Postgame audio - Coach Mitch Henderson:
Assistant coach Brian Earl summed up Princeton’s cuckoo three overtime win at Florida State with unexpected neatness on WPRB’s postgame show:
“A lot of mistakes, a lot of stupid plays but in the end this is why you play.”
The Tigers’ first three OT game since 1994 had absolutely everything, but in the 55th minute Princeton had Ian Hummer, Douglas Davis and finally a signature victory.
Davis may have struggled on his lean-in attempts to win the game at the end of regulation as well as the second extra frame but his three point shot from the top of the arc off a Hummer feed caught the front rim, hit the glass square and went down to make it 68-65 Tigers.
Playing all 55 minutes (minus one possession), Davis had 25 points including five three point shots.
Hummer also scored 25 on 10-19 shooting, going 5-5 at the free throw line while grabbing 15 rebounds. It was Hummer’s dunk follow of a Davis drive that gave his team a five point lead with less than a minute to go.
While the Seminoles tallied eight points in the final 30 seconds, Princeton went 5-6 at the line and had a superb victory in their final game of 2011, the first team to beat Florida State at home this season.
Eons previous the Tigers built a 27-10 halftime advantage which finally evaporated in the final minute of regulation. Florida State took their first lead of the game at 51-49 during the first of the three bonus frames.
Denton Koon added seven points and 10 boards off the bench.
Hummer’s steal and push up the floor gave Princeton a 2-0 lead against the fourth-best defensive team in the nation according to Ken Pomeroy’s ratings.
A pick and roll to Bernard James for a jumper evened the score two minutes in but it would be the last tie of regulation. Davis faked a jumper and drove into the lane, fouled on his shot. Davis made one of two at the line.
Mack Darrow’s hand off screen to T.J. Bray made it 6-2 Tigers.
After a series of offensive fouls on both sides, Ian Miller got in the lane and muscled up a jumper as Davis fouled him for a one point game.
With Florida State 7-1 this season when scoring 70 or more points, the pace was favoring Princeton as both teams showed difficulty finding the basket.
While the Seminoles’ fortune did not change, the Tigers’ certainly did. Beginning with a left wing triple by Davis, Princeton would score 12 straight as FSU remained iced cold.
Okaro White pushed down Hummer for one more offensive foul before Darrow dropped a backdoor feed to Hummer streaking baseline and Hummer completed an insane reverse layup high off the glass with his left hand.
Miller’s pull up jumper sailed long but Darrow’s left wing try was right on the money. Darrow was freed by Bray’s drive to the right and pass back to the perimeter.
Davis went right at James for two more and Hummer stepped through around Miller for an adroit layin. It was now 18-5 Tigers with 8:19 left in the half.
Going one second short of 5:00 without a point, Snaer lobed the ball to James, who collected and scored as Hummer fouled him. James missed the free throw after a rare Florida State field goal.
Princeton didn’t wilt. Denton Koon grabbed an offensive rebound weakside after Bray missed from outside and Hummer was primed to cut to his right with a floater.
A left corner three by Snaer went off to the right and in a magnificent moment Hummer drove to his left and drew two defenders but had the strength to turn and throw a one hand pass around a Seminole out to Bray unobstructed on the far wing for three. The lead had extended to a surprising 16.
It never felt like it would last but it didn’t seem like it was going to stop either. Off the dribble Bray bounced a pass to Connolly cutting who swooped for a layup off the glass to his right.
Connolly fouled James with a knee from behind but James only made one of two. James’ free throw was greeted with derisive fake cheers from the Florida State fans.
A posting Hummer with his back to the basket had Koon trailing on the same side so Hummed handed the ball out to Koon approaching and got the heck out of the way so Koon could dunk with both hands. Was this really happening? The Tigers were up 27-8 with two minutes left in the half.
A dunk by James, FSU’s fourth and final field goal of the half drew them within 17. Bray’s drive was blocked and Hummer left a move to his right just short.
Still, Princeton got to the break with a 27-10 lead, holding Florida State to the fewest points they had ever scored in an opening frame at the Tucker Center.
Princeton shot 11-28 in the initial 20 minutes (39.3%), 4-10 from three (40.0%) and 1-2 on free throws (50.0%). Hummer had eight for the Tigers, Bray and Davis each totaled six.
Florida State was but 4-24 (16.7), 0-11 from three and 2-5 at the line (40.0%). James had seven of his team’s 10.
The home team, playing with newfound intensity, scored on their first two possessions of the second half. James got free inside around Patrick Saunders for a two hand dunk. Saunders’ three try off a Bray drive sailed long and Saunders was late to help on a Snaer drive.
Hummer was able to drive deep around the mismatched Deividas Dulkys to get the Tigers back to 29-14.
Snaer made one of two free throws, then drove to his left off the glass over a block attempt from Hummer.
Again Hummer was able to create some distance, splitting the defense for two.
The lead down to 12 following Jeff Peterson’s only basket of the game, Davis was found by Bray for a much-needed three.
Princeton led 40-28 three minutes later when Snaer rebounded his own miss and came in from the far corner to score. It was the start of a 12-0 run for FSU.
Committing turnovers on four of five possessions, a double digit advantage dwindled to 40-38. Included in that stretch was Bray’s fourth personal foul with 9:27 left as Bray headed to the bench for the first time all game.
An inbounds lob by Luke Loucks to White right down the lane resulted in a monster one hand slam and the crowd was fully involved.
By the time Miller followed an offensive foul for Hummer with a floater the Seminoles were as close as they had been since the first media stoppage.
Bray recognized Koon calling for the ball on an inbounds and Bray scored while fouled from behind by Snaer. Koon added a free throw for a 43-38 count. It was Princeton’s first field goal in just under eight minutes.
Xavier Gibson dunked. Ian Hummer responded with both ends of a one and one at the line.
Coming out of the final television time out, Miller curled to the right wing and after 14 straight misses launched his team’s first successful three point shot.
Davis canned a step back jumper before White’s free throw jumper with two on the shot clock.
Davis spent a lot of time dribbling the ball, missed a backdoor bounce pass chance and then was whistled for a five count giving the ball back to Florida State.
Loucks’ curling jumper to tie sailed long back to Princeton.
Again Davis passed on a clean look from the left side, unselfishly feeding Hummer in the post. Perhaps his poor decision-making at Drexel altered his approach to a similar scenario. By the time the ball came out to Darrow the shot clock had expired.
Davis came out in place of Jimmy Sherburne for the first time and Miller drove wildly at Sherburne, his shot flying over the rim allowing Gibson to dunk the ball on the opposite block as Hummer wisely backed his hands away from the play.
The senior Saunders attempted a long two, which went out of bounds to Princeton. The game clock now off, a well-defended Davis leaned under Gibson trying to win the game.
The ball came up so short from the top that Darrow underneath was able to pluck it out of the air and flip a potential game-winner over his head off the glass. The shot teased but did not drop and regulation expired even at 47. Phew.
On their heels, Princeton regrouped to win the tip and Davis faked a three from the near corner, then stepped in to a midrange two on the baseline.
Snaer drove to his right at Saunders and scored. Darrow found Bray in the corner for three and the rebound was controlled by Darrow. Hummer was able to get into the lane but his touch was a hair off.
Snaer next drove at Hummer, spun in the lane and rainbowed a jumper up that kissed the rim once and dropped for Florida State’s first lead all game.
Davis slashed like the Davis of old and was fouled, making one of two free throws. Snaer got free on the left elbow but could not connect.
Inbounding under their own basket with 10 on the shot clock, Davis passed to Hummer on the far baseline. On two occasions in regulation Hummer had handed the ball back to Davis curling behind this screen for three. This time Hummer faked the pass and spun 90 degrees to the basket. As White tried to stop Hummer by grabbing a handful of his jersey from behind Hummer kept moving forward and dunked the ball with both hands as the whistle sounded. Hummer added a free throw for a 53-51 Tiger lead.
Snaer drove over Connolly for the game’s fourth tie.
Hummer lost the ball on a dribble and raced back to block Miller’s layup try. The Seminoles were able to hold for the final shot of overtime, which Snaer missed. On the rebound Connolly was called for a foul boxing out James by “TV Ted” Valentine.
The awful free throw shooter missed the front end of a one and one, making sure Valentine’s dubious whistle didn’t decide the result.
A second overtime? Why not! This time Florida State won the tip but Miller’s long two up top was well-contested. A post pass from Hummer was stolen by Miller with momentum going coast to coast.
Davis got into the lane and went down on a shot that sailed too strong. Hummer was called for a foul trying to fight through a screen but White missed the front end of his one and one.
Hummer could not finish a lob pass with a reverse and a curling Miller just into the lane connected on a jumper. It took 47:08 but Florida State had their first two possession lead.
It didn’t last that long. Bray to a cold blooded Davis on the right wing for three drew Princeton within 57-56.
