket just inside half court, pushed the ball ahead and found Finley quickly posting. Finley lost control for a second, gathered and scored. The Tigers led 32-27 at the break.

"We were playing 1-3-1 there," Schroeder said of this defensive highlight. "My job at the top is to pressure the ball as much as possible. I got a hand on the ball and it happened to work out well. Finley did a great job...capitalizing on that steal. I felt like it was a big possession for us to give us more momentum going into halftime."

Maddox and Schroeder split 14 points in the first half. Hummer had eight inside.

Sands was tough to start, tallying nine points, but could have had more if he had not gone 4-7 at the free throw line. Zampier also had nine for Yale in the opening frame.

Schroeder stole the ball from Zampier as soon as play resumed, but Mavraides could not finish a drive down the lane. Buczak grabbed the ball and the Tigers reset on offense. Buczak set a hand off screen for Davis just inside the free throw line, faked the connection and drove strong with his right hand to the rim for two. This basket seemed to change Buczak - his confidence, his posture, his demeanor all appeared different after this heady take.

A Buczak layup was too strong, but Buczak picked himself up and hustled to the other end of the court, securing a loose ball after Zampier lost it inside.

Buczak's next hand off screen straddled the three point line and Mavraides fired over Buczak to increase the lead. Davis scooped a drive around Austin Morgan as he tried to slide in for the charge and Princeton's edge was a game-best 39-29. Yale called time out with 17:02 to go.

Out of the stoppage, with Gibson subbing for Zampier, a three by Gibson was too strong, but Sands rebounded in traffic and was fouled by Buczak as he went back up. The foul was Buczak's third and Sands split his tries.

A short Davis jumper was off the mark and Mangano scored under Finley with two hands to cut the lead to seven.

Sands' spin move at Hummer made it a 39-34 game.

Zampier returned just in time to pass up a contested three and throw left to Braswell in the corner for Yale's only trey of the half and their only deep shot of the game made by a guard. Yale was within two.

Buczak's drive did not clip the rim and while the ball was slapped out to Mavraides, he did not realize the shot clock was about to expire and could not get an attempt up to the iron before time ran out.

Zampier pulled his squad even in the lane with a quarter of play still to unfold.

Davis stopped in the paint for two.

Reggie Whillhite was fouled by Finley and made one of two.

Mavraides tried to slide a pass to a diving Mavraides, but the pass was picked off by Zampier, who pushed the tempo, got into the lane and leapt up for a dunk that would have pushed his team up in front and excited the slowly growing crowd.

One problem.

Zampier either didn't jump high enough or went airborne from too far under the rim. His stuff was stuffed - by the front of the cylinder. Zampier came back down to earth embarrassed and without the basketball, which now belonged to Maddox.

Princeton called time with 8:49 to go, clinging to a one point lead.

Almost every big play down the stretch had either Buczak or Finley's name in the sentence that described it.

Buczak went up inside with the shot clock running down, but the ball was slapped away over the baseline with just two seconds showing. Schroeder inbounded to Buczak sizing from the top of the arc, his foot just over the stripe. Between his hand and the netting below the rim, the buzzer went off as the shot found its mark.

The lead up to six after Buczak freed up Davis for three, Buczak was able to push Sands out away from his comfort zone and a bank attempt was off.

Trailing 48-42 after Zampier double-clutched in the lane, Braswell tried a reverse layup that was supposed to spin back over his head and bank off the glass. Instead his try sailed straight up in the air, above the top of the backboard and down into Finley's hands.

Finley showed how it should be done, his hook out of the post making it an eight point game.

Maddox's baseline jumper was followed by an equally appealing defensive play, as Maddox blocked a Zampier shot from the side and Schroeder tracked it down.

Forced to foul twice to get Princeton on the line, Davis slipped and went down hard as Braswell nudged him lightly. Davis gingerly got to the line and made both his attempts.

Finley rebounded a Zampier miss and made both ends of his one-and-one.

Braswell tried to pass inside but Finley reached across his body for a nifty steal, getting the ball to Mavraides. His two free throws concluded the 19-4 run and gave the Tigers a 58-43 lead with :51 on the clock.

Yale stopped fouling in the final 37 seconds, but the Bulldogs never got the ball back. Mavraides missed a jumper that Finley went up for and grabbed, running the final five seconds off the scoreboard.

For the first time since February 2003 (68-51 over Columbia and 67-49 over Cornell), Princeton had won back-to-back Ivy road games by double figures.

What Johnson described as "a pretty big team win" after the game was driven by strong play on the defensive end. Yale only scored 18 second half points and had but two field goals in the final 11:30 of regulation.

"We understand that defense is probably the more important side of the ball," Schroeder said. "We know that sometimes our shots aren't going to go in, but we always have our defense to rely on."

"We take pride in stopping the other team."

The Tigers can also take pride in starting Ivy play 2-0 for the third straight campaign.


-Princeton finished 23-45 from the floor (51.1%), 3-8 from three (37.5%) and 9-11 at the line (81.8%). Yale went 14-40 on the night (35.0%), 3-10 from deep (30.0%) and 14-20 on free throws (70.0%). The Bulldogs made their first two three pointers and then just one more over the final 37:37.

-The Tigers outrebounded Yale 29-24.

-The Tigers three triples and eight tries from outside were both season lows. Only once since 1996-97 has Princeton tried fewer threes in a game - six in a 53-43 loss to Dartmouth in February 2007.

-For the fourth straight game, Princeton had a positive assist-to-turnover ratio - 12:11.

-Schroeder added two steals and three boards to his seven point, six assist, no turnover performance. His six assists matched a season high.

-Davis played all 40 minutes.

larry said,

January 31, 2010 @ 1:28 pm

Jon, It is good to read your report: "Almost every big play down the stretch (from the 8:49 mark) had either Buczak or Findley's name in the sentence that described it." Their play at Brown was far from that. Nice to see them rebound (excuse the pun).

Jon Solomon said,

January 31, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

They were very good, but so was Hummer at Brown.

I think Hummer's quickness and Maddox's leaping ability were a reason why Mullery (and others) missed several close looks for the Bears.

Steven Postrel said,

February 1, 2010 @ 4:52 am

Maddox has had some super-effiicient performances of late while adding defensive punch. If he would be able to keep at that level while playing more minutes...on the other hand, the other guys have been good too and perhaps the lower PT lets him give more effort per minute.

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