Darrow Buries Three at Buzzer to Beat Rider
LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. -- Mack Darrow hit only one field goal Wednesday night at Rider, but it was a pretty important one.
As time expired in overtime, Darrow buried a 3-pointer to lift Princeton to a 72-71 win in the Tigers' first-ever visit to Rider's 53-year-old Alumni Gym in the first meeting between the two Mercer County Division I programs since 2002.
"Obviously I was kind of expecting Doug to be the hero like always," Darrow said, tongue-in-cheek. "I walked in to get a better look at his buzzer-beater, and it turns out I found one."
Had he had a buzzer-beater at any point in his basketball career?
"I hit one in like seventh grade Boys and Girls Club," Darrow said. "But since then, no."
Seven players scored for Princeton (5-6) and four were in double figures. Hummer had his third double-double of the season with 21 points and 12 rebounds along with a career-high seven assists, two better than his previous best of five, already reached twice this season.
T.J. Bray had a career-high 11 points and tied a career best with eight rebounds while Douglas Davis added 11 and Denton Koon reached double figures for the third time in four games with 10 points.
Even with those superlatives, Mitch Henderson, the Franklin C. Cappon-Edward G. Green '40 head coach of Princeton men's basketball, continues to look for improvement as the pre-conference schedule goes on.
"We were very fortunate tonight. I thought Rider played very well," Henderson said. "We just happened to have the ball in our hands when the time ran out and Mack made a huge shot."
Jonathon Thompson had 17 points for Rider (1-10) while Anthony Myles chipped in 15 in front of a sellout crowd of 1,650. Rider took its second Ivy League opponent in as many chances this season to overtime, losing 78-72 to Penn on Nov. 17.
Rider raced out to a 9-2 lead and led by as much as 16 at 36-20 with less than five minutes to go in the first half. Princeton closed the half on a 13-2 run to make it a five-point game at the break, scoring the last nine points of the half.
"I thought a huge key to the game for us was, down 36-20 with five minutes left, and then going into the half down 38-33," Henderson said. "We were very happy with that because they were blowing our doors off.
"They didn't score (during Princeton's 13-2 run) and we started playing the way we want to play," Henderson added. "We can't come out the way we did tonight and win many games. It's time for us to start moving forward here and we're way past one-third of the season. I expect to see some things move our way."
Princeton shot 48.3 percent in the first half but was outdone by Rider's 57.7 percent clip.
"We got down big early because we didn't come to play," Bray said. "Once we started helping each other (on defense), that's when things started clicking on offense and we were able to make a run and get it down to five."
The Tigers continued chipping away after the break, taking their first lead at 61-60 on a Bray bucket with 2:24 to go and led by as much as four at 65-61 after a Bray 3-pointer and a Hummer split from the free-throw line.
Princeton's last point in regulation, the Hummer free throw, came with 21 seconds left as Rider's Brandon Penn hit a 3-pointer to make it a one-point game before teammate Thompson stripped Princeton's Davis near the Rider bucket and Davis fouled Penn to prevent the easy field goal.
Penn split from the line, tying the game at 65-65, and Hummer's attempt for his second game-winning layup in eight days hit both sides of the rim's interior but bounded out. Hummer made a basket with 2.7 seconds to go last Wednesday at Rutgers to win that one 59-57.
Instead, the game went to overtime, which Rider started with a 5-2 run to take a 70-67 lead. After missed opportunities on the offensive end, Princeton benefited from a Rider turnover in its own end with 91 seconds to go. Hummer cashed in with a basket to cut it to one at 70-69, and after Thompson split from the free-throw line, Princeton had the ball with 20 seconds left in the extra period and the chance at least to tie.
As in regulation, Hummer had the ball in his hands with the seconds ticking away but didn't get his drive to the basket to fall. Rider's Daniel Stewart grabbed the rebound with nine seconds left.
The Tigers, however, were given new life when Stewart missed both free throws and Hummer came down with the rebound on the second miss.
Davis, whose place in Princeton history is etched with his buzzer-beater in last year's Ivy League playoff game against Harvard, instead dished to Darrow, whose arc was true as the clock hit all zeroes with the ball in the air.
Princeton is 2-1 on its 12-game road trip against Division I foes with its only loss coming by four points at Drexel Saturday. The Tigers will try to pull back to .500 on the season with a 1 p.m. game Sunday at Northeastern.