Postgame audio - Coach Sydney Johnson, Douglas Davis & Ian Hummer:
Princeton did not record a field goal in the final 6:39 of Saturday night's game against Yale, but made two defensive stops in the final 30 seconds to hold off the Bulldogs 67-63.
Austin Morgan, guarded closely by Dan Mavraides with Yale behind one, lost the ball off his foot - kicked forward 10 feet and over the baseline.
Following two ice-in-vein free throws by Mack Darrow, Kareem Maddox swatted a runner in the lane by Porter Braswell into the hands of Mavraides.
Mavraides was fouled with :08.6 showing and his team up three. The senior guard, who struggled through an eight turnover evening, missed his first try and then converted his second after Yale used their final time out.
Princeton sent four defenders back with Mavraides waiting patiently at the line.
Morgan's jumper from behind the arc right before time expired was rebounded by Ian Hummer and Princeton had done just enough to get to 2-0 after their first league weekend.
"We need a little more awareness as to how you get from the 10 minute mark with an 11 point lead to the one minute mark with an 11 point lead," said Princeton head coach Sydney Johnson.
Hummer finished with 12 points - all in the first half. His final rebound was his 11th, giving him three double-doubles on the season.
Douglas Davis led the way with 18 on 7-11 shooting. Maddox tallied 17, all but four coming after intermission.
Reggie Willhite's 13 topped four Elis in double figures.
The opening 10 minutes were all offense and limited defense. The two teams split 20 points after 2:33 had expired.
Hummer used his right hand and a short floater bounded down to open the action. Morgan was in and out from the right corner and Mavraides rebounded before stepping on the sideline, his first turnover.
Greg Mangano, the Yale big man averaging a double-double entering Saturday, popped a right baseline jumper to even the score. Mangano was well-defended by the Tigers throughout and fell in love with his outside shot. Instead of using his 6'10" 240 lb frame deep in the lane, Mangano fancied himself having range well beyond his actual ability.
A nifty jump hook by Patrick Saunders over Willhite was answered by Whillhite's try off the glass.
Mavraides pulled the string in front of Austin Morgan on the left wing.
The activity did not slow. Porter Braswell knifed into the lane for a basket.
Davis for Princeton ended seven straight scoring possessions to open the night with a miss.
Braswell could not score a second time, but Willhite grabbed the ball over Mavraides and placed it back. Offensive rebounds were a Yale strong suit as the game began to unfold.
Davis lost the ball to Willhite and again Braswell could not finish, however freshman Jeremiah Kreisberg's tip follow put Yale up by three.
Davis fired from the right side to knot the ledger, then after a pair of rival blocks - Mangano swatting Mavraides and Saunders slapping a Willhite try away and controlling - Mavraides drove at Kreisberg and drew a second personal foul.
A third offensive board kept a Yale possession alive that ended with Morgan catching at the top of the arc for three.
Rhett Anderson ripped the ball away inside and laid it home for a 15-15 count.
Brendan Connolly picked up his second personal foul on a loose ball after a Maddox block and Mack Darrow replaced him.
Mangano fired off target from the left baseline. Davis showed him how, switching hands in the air and scoring off the glass with his right.
Willhite had an answer on the drive.
Following a Mavraides travel, Morgan curled to the right wing and caught a Michael Grace pass in rhythm for three.
Davis went left and fed Darrow up top for a triple as Mangano watched from the free throw line. Darrow had a hand in the Tigers' next basket as well, picking up a loose ball off the floor and transferring to Mavraides who in turn pushed to Davis on the left wing for three more.
The Tigers held a 23-20 lead with 11:22 left in the half but that sentence does not paint a fair picture of what would transpire.
Mavraides made it five as he crossed over Sam Martin and tossed in a blind runner with his right hand.
Mangano wisely went inside and scored as Maddox tried to come over and help, fouled by Darrow. His free throw sailed off target.
Maddox got that basket back when he picked up his dribble down low but was still able to get Willhite airborne.
Leading by five, Princeton opted to assign Saunders to Mangano and the extra speed combined with good positioning did not make this a mismatch. Saunders' defense of Mangano was an under-appreciated part of the Tigers' success. Maddox instead checked Willhite on the perimeter.
Mavraides threw an inbounds pass too high / with not enough force and it was picked off - the first of three times this would occur.
This mistake was quickly forgotten due to a nice sequence. First a lefty flip for Saunders rolled down. Helping on defense Maddox was able to block a Mangano attempt to Hummer. At the other end Hummer reverse pivoted after driving into the lane from the right side.
