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Princeton 65 Duquesne 51.

Box Score : HD Box Score

Postgame audio - Coach Sydney Johnson, Douglas Davis, Ian Hummer & Kareem Maddox:





Princeton was all of those things and worse against Duquesne in the first eight minutes of the Tigers’ CBI opener on Wednesday night, but behind the stellar play of Douglas Davis, Ian Hummer and Kareem Maddox off the bench, the Tigers dug themselves out of a 20-11 deficit to lead by five at the break and pull away from the Dukes in the second half.

"There is a part of us that maybe wasn't quite ready to play," admitted Princeton head coach Sydney Johnson. "I think we refocused at some point, the guys got their energy level right and we were able to come back from that."

"We've had times this season where we started out slowly and just kind of figured it out, so I felt like we were going to," Johnson continued. "It probably took a little bit longer than I wanted it to, but I'm just glad we were able to do that and start to play our style of basketball."

Duquesne closed within one early after intermission, before a top flight stretch that saw Maddox feed Zach Finley for a one-handed dunk, gracefully score twice inside and then throw it down with two hands boosted the lead back to eight.

Once Princeton went up double digits with 12:19 left on two Maddox free throws, the Tigers maintained a double figure advantage the rest of the night, with Nick Lake dunking on a backdoor cut to punctuate Princeton’s first postseason victory since 1999.

Davis, his nasal bridge covered in white tape due to a broken nose suffered in practice on Monday, hit four times from outside and had a game-high 16. Maddox added 15 and Hummer provided a much-needed spark with 14 points in 17 minutes, including a 6-6 performance at the free throw line.

Damian Saunders tallied 14 to pace Duquesne.

Princeton advances to play IUPUI on Monday evening in Indianapolis in the quarterfinals of the CBI.

Starting all four members of the Tigers' senior class alongside Dan Mavriades for the second straight game, Princeton fell behind 10-2, missing their first seven attempts. The Tigers repeatedly came up short on three point tries and turned the ball over seven times in the first 10 minutes, dangerously close to 3-4 additional turnovers.

Looking over descriptions of first half plays makes one cringe. A three point attempt by Nick Lake missed everything. Dan Mavraides had a needless turnover. A handoff pass by Mavraides to Finley transformed into a bumbled mess, with B.J. Monteiro going the other way, fouled by Finley and subsequently missing his free throws.

Down 4-0, Marcus Schroeder was able to spin on Eric Evans and get into the lane, fouled and converting both his chances to put Princeton on the board.

Duquesne pushed the tempo on the inbounds, with Evans' diagonal one-handed pass to Damian Saunders creating a far too easy and far too quick layup seconds later.

Pawel Buczak was stripped by Melquan Bolding and Saunders had an easy dunk ahead of the pack.

When Evans burst down the left baseline, Princeton trailed by eight and showed no signs of snapping out of their malaise.

Davis, Maddox and Hummer in conjunction with Finley eventually settled the Tigers down considerably, but not before a couple more inexplicable exchanges.

A deep two by Davis from the top of the arc, his toe on the line, gave Princeton their first field goal at the 13:44 mark.

Following two free throws by Moneiro, an inbounding Mavraides threw a pass he's thrown hundreds of times to Davis in the backcourt. With nobody guarding Davis, the entry led Davis a bit too far and Davis could not one-hand the ball, which hit the baseline and went back to Duquesne. Ugly.

A couple minutes later Princeton nearly duplicated this ignominious moment, with Schroder leaping over the sideline to salvage the possession, which ended with a posting Finley finding Maddox on the other side of the paint for a short floater.

Still, after Jason Duty curled off a screen and fired a three over Davis the Dukes' lead was nine. The second worst three point shooting team in Division I had connected one more time from deep than the Tigers.

The play that started Princeton's 17-3 run to finish the half was a classic. Schroeder inbounded from under the Tiger basket and perfectly sold a pass to any spot on the floor but to where he was going - down the baseline to Davis hiding in the far corner for three.

