Princeton Holds Off Penn for a 77 – 70 Victory In Ivy League Semifinal
PRINCETON, NJ 3/11/2023 –
When these two titans in Ivy League history squared off this season, the game would be decided by a run getting one or surviving one. Not this game. It was a grind it battle to the end. Slogging through the weeds. In the end it was the Princeton Tigers winning over the University of Pennsylvania Quakers 77 – 70. Princeton will play top seeded Yale for the Ivy League championship and the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Tigers forward Tosan Evbuomwan scored a game-high 21 points and dished out 4 assists while grabbing 6 boards.
Jordan Dingle headed Penn with 19 points.
Close Game Throughout
The seven point gap at the end was the largest lead of the game and that came on two free throws by Tigers guard Xavier Lee with 8.2 seconds remaining. Prior to that both teams had a largest lead of six points. There were 11 ties. The lead changed hands 9 times. It would come down to the end. Execution, not a run, would be the determining factor.
“It comes down to execution,” said Penn Coach Steve Donahue. “That offensive rebound by (Caden) Pierce was a crusher at the end, and those are the types of plays that ended up deciding it.”
The Last Lead Changes
Let’s take it back to the tie at 65 with 5:29 to play. Princeton went ahead on a layup by Evbuomwan that was answered by Quakers guard George Smith who hit a three-pointer. The defenses dug in. Baskets by Caden Pierce and Evbuomwan gave the Tigers a 71 – 68 edge. Nick Spinoso made a driving layup to bring Penn to within a point at the 2:06 mark. That would be the last points the Quakers would score as they missed two shots and committed two offensive fouls. Still, that offensive rebound by Pierce led to a basket by Evbuomwan to help the Tigers close it out. The last four points came at the free throw line.
“That was the most physical game we played in a long time and it was just an unbelievable atmosphere,” said Princeton Coach Mitch Henderson. “I imagine very enjoyable to watch. It came down to a handful of possessions.”
What the Numbers Say
Pierce recorded a double-double for Princeton with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Ryan Langborg and Zach Martini added 12 each. All of Martini’s points came on three-pointers. The Tigers won the rebounding battle 42 – 34. Keeshawn Kellerman took down double-digit rebounds with 10.
In addition to Dingle’s scoring he contributed 6 assists and 2 steals. His last basket came at the 7:45 mark,
The Quakers committed 21 fouls to 12 for the Tigers.
“I believe if we don’t give up silly fouls, then it might be a different outcome,” Dingle said about fouling. “It comes with maturity and being poised when the game isn’t going exactly the way you want it to be.”
Clark Slajchert scored 17 points. Spinoso added 15 points and 8 rebounds. Smith pulled down a team-high 9 caroms.
Princeton plays Yale for the championship in just a few hours from now.
The season is over for Penn who finish at 17 – 13. The Quakers look forward to next year.
“A difficult way to end our season,” said Donahue. “They did everything they could preparation wise and competing at a high level. I thought the level of effort they gave, I couldn’t ask for more. Give Princeton credit, they finished the job down the stretch.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian