Postgame audio - Coach Sydney Johnson, Dan Mavraides & Ian Hummer:
On December 31, 1968 Princeton allowed 103 on the scoreboard in a 27 point loss at Madison Square Garden to North Carolina.
It took almost 42 years for another team from the Research Triangle to nearly match that gaudy total.
The Tigers kept it close for 18 minutes against the defending national champions, trailing 34-28 on T.J. Bray's first career three point shot with 1:55 on the clock but from that point onward is was all Blue Devils.
"I was really happy with the effort for the most part on the defensive end in the first half but we were a little bit too careless with the ball," said Princeton head coach Sydney Johnson. ""When you give a great team like this extra opportunities, they shot the lights out."
Shooting 67% from the field and 8-11 from behind the arc in the second half after closing the opening frame on an 8-0 run, Duke built a lead as sizable as 95-55 before Bobby Foley's three pointer at the horn set the final margin.
Dan Mavraides scored 16 and Ian Hummer added 14 for Princeton.
Nolan Smith's 22 led five Duke players in double digits.
The Tigers committed 27 turnovers, the most since last season's terrible Army game. Kareem Maddox had seven of these giveaways.
It was the largest margin of victory for a Princeton opponent since a 79-41 loss to Seton Hall in Joe Scott's final season as the Tigers' head coach.
Going with the same starting five as on Friday night versus Rutgers (Hummer, Mavraides, Maddox, Douglas Davis and Brendan Connolly), this time out Princeton was on the receiving end of a 10-2 start.
Davis' midrange jumper was blocked back in his face by Kyrie Irving. Following a Miles Plumlee travel, Mavraides' cross-court pass to Davis was picked off by Irving, fouled by Maddox trying to block his shot on the penetration.
Mavraides was called for a five second violation once over half court, guarded by Miles Plumlee.
Down 4-0 after nearly two minutes, Princeton finally hit the rim for the first time. Two Duke defenders picked up Maddox with the ball in the right corner leaving Hummer alone under the basket for an easy layup.
Hummer scored the Tigers' first six points, a free throw jumper making it a four point game with 16:14 left in the half.
Kyle Singler sprung from the left side for three and a 13-6 score.
Against Duke's pressure, Princeton often turned to Maddox as the ball-handler, alleviating pressure for Davis and Mavraides. While Maddox's long strides helped get the ball over half court, he could not slow down his momentum once he entered the Tigers' side of the floor.
"It seemed like when we had some different guys advancing the ball who weren't as comfortable as they needed to be...we made some questionable decisions with that pressure," Johnson said diplomatically.
Princeton had turnovers on four straight possessions, starting with a Maddox cross-court pass that was picked off by Nolan Smith.
Maddox shuffled his feet under duress and traveled trying to turn the corner on a drive during Princeton's next possession.
Freshman guard T.J. Bray's pass into the Duke bench was Tiger TO number nine in as many minutes.
Down by eight after a Singler bucket, Princeton began to calm as a unit and play their game. Patrick Saunders, on the floor for the first time this season, inbounded to Mavraides for a deep quick release three on the right wing.
"I think there were times where we did settle down and we were composed and we were able to run our stuff and control the game for small moments here and there," Mavriades said after the buzzer when asked if his jumper helped his team relax.
Hummer's strong offensive rebound and putback made it a 17-11 game midway through the half.
A three point shot by Andre Dawkins and a layup for Nolan Smith pushed Duke up double digits for the first time.
Davis answered with his first field goal, a step-back jumper on Irving, which was followed by two Maddox free throws after Mack Darrow found him on a lob and Dawkins fouled him from behind.
The Tigers shifted into a zone on defense. Maddox picked off a Dawkins pass and on the break passed to Davis on the right for a midrange jumper to draw back within 22-17.
Singler slowed the Princeton push with a shot from the free throw line and Singler's jumper with Davis' hand in his face occurred between single free throws by Maddox (fouled after a long outlet pass from Mavraides) and Hummer (fouled going left) to make it 27-19 with 5:00 showing.
Bray had a pair of impressive possessions, continuing to exhibit a high level of poise by throwing a no-look diagonal pass to Maddox for a "chin" dunk and showing no hesitation when Hummer found him on the right side for a trey that drew Princeton within six once more.
Smith answered with a three of his own and Hummer summarily charged.
Singler's shot behind the arc bounced in and it was Maddox's turn to personally give the ball away a sixth time on an offensive foul. Irving picked a wild Smith shot off the floor with two seconds to go as Bray fouled him, resulting in two free throws to send Princeton back to the locker room down a half-worst 14.
20 minutes in the Tigers were 11-25 from the floor (44.0%), 2-7 from three (28.6%) and 4-6 from the line (66.7%). 17 turnovers were turned into 19 points for the Blue Devils.
Duke shot 16-35 (45.7%), 6-15 from deep (40.0%) and a perfect 4-4 on free throws (100.0%).
After Mason Plumlee nearly lost the ball under Mavraides' pressure up top to start the second half, Singler scored on a drive. Hummer answered with a lefty drive of his own, drawing contact before making two free throws.
A handoff screen from Maddox to Mavraides behind the arc was on the mark and the Tigers trailed 44-33.
Brendan Connolly's attempt to draw a charge was not as successful as at the end of regulation versus Rutgers. Mason Plumlee scored over the Princeton center as the whistle sounded.
Maddox made a clean snatch of a Davis pass inside, hesitated for a second to let his defender sail by him and went up for a dunk from under the hoop, only to have Mason Plumlee block this try from behind clean.
Irving's three point shot, the first of eight triples for the Blue Devils in the second half, made it a 50-33 score and the Tigers would not get the Duke lead under 15 the rest of the way.
"I think we played well for 25 minutes and I think they key is playing well the entire game," Hummer said of his first trip to Cameron Indoor. "The first half I thought we played extremely well even though we were losing. We were holding them to one shot. Second half there was kind of a letdown defensively."
With the deficit 56-37, Johnson made the decision to get Will Barrett and Jimmy Sherburne on the floor for the first time for Princeton. Barrett had an immediate charge trying to drive the right baseline on Dawkins.
When a pass by Saunders to the top of the key was picked off by John Harrison for a breakway dunk and Irving followed that with a three the Tigers trailed by 27 with 12:12 still to go.
Johnson returned his starting five to the floor at this point and went strictly with his primary rotation until the game's final three minutes, when Daniel Edwards, Bobby Foley, Ben Hazel, John Comfort and Chris Clement all saw their first playing time of the season.
The best thing one could say about Sunday's game with Duke is that it is extremely likely Princeton won't play a better opponent all season.
The Tigers took their licks against the top team in the land on their home floor, but I'm guessing that when Princeton heads to the CBE regional at James Madison on Monday, their opponents those three days will suddenly appear slower, less athletic and decidedly easier to defend than the team that calls Cameron Indoor home.
-Princeton finished the night 23-50 from the floor (46%) and 6-16 from three (37.5%) with Mavraides 4-5 behind the arc.
-Freshman Daniel Edwards missed all four of his free throw tries in the game's final minute, dragging the Tigers FT numbers down to 8-19 (42.1%).
-Princeton outrebounded Duke 31-29, with Hummer controlling a game-best seven. If you were to isolate one aspect of the game where the Tigers played well, it was rebounding.
-In the Blue Devils 78th straight non-conference win at home, the team shot 36-65 (55.4%), 14-26 from outside (53.8%) and 11-12 on free throws (91.7%). Irving had 17 points and nine assists.
-Duke's Effective Field Goal % in the second half was 80.0%!
-Former Baltimore Orioles great Cal Ripken Jr. was seated behind the Princeton bench.