PRINCETON -- If you listened to Princeton head coach Sydney Johnson after the game, you got the message.
Friday's 61-41 win over Ivy favorite Cornell, which was on a 19-game Ivy winning streak, was big. It also only counts for one game, and there are 11 left to determine the league champ.
That said, while it's only one game, it's a big one. The Tigers never trailed against the Big Red and were tied only once, at 4-4.
When the Big Red made a run to cut what was once a 14-point lead to three at 34-31 as late as the 12-minute mark of the second half, the Tigers didn't wilt. Instead, Princeton went on a 17-6 run to regain what was then its largest lead and cruised from there.
Princeton's largest advantage was its last, the 20-point final score.
And there were more bright spots. Princeton got it done with its leading scorer on the season, Douglas Davis, making only one of five shots for two points on the night. Yet Princeton still won by 20 because other players more than filled in.
Pawel Buczak, Princeton's 6-10 junior center, hit all three three-pointers he took on his way to matching his career-best with 15 points. Sophomore Kareem Maddox had a season-high 11 points. Marcus Schroeder tied his season-best with 10, and Dan Mavraides, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Week, had his 10th double-digit game of the season and seventh in the last eight games with 12 points.
"It's hard not to be happy about this win," Maddox said. "But we've got to keep focus."
Princeton's shooting and relative lack of turnovers were keys to the win. The Tigers hit 22 of 44 field goals and were 8 of 14 from beyond the arc. Cornell shot 31.8% from the field (14 of 44) and hit only 2 of 17 three-pointers. Just one Big Red player, Louis Dale, was in double-figures with 12 points. The Tigers had just nine giveaways to Cornell's 14.
Columbia will hit Jadwin Gym tomorrow for a 6 p.m. tip. The Lions will be coming off a 74-63 win over Penn.