Saunders could not answer for Duquesne, his trey try bouncing over the top of the backboard. Maddox found Davis on the other side of the basket after saving a loose ball and Davis missed his easy bunny, thankfully stayed with the play and scored inside.

Bolding was off target from behind the arc and Hummer fed Finley in the post, cut to his left, received a bounce pass back from Finley and scored on a beautiful two man play.

The Tigers were within two, but the mistakes kept coming. Maddox stepped in front of a lob by Bolding, then threw his first pass intended for Davis right to Saunders in the backcourt, who was fouled, making one of two.

Down 23-18 with five minutes left in the half, Princeton switched defense yet again. The Tigers had begun the night playing man, then gone into a 2-3 zone to force Duquesne into launching jumpers. Now Princeton went with a 1-3-1, putting Davis at the top of the defense to disrupt the Dukes' passes.

"Coach always gets on me about keeping my hands up. When I'm at the top, that's the main thing I'm trying to do - just keep my hands up and be as long and big as possible. I'm only 5'11 and 155 [pounds], you know?," said Davis when asked about his role in this scheme. "I'm trying to force some long passes so guys like Kareem and Marcus and Dan can get some hands them and create some turnovers."

The 1-3-1 adversely affected Duquesne. Princeton ran off the last 10 points of the half to go back to the locker room with a lead.

Hummer passed inside to Finley, who missed but tipped his first shot home with his left hand off glass.

Maddox blocked a Saunders shot, which Schroeder recovered on the baseline and pushed the ball ahead, finding Davis on the left wing for a game-tying three.

Even in the last minute, a cut by Patrick Saunders freed Davis on the right side as the defense followed the cutter. Finley found Davis in rhythm for his third triple of the half and Princeton had their first lead.

If Davis' broken nose had bothered him, he didn't let it show, scoring 13 first half points to lead all scorers. Davis spent much of warmups trying to play with a black face mask, but discarded the protection on the sidelines when it was gametime. An inadvertent collision with Jimmy Sherburne had left the sophomore guard battered but still able to perform at a high offensive level.

"I was playing defense in practice and I caught a shoulder to the right side of my nose and it pushed it left. It was sitting crooked for about a day and a half and then I got it reset yesterday," Davis explained. "I had this splint sitting on my nose for a while. I was supposed to wear this mask today but I just couldn't play with it so I decided to play without it. I was trying to find a way to make it work, but before the game it wasn't working at all."

Monteiro missed a drive and Finley rebounded with nine seconds left. Schroeder took the ball in the backcourt, went up the right sideline, dribbled inside the arc with his left hand and was able to flip a shot home over his head with his right hand two seconds before time ran out.

Once down by nine, having played some of their worst basketball imaginable, Princeton had a 28-23 lead halfway through.

The Tigers shot 11-26 in the first half (42.3%), 3-10 from deep after missing their first six attempts (30.0%) and went 3-4 at the line (75.0%). Finley added three points, three rebounds and four assists. Princeton turned the ball over 10 times and gave the ball away on 31.5% of their first half possessions.

Duquesne was 9-26 from the floor (34.6%), 1-8 outside (12.5%) and 4-8 from the stripe (50.0%). Saunders and Monteiro each had seven for the Dukes, who scored nine of their 23 off of Tiger miscues.

Despite the lift Davis, Maddox and Hummer provided, Johnson stuck with his original starting lineup to begin the second half. Mavraides, who was 0-5 for the game, 0-4 from outside, came up short on an open three and Bolding drove baseline, passing to Monteiro for a dunk in the center of the lane. A Buczak hook did not go down and a Bolding layup after a steal made it a one point game.

Davis and Maddox replaced Buczak and Lake as the Tigers picked up where the first half ended.

A posting Maddox found Finley for the right-handed flush.

Maddox cut on Princeton's next possession, turned that cut into a post opportunity, where Finley fed him for the jump hook that took the lead back to five.

When Maddox drove right and scored under Saunders trying to get across and in front of the junior forward, it was a 34-27 Princeton advantage.

Maddox capped off his showcase by taking a pass from Finley, hesitating to get two Dukes in the air and then rising up for the flush on the right side.

