Monday, January 14, 2013


Okay, so if the Denver defensive backs didn't morph into bad high school players then Peyton Manning would be a more clutch playoff quarterback? Is that how TigerBlog is supposed to see it?

TB is a huge Peyton Manning fan. He's his second favorite Manning, obviously. And honestly, TB would rank Manning among the top five quarterbacks of all time, maybe even the best. And he would be happy to have him quarterback his team in the playoffs - but only if his brother wasn't available.

TigerBlog missed the Broncos-Ravens game because he was at Jadwin Gym all day Saturday, and he couldn't believe what he saw in the highlights, with the way the Ravens tied the game at the end of regulation.

TB was rooting for the Broncos because he likes Manning. Oh well. Wasn't to be.

Besides, it was too good a day for Princeton basketball to let a Broncos' playoff loss affect him.

Princeton and Penn played a basketball doubleheader Saturday, with the women at 3:30 and the men at 6.

That's 80 minutes of basketball between the two games. In those 80 minutes, Princeton led for a combined 76:06, including 62:12 by double figures.

The two games were tied for 2:08, including 14 seconds of the women's game before the Tigers took the lead. Princeton's men and women trailed for a total of 1:46, all in the men's game, and neither team would trail after the first media timeout of the first half.

The women were prohibitive favorites against the Quakers, but Penn was still two games over .500 heading into Jadwin. And each year is a new year when the league season starts, so there had to be at least a little uncertainty.

All of that vanished quickly, as Princeton led 9-0 at the first media timeout and 13-0 before Penn scored. In fact, it was 17-5 before Niveen Rasheed scored her first points of the day.

Blake Dietrick continues to put up great numbers, and she went for eight points, six rebounds and nine assists in just 26 minutes. In fact, no Princeton player went more than 30.

All in all, it was a very impressive showing by the three-time defending champion Tigers.

Then it was the men's turn.

TigerBlog is pretty sure that if Princeton had lost Saturday night then it would have been almost certainly too big a hole to dig out of as far as the Ivy League was concerned, even though it would have only been one game.

He's also pretty sure that if he knew that, then the Tigers knew that as well.

That kind of pressure can mess with a team, especially one that 1) had a rough go of it early on, 2) was playing its best heading into the game and 3) wasn't going to play again for two weeks because of exams. Had Princeton lost to Penn, it would have had that 0-1 in the league lingering the entire time.

Instead, Princeton was never really threatened. T.J. Bray went for 23 points on 6 for 11 three-point shooting, but even more impressive was the fact that he didn't have a single turnover in 39 minutes. Not to overstate the obvious, but Princeton will be hard to beat if Bray can replicate those numbers or even come close.

Ian Hummer had 13 points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block. Those are dream numbers for most players - for Hummer they were solid but not spectacular night.

Harvard also won its league opener, defeating Dartmouth 75-65 in a game that the Crimson had to have as well. Princeton can look down the road to two huge matchups against the Crimson, but what would be the point? Exams are too all-consuming at this point to worry about anything beyond that.

But that's also why Saturday was a must-win, and that's exactly what Princeton came away with.

If you were looking for two very strong performances, you got that.

If you were looking for drama, there wasn't much - though there will be in the weeks to come as both teams pursue championships.

And hey, for excitement, there was the Bucks County Bungee Jumpers, who did their amazing jump-rope show at halftime.

For the fans, their show was a great thing, the moment in nearly five hours at Jadwin that drew the loudest ovation.

For the home team, lack of excitement was a better thing.

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