Maddox used an unusual amount of dribbling to achieve his goal, penetration at Mangano and a second personal foul for the Yale big man. Maddox made one of two at the line.
A posting Maddox kicked to Hummer from behind the free throw line, perhaps his deepest jumper as a Tiger, and the score favored Princeton by seven.
Hummer would record 10 of Princeton's final 11 in the half.
A Mavraides pass out to Saunders was picked off by Braswell as Yale grabbed four quick.
To close the half, Hummer drove left and scooped the ball off the glass with his left hand. Jesse Pritchard split a pair at the line, then Mavraides set up Hummer on a drive for a reverse that sent the Tigers off the floor up 40-30.
With the exception of four Mavraides turnovers, all of the numbers out of the opening half favored Princeton. The Tigers shot 16-25 (64.0%), 4-6 from three (66.7%) and 4-6 on free throws (66.7%). Hummer led all scorers with 12 on 6-7 shooting.
Yale went 12-30 (40.0%), 3-7 outside (42.9%) and 3-6 at the line (50.0%). Mangano was 2-9 from the floor as Braswell's seven made him the high Eli. Nine of the Bulldogs' 30 came on second chances.
The Tigers attempted to involve Connolly on their first possession, but Mavraides' lob led him a touch too far.
Braswell could not connect and a patient Davis took his time before finding room over Braswell for a jumper.
Connolly soon was saddled with three fouls after an arm to Mangano's back.
Hummer help defense was never sensed by Kreisberg and Hummer had an easy snatch. Kreisberg fouled Hummer, his third, after Hummer showed left and slid right baseline.
On the inbounds, Mavraides yet again threw the ball away, this time his lob to Davis swiped in the air by Morgan. At the other end Mangano put up a hooker over Saunders.
Involving Maddox more, Yale could not consistently stop Princeton for a long stretch.
A left arc rainbow by Davis took the lead up to 45-32. It seemed Mavraides was headed to the line for free throws, but the call stayed on the floor - which allowed Davis to do one better than Mavraides could have.
Kriesberg went hard over Hummer and drew a whistle as the shot fell. On the free throw Kreisberg did not connect and a second whistle blew. Mangano was called for swinging an elbow as the ball came off the rim.
The officials conferred and correctly ruled the Tigers should get two shots.
First Davis was sent to the line. Then the officials reconsidered.
Second Mavraides was sent to the line. Then the officials reconsidered.
Finally, Maddox was sent to the line, as it was he who Mangano had connected to. Maddox made one of two and the possession stayed with Princeton. Maddox hung in the air but could not finish and the Tigers headed down the floor with just a single point for their efforts.
Kriesberg caught a Morgan feed and scored inside to make it 46-36, then Davis used a pair of screens to step out on the right side. His shot sailed long but Hummer was able to keep the possession going and Maddox drove to his left for two off the glass.
Yale cut Princeton's lead to nine on five occasions, each time the Tigers finding an answer.
Mangano's face up jumper over Darrow was countered by Maddox high in the air with his right hand as Mangano stretched to the ceiling.
Grace's jumper from inside the arc in Davis' face was countered by a soft Davis jumper that kissed the front rim, the glass and the bottom of the bucket.
Darrow ticked the ball away from Mangano and Mavraides on the run went too strong with his layup. A frustrated Mavraides made a poor decision, fouling Anderson after the rebound. Anderson's free throws 80 feet in the other direction made it 52-43 Tigers.
Darrow fed Maddox on the left block as Anderson went for a steal and Maddox turned for a jumping push shot over Kreisberg.
For a third time, a lazy Mavraides inbounds was stolen by Yale. This time Willhite came away and there was some one-handed showtime as a result.
Maddox inside was bodied in the air but scored anyway, the officials earning an earful from an annoyed Johnson.
A cross court pass by Willhite sailed over the sideline to Al Kaemmerlen and Princeton had the ball back. Maddox was fouled by Anderson making his move to the left and converted both ends of a one and one.
Mavraides dropped a pass to Maddox as Mangano could only watch from behind. Anderson's weakside putback was followed by a Davis jumper as he used a crossover dribble to create space away from Braswell.
The Tigers held a 62-50 lead with 6:39 left. If you traveled back in time and told anyone watching this would be Princeton's last bucket of the night, they would not have believed you given how the Tigers were executing.
Braswell got Maddox in the air on the left wing and fired in a three as Yale called time.
As the Bulldogs extended their zone, Mavraides dribbled to the left wing and was fouled by Willhite. Mavraides made the front end but not the bonus.
Braswell missed a layup and Maddox rebounded but was called for a travel as he fell to the ground with posession. Yale stayed at their end and Mangano went glass over Darrow making it an eight point game for the first time since :39 remained in the first half.
