Game #9-182: Rider Broncs at Princeton TigersDecember 20, 2012 7:00 pm
Watch the Princeton Tigers go through layup lines, and not much stands out. The team is fairly homogenous; the uniforms and shoes are all the same (no headbands or accoutrements here), and even the players' haircuts are uniform. Get them on the court against another team, however, and you see what is easy to miss in isolation: these Tigers are tall.
The shortest player in Princeton's starting lineup, T.J. Bray, is 6'5". Denton Koon, the putative off-guard, is listed as 6'8". The front line of Ian Hummer, Hans Brase, and Will Barrett range from 6'7'" to 6'10". And the two senior bench players, Mack Darrow and Brendan Connolly, are 6'9" and 6'11" respectively. Princeton ranks 8th nationally in Ken Pomeroy's effective height statistic, and are by far the tallest Ivy team in recent memory.
This height would pose a significant problem for their opponents, the Rider Broncs. The Broncs, led by dynamic junior guards Anthony Myles and Nurideen Lindsey, predicated their offense on getting to the free throw line. Rider came into the game in the top 20 in the nation in free throws attempted per game. Princeton would take that advantage away.
The first half saw a lot of broken possessions for the Broncs as they tried and failed to drive inside on the Tiger defense. Lindsey and Miles struggled, and Rider did not have the skill inside to relieve pressure on their guards. Princeton, however, struggled to pull away. Despite getting good looks out of their patented offense, the Tigers struggled with turnovers and outside shooting. The lead was only six at the break.
The tenor of the game changed after halftime, however. This was in large part caused by the play of Ian Hummer. Hummer broke the Rider pressure for a thunderous dunk on the first Princeton possession of the half, and scored the next four Tiger points. He added three assists, a steal, and a block over the next five minutes as the Princeton lead stretched to 50-34.
At that point, the game was essentially over. Princeton's packed in defense held Rider to only 36 percent shooting and four offensive rebounds. Myles had 18, but Lindsey finished only 2-9 for four points with five turnovers. The knowledgable Princeton crowd, however, was restless. The Tigers had been victims of two furious comebacks already this season, coughing up six point leads with under two minutes to go against both Northeastern and Fordham. There was no reason to fret tonight, however, as the Tiger defense held and Princeton ended up winning by 16. Rider shot only 14 free throws, and five of those came after the game was out of reach.
The Tigers' size and execution was too much for Rider this night. Amazingly, Hummer leads the Tigers in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and free throw attempts. Hummer, who spent most of the game guarding the 6'3" Lindsey, will face another stat stuffer in Bucknell big man Mike Muscala on Saturday night. Here's hoping Jadwin will be rocking for that one.