PHILADELPHIA, PA. 3/12/2013 – When the University of Pennsylvania meets the Princeton Tigers in men’s basketball the Ivy League championship is usually on the line. It was not that way in this game as Harvard won the title. This may not have been a title game, but it still mattered to both teams. A Penn vs. Princeton game is a rivalry in every sense of the word. When these teams play, it matters. Princeton came away with the victory 71 – 58. For Penn it matters in many ways.
“Today was an important game for a number of reasons,” said Penn Coach Jerome Allen about the significance of the game. “It is important because one, it was the last game of the season and we wanted to end it on a winning note. Two, we’re trying to improve. Three, it’s Princeton. The standard is that we don’t lose in the Palestra. We want to connect not so much to history, but to what is expected. If you allow excuses to freshman and sophomores, and let them walk, it’s an uphill battle to winning championships.”
“It means a great deal to me,” said Princeton Coach Henderson a player for his school. “This is a really important game for our program, always. We don’t have to like Penn, but we respect Penn.”
The game was close throughout. The score was tied at 32 at halftime. No team took a lead greater than three points in the first ten minutes of the second half. The score was tied at 47 with 9:20 on the clock. Later, Princeton got the lead at 50 – 48 on a three-pointer by guard T.J. Bray. It was also the start of an 18 – 6 Princeton run giving the Tigers a 65 – 54 lead with 2:29 on the clock. Bray hit another from distance in the run.
“Bray hit a three, and Hummer an ‘and one’ and those two mistakes really hurt us,” said Allen about the Princeton run. “It’s a game of inches. They went up eight and that took the life out of us.”
Freshman guard Tony Hicks paced the Red and Blue with 22 points, 17 of those came in the first half. Junior forward Henry Brooks scored 9 points and took down a game-high 11 rebounds. Junior guard Miles Cartwright scored 6 points and handed out a game-high 7 assists. Penn committed 17 turnovers, but gave up just 10 points to Princeton compared to 9 Penn scored off errors.
The Tigers had 4 players score in double figures. Forward Ian Hummer scored 18. Bray
contributed 13 points. Forwards Mack Darrow and Chris Clements had 11 each. Princeton has won 7 of the last 8 games in the series.
“Having gone 7 – 1 against Penn is pretty big for me,” said Princeton senior Hummer who played his last game in the rivalry.
The Red and Blue conclude the season with a 9 – 22 record, 6 – 8 in the Ivy League. Princeton ends the regular season at 17 – 11, 10 – 4 in conference. The Tigers can see the court again in the post-season.
The Quakers are a young team that has no seniors. The team has some impressive young players like Hicks that Allen can add to the mix to build into a winning team in the future. The team will have Fran Dougherty and Steve Rennard return from injury, and players like Henry Brooks and Miles Cartwright can continue their progression. However, an Ivy League championship is the only validation for Coach Allen.
“I saw it at the end of the season when we started to improve defensively,” Allen said. “”Things started to take shape, like who would be our primary scorers, who will be the catalyst defensively, who will set the tempo. The standard here is to win championships. I am looking for titles not progress. I am encouraged by the work that is going into the process. I refuse to let anybody put limitations on what we can accomplish as a team. “
But Coach issued a warning.
“Next season is not promised to anyone,” advised Allen.
And the rivalry can make its way back to Penn and Princeton, Princeton and Penn. The way is used to be.
Written By: Glenn Papazian