A wild cross-court pass by Mavraides could not be saved by Darrow in front of the Princeton bench. Darrow raced past his coach and knocked all of the small paper cups of water off the manager's table onto the track - fortunate he did not take a spill in the process.
One of two Sam Martin free throws drew Yale ever closer. Princeton called time.
The play was designed for Hummer going to the left baseline, but the sophomore forward lost the ball with little pressure.
A high arc Morgan jumper off a Martin assist made it 63-59.
Maddox inside was blocked by Mangano. Maddox stayed with the play but could not convert the follow try.
Out of a time out, inbounding under their own basket, Yale used some misdirection to allow Willhite space to slice down the lane and take a Morgan pass to the hoop. 63-61, 3:24 to go.
Hummer was short inside and Braswell's drive to tie also came up short. Davis raced down the left baseline to grab an important rebound heading into the final media time out.
"I didn't know I could get up that high," Davis joked afterwards.
Davis made his first but also missed his second. 64-61, 2:53 to go.
With Maddox guarding Braswell, Mangano settled for a three point shot cocked from well behind his head. Hummer held the rebound.
Hummer also almost had an assist, his zip to Connolly on the opposite block no good and Connolly's one handed tip from the other side met a similar fate.
Morgan drove and was blocked by Connolly but Mavraides got him with the body. Two free throws drew Yale within one.
Out of a Princeton time out Mavraides sailed long on an open midrange jumper and Hummer grabbed Princeton's ninth offensive board. Instead of dribbling back up top and using some clock, Hummer went to his left and could not score.
Yale never got off a chance to finally go up as Morgan dribbled the ball off his foot and back to Princeton.
Unable to inbound, Mavraides used a time out. His second try went to Maddox, who passed back to Mavraides. A trapped Mavraides found Maddox again and Maddox passed diagonally to Darrow dribbling into friendly territory. Isaiah Salafia fouled Darrow with :19.8 on the clock.
In the first game of the season versus Rutgers, with his team leading by two in overtime, Darrow attempted the first two free throws of his collegiate career and converted them both, giving Princeton a 76-72 edge with :11.8 to go.
In the 18th game of the season versus Yale, with his team leading by one, Darrow converted them both, giving Princeton a 66-63 edge.
Braswell went into the lane looking for a quick deuce and was introduced to the long arm of Kareem Maddox. This led to a game-sealing free throw by Mavraides and the Tigers had wrestled back control of a game they nearly let away.
"They made a couple threes there against our zone and got right back into the game. We had to defend a little bit better," Johnson assessed. "We got challenged there and we weren't great but then I think the last two or three possessions of the game I'll take the defensive approach and intensity we had."
"It got dicey. It got choppy. Whatever it is, but we kind of held to our guts."
While Johnson wanted his team to improve their lead maintenance, he made it clear that the margin of victory was far less important than the outcome.Â
"We have a basketball team that hasn't won an Ivy League championship," Johnson stated plainly. "There's not a kid on our team that's won the title. For anybody to think that we're just going to come in here and just beat people by 16, by 18 - that's crazy. We desperately want to represent our league in the postseason. Everybody knows that. There are seven other teams that want to do that too. We're going to play the games and figure it out. I don't want any pressure on these guys about 'hey, you're supposed to win a game by this amount.' That's crazy.
"We're going to go at people aggressively and compete as much as we can," Johnson continued. "If we can get a win like tonight that's one step towards our goal and that's all that is."
"To feel bad that Yale competed for 40 minutes? That's what they're supposed to do and we're going to do the same."
-Princeton finished 25-47 for the game (53.2%), 9-22 in the second half (40.9%). The Tigers made 5-8 three pointers (62.5%) and 12-18 free throws (66.7%), 5-8 from the line in the last 6:39 of the second half.
-Yale went 24-54 on the night (44.4%), 6-15 from deep (40.0%) and 9-16 at the line (56.3%).
-Princeton outrebounded the Bulldogs 33-24. Maddox added seven boards to aid Hummer's 11. Six of Yale's 10 offensive rebounds came in the first seven minutes of play.
-Davis inches closer to a grand for his carrer, now with 970 points to his name.
-Mavraides' eight miscues were the most by a Princeton player since Brian Earl's 11 at Maryland in 1998.
-Will Barrett, suited up on Friday but unable to play, was in dress clothes on the sidelines instead of a Princeton uniform.
-Spotted in the stands: Former Tigers Jason Briggs, Nick Lake, Pawel Buczak and Jamie Mastaglio.