A loose bounce came to Bolding inside for two, but that couldn't slow down the Tigers. Mavraides found Maddox, who lost the ball inside - but the carom came to Finley, who slung the basketball down the left baseline to Davis for his 70th three point shot of the season.

Davis' outlet to Maddox resulted in a foul on Sean Johnson and Maddox made both free throws to provide the Tigers with a 41-30 edge.

Two pair of Hummer free throws, as the freshman forward continued to be active inside, extended the lead to 14. On the second of these two plays Hummer got deep position on Monteiro and Buczak recognized the advantage, passing into the post as Hummer spun to his left.

Maddox headed out in space with the ball and made a good decision, driving right at the much smaller Duty sliding back in transition. A long step as Duty fouled Maddox resulted in a continuation three point play.

With Duquesne demoralized and unable to hit a jump shot to salvage their season, Princeton packed in their defense and continued to score from the post. Buczak's hook falling to his right made it 52-37 and Hummer added two more going left off the glass.

What had been an embarrassing start was turning into a breezy finish. Princeton had 12 layups or dunks in the second half and only had to attempt four shots behind the arc. The Tigers substituted five players for Davis, Buczak, Saunders, Schroeder and Maddox with :39 left and the outcome decided.

Brendan Connolly's bounce pass to his left was picked up by Nick Lake cutting backdoor with no-one wearing blue and red near him. Lake, to the shock of many - including his father - went up and stuffed the ball with his right hand as the Princeton bench leapt up in surprise.

"It was a great way to end his career at Jadwin," said Hummer of Lake's one and only collegiate dunk.

A three point shot by Johnson at the buzzer provided the game's final margin.

Princeton transformed themselves from lifeless to lively before the start of the second half. Lake and Schroeder, Princeton's senior captains, led the charge.

"We came in at halftime and we just talked to each other like we always do," explained Maddox of what had transpired. "We thought the main thing that was wrong with the first half was our energy was low. We try not to look at the score as much as possible and play our game - play hard and believe the rest will take care of itself."

If Maddox allowed himself to look up late in the second half, he would have seen his team ahead by a comfortable margin and known that the senior class had earned another game before their careers concluded.


-Princeton finished 24-51 from the field (47.1%) and shot 13-25 in the second half (52.0%). The Tigers were 4-14 outside (28.6%) and 13-16 at the line (81.3%). Only five of the team's 15 turnovers came in the second half.

-Duquesne was 20-54 for the game (37.0%), 3-16 from deep (18.8%) and a putrid 8-18 from the line (44.4%).

-Zach Finley finished with a solid, sturdy night - eight points, eight rebounds (four offensive), and six assists in 24 minutes. Finley is shooting 60.9% from the floor this season, the ninth best percentage in program history.

-If Douglas Davis makes another three point shot this year he'll have equaled the sixth most threes in a campaign by a Princeton player, tied with Matt Lapin in 1989-90.

-Princeton dominated the glass versus the visitors out of the Atlantic 10 to a 41-26 count.

-The announced attendance for Wednesday's game was 665.

David Lewis said,

March 17, 2010 @ 11:48 pm

Great win against a very tough Duquesne team. The announced attendance was 665. That's pathetic. This team deserves public support. I don't care if it's spring break or not. The university must do a better job at marketing this team. If the university knew that it was not going to marktet the game, why did they pay $60,000 for a home game? If you cannot sell the tickets give them away to every school in Mercer County or to faculty and their families. Or let kids under 12 who live in Princeton come for free. This would help build a much needed fan base for the future. The only person marketing this program is Jon Solomon. Potential recruits are not going to want to come to a school that cannot attract 700 people for a post-season game. If Penn had been playing this game at the Palestra it would have been a sell out.

R.W. Enoch, Jr. said,

March 18, 2010 @ 12:02 am

To be fair, the other CBI host institutions did not seem to fare much better. GW's arena (the most likely to be full because it's in a major city and VCU's fan base is VERY close by) was only about half full. You can see some game highlights and recaps on the CBI/Gazelle Group website. Maybe people just don't respect the CBI (yet).

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