Princeton sweeps season series form rival Penn
PHILADELPHIA >> There was no sense of satisfaction for Princeton after winning its Ivy League opener against Penn last weekend.
It needed to repeat the feat since the two arch rivals were playing a rare home-and-home to tip off the conference campaign.
Devin Cannady scored 20 points, Richmond Aririguzoh added 17, including a huge basket late in the second half, and the Tigers edged the Quakers, 6253, to sweep the season series at the Palestra on Saturday afternoon.
“(The first game) could have went the other way and we could have come out on the opposite end,” said Cannady, who passed Brian Earl for fifth on the program’s all-time scoring list with 1,458 career points. “We doubled down and worked on the principles and details. For the seniors, it was the last time playing in the Palestra. Two years ago, we a joyous moment in March here, but today we needed a win.”
Princeton (9-5, 2-0) got a fourth straight victory despite a 2-for-19 start from the field and a nine-point deficit just past the midway point of the first half. The Tigers made up for their tough shooting by out-rebounding the Quakers, 55-34, and grabbing 16 offensive boards. They also played steady defense themselves, holding the hosts to 32.8 percent from the floor.
“We had to come up with those boards,” said Aririguzoh, who finished with nine rebounds to go with his 17 points. “For me personally, I know we could’ve done that better last game. I have to work these guys a little bit better, play a little bit harder, especially when shots aren’t falling in the first half.”
Aririguzoh showed once again why he’s become one of the Tigers’ most indispensable players. The 6-9 junior center out of Trenton Catholic Academy converted one of the game’s biggest buckets when coach Mitch Henderson drew up a play for him to attack Penn big man AJ Brodeur out of a timeout.
Aririguzoh converted to give Princeton a 56-50 advantage with 1:22 remaining.
“With six and a half minutes left, the game was in the balance and we had a little bit of a lead, but it wasn’t comfortable at all and he had his fourth foul,” Henderson said. “We didn’t have him in the game and he was sort of inching his way toward the scorers’ table and I wouldn’t put him in. Then we put him in and he immediately gets that call and it’s like pop, pop, pop … wham. I thought that was a huge part of the game.”
Aririguzoh averaged 18.5 points, eight rebounds and shot 69.5 percent in the two games.
“He’s been playing amazing,” Cannady said. “His work ethic is fantastic. The stuff he did in the summer, I’m so proud of him. The way he guarded Brodeur, the way he’s scoring on offense, it makes us so much better.”
Myles Stephens scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half, all of which came during a six-minute stretch when he netted 10 straight Tiger points. His layup with 4:28 remaining capped an 8-0 spurt gave Princeton a seven-point lead.
“He understands the success that he’s had in the past in the Ivy League and guys are going to have a hard time guarding him, but his focus and willingness to do things he didn’t in the past for the team has made leaps and bounds for our program,” Cannady said. “He had a double-double and is playing fantastic. He was at the free throw line, and I was like, ‘Myles, just like freshmen year when we played in overtime against them.’”
Brodeur led Penn (106, 0-2) with 16 points and 12 rebounds and Antonio Woods chipped in 12 points. The Quakers lost their fourth in a row and have Big-5 games against Temple and Saint Joseph’s before Ivy play resumes.
Princeton, meanwhile, goes into its exam break atop the Ivy League standings.
“It starts with the upperclassmen because they’re really connected,” Henderson said. “Their nose is forward and I think this league is a senior-driven, leadership-driven league.” NOTES >> Henderson’s not worried about freshman point guard Jaelin Llewellyn despite his recent shooting slump. Llewellyn was 1-for-9 from the field and is now 12-for-66 (18.1 percent) in his last five games. “All that matters is your team is winning and you (took) that charge,” Henderson said. “He went up in the air and contested the ball really nicely, he made a couple free throws. He’ll keep working at it.” ... Free throw shooting continues to haunt Penn. The Quakers were 7-for-13 from the line, while the Tigers hit on 19-for-21 . ... Stephens and Cannady both finished with double-doubles . ... Princeton returns to action on Jan. 27 against Division III Wesley.
Mitch Henderson’s Princeton team is 2-0 in the Ivy League after sweeping the season series with Penn on Saturday.