Men's Basketball Beats Brown, 81-47; Tuesday's Game on ESPN3
The Tigers improved to 18-11 overall and 9-4 in the Ivy League with Penn coming to town Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. for the regular-season finale. It will be shown live on ESPN3.com.
Brown ended its season at 8-23 overall and 2-12 in the Ivy. It was Princeton's largest margin of victory over a Division I opponent since Feb. 19, 2000, when the Tigers beat Cornell by 36, 79-43.
Though the Tigers were eliminated Friday night from the Ivy League race, Tuesday's game will be far from meaningless to the Ivy crown. Harvard and Penn both won Saturday night, giving the Crimson a share of the Ivy title. If Princeton beats Penn, Harvard goes to the NCAA Tournament. If Penn wins, there will be an Ivy playoff just like Princeton was in a year ago.
The roles were flipped a year ago in the regular-season finale at The Palestra. Princeton had to beat the Quakers to join Harvard in the one-game playoff.
"They're having a really good season and they're playing for something, but we are too," Princeton senior guard Douglas Davis, a Philadelphia native, said of Penn. "It'll make things interesting on Tuesday night."
As for the Tigers, Saturday night's win made it seven of the last eight and a perfect 6-0 at home in the Ivy. The Tigers have won 16 Ivy League home games in a row, the longest active streak in the league, last losing Feb. 20, 2010 against Brown.
For the second straight game, Princeton trailed only early. The Tigers used a 6-0 run to gain a 26-19 lead with 3:36 to go in the first half, and by halftime the lead was double digits at 33-23.
The Tigers outscored Brown 48-24 in the second half, shooting 64.5 percent in that stanza.
Brendan Connolly led Princeton with 14 points as one of three Tigers in double figures along with Patrick Saunders and Davis, who had 12 points apiece. Jean Harris and Matt Sullivan paced the Bears with a dozen each.
The Bears had no player taller than 6-foot-8, something that played into the hands of the 6-foot-11 junior Connolly.
"When you see that size advantage, you've got to take advantage of it," Davis said. "No matter who's on him, I feel confident each game that he can get off a shot or create advantages for other people, and he did tonight."
Mitch Henderson, the Franklin C. Cappon-Edward G. Green '40 head coach of Princeton men's basketball, has seen the Tiger center step up his game over the course of the Ivy season.
"I was really proud of the way Brendan played," Henderson said. "He made everybody else better. I think he's really making us a much better team, even here late, and I think we've been playing pretty well."
It was the seventh time this season that Connolly has scored in double figures, all in the last 14 games.
"My legs felt like they were there today," Connolly said. "The moves, everything I've been doing has been going down a lot more lately."
The start of Saturday night's game was delayed by about 30 minutes because of a broken basket and a shot-clock fix on the end of the floor on which Princeton warms up during its pregame routine.
"We practice here every day. You sort of expect to play at 7:30, but they're in the same situation as us," Henderson said. "I didn't think it was that big of a deal."