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Penn State 61 Princeton 38.

box score
audio - coach sydney johnson & zach finley

It is highly unlikely that any of the 6,188 in attendance at the Bryce Jordan Center on Wednesday night expected Lincoln Gunn's soft three point shot from the top of the arc midway through the first half to be Princeton's only points in the next ten minutes of play.

Gunn had just tied the score 9-9 at the 10:35 mark off an assist from Kyle Koncz on Princeton's first three of the game, following six consecutive open misses on the perimeter.

Penn State managed only 14 points during this drought, but it was enough to open up a defensive struggle that concluded with the Nittany Lions on top 61-38.

Geary Claxton's two-handed flush in the paint started the decisive run for the home team. Consecutive offensive rebounds by Claxton and Brandon Hassell resulted in two more buckets for Penn State.

In the game the Nittany Lions turned 14 offensive rebounds into 18 second chance points.

Claxton recorded his 22nd career double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

By the time Nick Lake came off the bench to bank in a Gunn feed with :36 on the clock, the Tigers were down 23-9. Mike Walker chucked in a deep three point shot at the buzzer for the home team to push the lead up to 15.

Penn State went to the locker room comfortably in front despite shooting 35.5% from the field (11-31), 2-8 from behind the arc (25.0%) and an identical 2-8 at the free throw line (25.0%). The reason? Princeton's numbers were even worse. 5-25 from the floor (20.0%), 1-14 from deep (7.1%) and 0-2 at the stripe (0.0%).

The Tigers' offense created repeated open shots outside early, but only one jump shot could find its mark.

While the pace of the second half picked up dramatically, Princeton was unable to close the gap. Gunn converted the Tigers' only two free throws of the game after a Marcus Schroeder steal to widdle the lead down to 13, but Claxton stepped outside for a triple, Andrew Jones grabbed an offensive board for the putback and Jamelle Jackson slid to the free throw line for a jumper that set Princeton back 20.

The Tigers would close to 43-27 during a stretch where Zach Finley scored on three straight baby hooks, but four sloppy Princeton turnovers keyed a series of Penn State layups as the lead ballooned as high as 28. Finley was effective inside when he got touches, shooting 7-12 on the night.

Princeton senior co-captains Kyle Koncz and Noah Savage combined to shoot 1-17 from the field on Wednesday, with Koncz's field goal coming with 3:16 to play in the second half, long after the outcome had been decided.

Zach Finley (14) and Gunn (13) combined for 27 of the Tigers' 38 points.


-The Tigers gave the ball away 17 times. Penn State had 25 points off of turnovers.

-Princeton's 38 points were the fewest allowed by a Penn State opponent since 1989.

-Alex Okafor did not travel to State College with the Tigers because of an academic commitment.

-Princeton has lost seven in a row for the first time since 1949-50 season.

-The Tigers return home to Jadwin Gym on Sunday afternoon against Manhattan. The game is scheduled for 5:00 pm ET

David Lewis said,

December 13, 2007 @ 1:10 am

Where are all the fans on this site? Things are bad but not that bad. While Christmas shopping I saw a Sports Illustrated book on basketball that had pictures of many college players including Bradley on the cover. There was a story on Princeton basketball in the book. Carmody tells the story about what it was like seeing North Carolina State playing the Princeton offense on TV. On one hand, he was flattered but on the other realized that the novelty had worn off and system would be easier to guard in the future. Sometimes (in fits of exacberation) I think that the problem is that the system has become too predictable and that's the problem. I have not seen one back door basket this year. Then I watch Georgetown or Vanderbilt tonight or even Air Force last year and think that the system is great we just need to make shots or recruit better. What does everyone else think?

Coco said,

December 13, 2007 @ 11:48 am

Just as "Video Killed the Radio Star" I suspect that the Blog has Killed the Princeton Basketball News Discussion Group.
If you look back over the past year or so, there has been a marked drop in teh number topical postings since the format moved from the traditional discussion group to the Princeton Basketball (and now G'town) Blog-- so now there is only the occasional comment. With not much follow-up of any of the very infrequent comments which replaced discussion threads.

Maybe we need to resurrect or retool the Discussion Group, as a complement to the Blog.

In addition, with only three home games to date, few have seen the team play, making it difficult to offer any informed insights. Inconsistent shooting, error prone, etc. ?

Jon Solomon said,

December 13, 2007 @ 12:27 pm


I think that as people adjust to the routine of using RSS feeds to know when new comments have been added and conversation-starters like Mr. Lewis (who has been great about posting his thoughts after every game he's watched on TV) start posting under the recaps, not the previous days' news, you'll see comments increase. Call the latter a subtle in-game adjustment, as it were.

ESPNU being available on more cable systems wouldn't hurt either.


The Buggles

james schenk said,

December 14, 2007 @ 4:58 pm

The beauty of the Princeton offense is that it can be played uptempo or slower based on the talent a team has. I don't see anyone who can break down a defender and get to the rim like Will Venable was able to do just a few years ago. Princeton had alot of wide open looks against Penn State that didn't fall. Three point shooting and low post play with Zach Finley seem like the only options right now. Opposing defenses have completly taken away the back door cut by stepping in front of the cutters.

Jon Solomon said,

December 15, 2007 @ 10:13 am


Thanks for writing. In the games where Princeton has played the best on offense they've had more than just three point shots and Zach Finley down low as part of their shot selection. There's a bunch of stuff they've been getting at the elbow, the free throw line and the baseline which wasn't an option last year. However, when things go poorly and Finley is on the bench (the Evansville game in particular) it is exactly as you describe. Penn State was slightly different than Evansville because the wide-open three point shots for the historically most productive outside shooters had to have been exactly what the team/coaches would be happy to have. The shots were just missed.



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