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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Northeastern 67, Princeton 66


PRINCETON The good news from Princeton’s Tuesday night home-opener against the Northeastern Huskies was that it won't count in the Ivy League standings.

After leading by double-digits nearly the entire way, the Tigers slowly let the Huskies claw back into the game. Northeastern’s first lead came with just 2.5 seconds remaining, when Reggie Spencer hit the game-winning bucket. The final score was 67-66.

“We got a little deer-in-the-headlights look at the end of the game,” Henderson said. “We kind of just needed one guy do one thing.”

With just under 10 seconds to go and the Tigers up 66-65, Mack Darrow missed the front end of a one-and-one. The Huskies got the rebound and advanced the ball past half court before calling timeout.

Zach Stahl caught the inbounds pass and drove to the left, but instead of going up for the shot, dished the ball to a waiting Spencer on the right side of the rim. Spencer converted the layup.


“It was a hell of a play there at the end,” Henderson said. “It was an unfortunate finish for us, but they did everything they needed to do to win that game.”

The Tigers looked to be in complete control during the first half. The Huskies played much of the first half defensively in a zone, but the Tigers were able to exploit it with some deft interior passing. The big beneficiary of that was Ian Hummer, who  chewed up the interior of the Northeastern zoner for 21 points on 8 of 10 shooting in the half.

“Any time a player has a lot of points in a half, the other team has to change something,” Hummer said. “They really closed off the zone and blocked me from getting the ball.”

Northeastern’s defensive strategy also played right into the hands of sophomore guard Clay Wilson, who came off the bench to knock down four 3s in the period. That forced the Huskies out of their zone and back into man for the closing minutes of the half.

After their strong opening half, the Tigers treaded water for much of the second, struggling to stretch their lead. Northeastern forward Quincy Ford got on an offensive roll, scoring 16 points after intermission to put the Huskies back within striking distance.

“We stopped moving, and we got careless with the ball,” Henderson said. “Offensively, we got stagnant.”

Ford led all scorers with 27 points in addition to grabbing eight rebounds, while Spencer was also huge for the Huskies with 14 points. After his dominant first half, Hummer finished with 25 points, six rebounds and five assists. Wilson and junior forward Will Barrett both had 11.

The loss drops the Tigers to 1-1 on the season. Princeton will try to bounce back Friday, hosting in-state rival Rutgers at Jadwin Gymnasium.

“We had about five or six chances and it would have been a different game,” Henderson said. “We have to let it go. We have Rutgers coming in here on Friday.”

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