Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Drawing Mitch

Perhaps you remember the times TigerBlog has written about the Dillon Gym ping-pong tournament?

There have been two of them, and field hockey assistant coach Mike Pallister has won both of them. TigerBlog has seen Pallister play, and it's not surprising that he's the champ.

The quick scouting report on Pallister is this: he's tall, he's athletic, he has long arms, he's super aggressive and he's super competitive.

TigerBlog has never seen Mitch Henderson play ping pong, but he's going with the same scouting report. He's not sure why. He just is.

Why is TigerBlog interested in Henderson's ping-pong ability? It's because this year, there will also be a Jadwin Gym ping-pong tournament.

The draw for this tournament came out yesterday, and TigerBlog drew Henderson in the first round. The always-optimistic TB will be confident heading into the match, though he has a sense Henderson is really good.

TigerBlog's ping-pong mentor was a girl named Joni Meister, way, way, way back in the day, at Camp Toledo. TB is talking a long time ago.

Joni Meister was, as TB recalls, the best ping-pong player there. She never, ever went for a winner. She just steadily returned each shot, endlessly, with her left hand behind her back, and eventually her opponent would miss.

Maybe TB should haven't said that. You know, don't want to give away the game plan to Mitch. On the other hand, TB might be too impatient to play "Meister-Ball" the whole time.

Mitch's team played at Monmouth last night, falling 96-90 in what was objectively a very entertaining game to watch. And the listen to. And a game that was played at a very high level throughout.

TigerBlog alternated between the ESPN3 telecast and the WPRB radio broadcast, and both announcing teams were excellent. Derek Jones and Noah Savage continue to do a tremendous job on the Princeton games, and the ESPN3 guys, whom TB has never heard before, were also really good.

The game did also make a little history, though it's probably little consolation for the Tigers. Princeton's 90 points in the game marked the first time in program history that the team had scored 90 points in a game and lost. It was also the second game in program history, after a 94-92 win over Rutgers in 1960 in overtime, were both teams reached 90 points.

Princeton was done in by a 16-0 Monmouth run in the second half, which happened to correspond with the only point in the game where TB was neither watching nor listening. In fact, when he turned the game back on, he said "wow" out loud to nobody.

Despite the loss, Princeton did get big-time performances by Steven Cook (30 points) and Devin Cannady (26 points), who each put up career highs. The Tigers have a quick turnaround, with a trip to Bucknell tomorrow night.

TigerBlog's main takeaway from the game? This is the kind of December loss that can turn into wins in February.

In other Princeton news, the women's basketball team hosts Wagner. Tip is again at 6, and this marks the fourth straight week that Jadwin will host a Wednesday game that tips at either 5 (men's game last week) or 6 (three women's games).

TigerBlog loves them. So do all of the fans have who have attended them.

The last meeting between Princeton and Wagner was a 75-49 Seahawks win back on Nov. 13, 2007. Courtney Banghart was already Princeton's head coach, and she had exactly zero career wins heading into that game.

Banghart has won 196 since then, and she has taken Princeton to six NCAA tournaments in the last seven years.

One of the most fascinating things about her record at Princeton is that she started out 16-37 in her first 53 games, with a winning percentage of .302. Since then, she is 180-42, for a winning percentage of .818.

That's quite a turnaround.

What else for today?

Oh yeah, TB wanted to make sure you saw the video from the men's hockey team's game against Minnesota State-Mankato from Friday night that his colleague John Bullis put together.

You can see it HERE.

TB loves this video. It shows exactly what it's like to be part of the men's hockey team on a game night, from arrival at Baker Rink to the final horn.

Oh, and Princeton has done something wild for the last three weekends: It's had the Division I leader in points. First it was Max VĂ©ronneau, who did it twice, and then this past weekend it was Jackson Cressey.

The men's hockey team is done for 2016, so that streak will end this weekend.

As for 2016, Princeton has nine remaining events in the calendar year, with only the women's basketball game tonight and the men's basketball game tomorrow before Christmas.

And TB will let you know how he does against Mitch. 


Steven Feldman '68 said...

Two items of note: Princeton's men's hockey team drew 2 votes this week in the NCAA Division 1 Poll. Those points placed Princeton 27th. When was the last time the men's hockey team appeared in the Poll? Also, has the Princeton men's basketball team ever had two players scoring 25 points or more in a game before? The only time this might have happened would have been during the Bill Bradley era but it seems doubtful.

TB-Baltimore said...

I sat at the scorer's table for a game in which two Princeton players scored 25 or more...February 17, 2006 at Cornell. We won the game in 2OT, 76-68. Color commentator mentioned above had 28 points and current AU assistant coach Scott Greenman had 27...including three-point shots that tied the game both at the end of regulation and at the end of the 1st OT. Look up the highlights on'll be surprised to hear the play-by-play voice of John Sterling on the YES Network...

Steven Feldman '68 said...

Steven Cook and Devin Cannady both scored over 25 points in a game last night against Monmouth in regulation time. The game mentioned above by TB-Baltimore went into overtime. I wonder if Cook's and Cannady's feat has been accomplished by two Princeton players any other time in regulation time.