James was fouled on a third try inside but missed both of his free throws badly.
A spinning Bray in the lane to Darrow on the left block pushed Princeton back in front.
Snaer’s missed jumper was tipped up to Koon on the baseline and Hummer drove strong into the lane and finished with his left hand hooking off the glass. The Tigers were close to the win, but in a sequence similar to the end of regulation at Rider, Miller was fouled hard by Koon on a baseline drive for two free throws with :30.1 showing and Bray had the ball pop out of his hands into Miller’s as he brought the ball up. Trying to recover Bray fouled Miller and Bray, who had survived with four fouls for so long, was done.
Miller missed his first free throw as Hummer yelled “Yes!” loudly and tied the game with his second. Again Davis held the ball as time ran low, unable to get the ball to Hummer calling in the lane and only able to muster a harmless three point look with White blocking his path. Triple overtime.
The fourth jump ball of the night went to Princeton. Hummer was blocked inside and Koon couldn’t complete the possession.
White drove and was fouled by Saunders but misfired on both his free throws.
Davis, running the show with Bray disqualified, left the ball to Koon at point blank range who missed unexpectedly.
Snaer’s long deuce over Saunders made it 62-60. Davis used a pump fake to freeze his man and then fired without hesitation once he could go back up.
A Snaer jumper flew long to Saunders. Hummer in the lane went to his right and could not get his shot to drop, which was because the rim was touched for a goaltending violation. 65-62 Tigers.
Of course Loucks connected on a deep three to tie the game a sixth time.
Hummer inside spotted Davis alone outside and Davis got the soft bounce for his fifth three of the night and a three point Princeton lead.
Connolly blocked a Miller drive to Koon, who was fouled. With a minute to go Koon went to the line but kept FSU in it with two misses.
When Davis picked off Gibson’s pass out from the paint following his own miss, the Princeton senior tried to drive all the way to the rim. His shot came up short of the target but Hummer was trailing the play and timed his leap perfectly to dunk the ball home. Princeton led 70-65 with :25.6 showing.
Snaer made things very interesting with a deep three but Darrow was fouled when trapped in the backcourt and he converted both of his opportunities at the line.
Loucks drove and tried to kick to the perimeter but Hummer stepped in the path of the pass and dribbled to Darrow under the hoop who was fouled. Darrow made one of two and Princeton had a five point lead again.
Loucks’ layup with :06.3 gave Florida State a flicker of hope, which Davis extinguished via two free throws. Loucks’ line drive three with a less than a second showing provided the final margin, the Seminole’s third straight three after a 1-15 beginning.
Henderson tried to keep his emotions to himself, but it was clear that this win had some extra meaning for the first year head coach.
“Down the stretch both Ian and Doug made some huge plays,” he said. “Gosh, it was a crazy game.”
“I thought that there was never any quit. It is a really nice road win for us.”
Henderson echoed what Earl had to say on the radio after the final buzzer. Princeton has a long way to go, but as the year came to a close they took an enormous step far from home. “As as staff we feel like the guys still have mountains to go forward, but to have an opportunity to win a game like this one the road – it just makes you really proud for the guys.”
In other words, this is why you play.
-Princeton shot 27-65 for the game (41.5%), 9-18 in the extra 15 minutes (50.0%). The Tigers were 8-23 from three point range (34.8%) and 13-18 on free throws (72.2%).
-Florida State was 29-69 overall (42.0%), 4-18 (22.2%) from three after missing their first 14 attempts and a painful 11-22 at the line (50.0%) including 3-10 in the overtime sessions (30.0%).
-Davis and Hummer are the first two Princeton players to each score 25 or more in a game since Noah Savage (28) and Scott Greenman (27) in a similarly wild double overtime Princeton win at Cornell in 2006.
-With 25 points Davis shot up to eighth on the Tiger career scoring list, passing Gabe Lewullis and Harold Haabestad. Davis has 1,302 points and counting, 19 behind Geoff Petrie.
-Davis' next three pointer will tie him with Sean Jackson for second-most by a Princeton player.
-Bray’s seven assists equaled a career high.
-Davis tied the school record for three point tries in a game with 15, equaling the number of shots behind the arc his head coach fired in 1995 versus Fresno State and Matt Lapin’s attempts in 1990 against Harvard.
-Snaer was Florida State's high man with 20, one of three Seminoles in double digits.
-Former Tiger commitment Jeff Peterson scored two points off the bench for FSU in 18 minutes of action.
-Princeton finishes the calendar year 2011 with a 22-10 record.