By NICK PERUFFO
HANOVER, N.H. — If there were any worry about a potential trap game
against Dartmouth the night before Princeton’s big matchup with Harvard,
the Tigers put those concerns to bed fairly quickly Friday night.
More than 300 miles away from Jadwin Gym in its first Ivy road game
of the season, Princeton put on a strong offensive performance, beating
the Big Green 73-55. With the win, the Tigers improve to 5-1 in the
conference and 12-8 overall.
“We definitely weren’t overlooking anything, by any means,” said
sophomore Denton Koon, who led the Tigers with 18 points. “This is a
good team with a lot of young guys that are very talented. We came here
ready to play, knowing that we had two games this weekend.”
Though Princeton scored on each of its first six possessions,
Dartmouth — a team comprised almost entirely of freshmen and sophomores —
was able to hang with the Tigers early thanks largely to the play of
freshman center Gabas Maldunas, who was extremely active down low and on
Princeton coach Mitch Henderson threw nearly every big man on his
bench at the young Lithuanian, from Hans Brase to Brendan Connolly to
Will Barrett. None were particularly successful, and Maldunas finished
with 16 points and eight rebounds.
“We needed to find somebody that could stop him,” Henderson said. “Everybody needed a crack at it.”
With 10:51 left in the first, Dartmouth’s Malik Gill hit a 3 from the top of the arc, tying the game at 19.
“I was a little disappointed with the way we started the game
defensively,” Henderson said. “I thought we made some nice corrections,
but most of their points were earned. We made some mistakes and they
made us pay for them.”
That deadlock, however, was short-lived. Koon came back and hit a 3
on the other end, forcing the Big Green out of their compact zone
defense. Forced to match up, Dartmouth simply couldn’t handle the
Tigers’ array of offensive weapons. Princeton proceeded to go on a 15-3
“They mixed it up (defensively) on us,” Henderson said. “I thought
(point guard) T.J. (Bray) was very good, and so was Denton, finding the
guys that needed to be found. I thought Ian (Hummer) played within
himself. When we move the ball we’re nice, but defensively we can’t get
too spread out.”
The Tigers cruised into the half up 42-28, shooting 60 percent from the floor and 71.4 percent from behind the 3-point line.
“We just executed and found the open guy,” Koon said.
Princeton extended its lead in the second, building a 25-point margin
at 72-47 with 5:48 left in the game. The Tigers looked to be on pace
for their highest-scoring output of the season, but with many of their
lesser-used players on the floor, only scored one more point in the game
Four Princeton players scored more than 10 points. In addition to
Koon’s 18, Hummer had 14, Brase had 12 and Barrett finished with 11.
With Dartmouth now officially out of the way, the Tigers can now look
ahead to Saturday night’s 7 p.m. showdown at Harvard. The Crimson are
the only other Ivy League squad with just a single loss, beating Penn
73-54 Friday to improve to 6-1.
“We just have to be ready to go,” Henderson said.