PRINCETON – The 227th edition of Penn men’s basketball versus Princeton was a chance for a fresh start for the beleaguered Quakers: the Ivy opener, a rivalry game, and a chance to build off of Tuesday’s near-comeback against Lafayette.
But Princeton would have none of that Saturday at Jadwin Gym, dispatching Penn, 65-53, with a barrage of three-pointers from junior guard T.J. Bray and greater overall efficiency from the field.
The Tigers (7-7, 1-0 Ivy) got off to a hot start early, with Bray going 4-for-7 from beyond the arc in the first half to give Princeton a 31-22 halftime advantage over the Quakers (2-13, 0-1).
“It was just one of those days where shots were falling down, and they came into the flow of offense, which was big,” Bray said.
“The one thing Princeton does, they don’t beat themselves,” Penn coach Jerome Allen said of the Tigers. “When you have lapses on defense, they make you pay. Can’t expect to win a game on the road at the Division I level when you allow a team to shoot 49 percent from the field.”
Conversely, Penn struggled early on to find the net, going 8-for-25 from the field and having no players score more than five points individually in the first stanza. Penn committed more turnovers in the first half (nine) than it scored field goals (eight).
“It might be nerves, [but] it gets a little frustrating,” freshman guard Tony Hicks said. “Maybe we’re a little too tense.”
Things went from bad to worse quickly in the second half, starting with an 8-0 run in the first two minutes of the frame that was fueled by two more three-pointers.
It was Bray who ultimately led the way for the Tigers, notching 23 points for Princeton on 6-for-11 shooting from three-point range. Penn’s scoring leader was freshman guard Tony Hicks, who posted 16 points to score in double figures for the fourth game in a row.
“I thought the kid Hicks did a really nice job going left on us,” Princeton coach Mitch Henderson said.
The Quakers’ season-long turnover struggles continued. Penn coughed the ball up 16 times on the night, just four days after turning it over just 11 times in a 85-83 loss to Lafayette.
Penn has now lost seven of its last eight games against Princeton, including four straight in Jadwin Gym. The Quakers will take the court again Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at NJIT.
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