Men's Basketball Shakes Off Finals Rust, Defeats TCNJ 71-33
Princeton (8-7) hadn't played in 15 days, while TCNJ (5-15) was playing its second game in a span of 25 hours. The shortest member of Princeton's starting lineup, T.J. Bray, was 6-foot-5, while the tallest member of TCNJ's lineup, Mitch Miller, was 6-foot-6.
The Tigers have won five of their last six games heading into Friday's resumption of Ivy League play against Cornell at 7 p.m. in Jadwin Gym. Princeton will host its first five Ivy games at home, the first being the league opener against Penn on Jan. 12. The weekend will continue against Columbia Saturday at 6 p.m.
The Tigers scored the first nine points of the game, holding TCNJ scoreless for the opening three-plus minutes, before the Lions found their touch and cut the Princeton lead to 19-14 just past the midway point of the first half.
Princeton returned a few members of its starting lineup at that point after they'd left the game with a 12-6 lead, and the Tigers closed the half on a 20-3 run. The last four-plus minutes of that was an 8-2 run with four members of the starting lineup - Bray, Will Barrett, Denton Koon and Ian Hummer, taking a rest.
Princeton didn't let TCNJ back in the game in the second half, growing its lead to as many as 42 points with less than three minutes to go before TCNJ scored the final four points of the game.
The Tigers exploited their height advantage to a 60-30 rebounding edge, with Hans Brase grabbing a career-best 15 boards to match the most for any Princeton player since 1999, when Mason Rocca '00 had 18 against Georgetown. Since then, Ian Hummer had 15 in a three-overtime game at Florida State last season, Kareem Maddox '11 had 15 against Dartmouth in 2011, and Zach Finley '10 had 15 against Penn in an overtime game in 2009.
Princeton held the visitors to 23 percent shooting, including 0 of 14 from beyond the arc. No TCNJ player had more than 10 points, with Emmanuel Matlock and Ryan Keegan co-leading the team, while Denton Koon had a game-high 12 for Princeton and Brase enjoyed his first double-double and the first double-double for any Tiger this season with 11 points to go with his 15 boards. Princeton had 18 assists on 21 baskets, and got to the line for 29 tries compared to just eight for TCNJ.
• TCNJ's point total was the lowest for a Princeton opponent since Rice scored 28 points in a 51-28 Princeton win in Jadwin Gym on Jan. 6, 2007. Princeton's 38-point margin of victory was its largest since defeating Goucher 88-35 (53-point MOV) in the 2010 post-finals game.
• Princeton's coaches were wearing sneakers during the game as part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers weekend, showing their support for the American Cancer Society, part of a national event among coaches this weekend.
• Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson will continue his participation in Coaches vs. Cancer work, heading to Manhattan Monday with a delegation that will ring the closing bell at the NASDAQ exchange in Times Square. Henderson also participated in the event in May 2011 soon after his hiring.
• Princeton swept the other two NCAA-affiliated schools in Mercer County this season, having defeated Rider on Dec. 20.
• Chris Clement had six assists in the game, a third of Princeton's total. He had not had more than one assist in a game previously, and the junior had five career assists coming into the game.
• Hans Brase's double-double was the first of the freshman's collegiate career.
• Princeton has now won all 25 of the Division III games played at the end of the finals break since the tradition began in 1986. The Tigers didn't play a lower-division opponent post-finals in 2006, 2007 or 2012.
• Princeton began playing against The College of New Jersey in 1998, and the only one of the previous four meetings that had a final margin of more than 11 points was in 2011, when the Tigers won by 33. The 38-point win today is the largest margin of victory in the series.
• Sophomore Bobby Garbade had six blocks against TCNJ, a career high and the most for any Tiger since Patrick Saunders ‘12 had six in an OT game against Penn in 2009. All six of Saunders' blocks in that game came in regulation.
• Ian Hummer finished with eight points, putting him at 1,402 for his career as the seventh player in program history to reach 1,400 points. In sixth place on the Princeton list is current assistant coach Brian Earl '99, who had 1,428 points.
• TCNJ's .230 clip from the floor was the lowest for a Princeton opponent since the 2002 Division III game against McDaniel College, then Western Maryland, shot .182.
• Princeton's .362 shooting clip was its lowest in a win since the season opener against Buffalo on Nov. 10, when the Tigers shot .345. Princeton is now 2-3 this season when it shoots below 40 percent.