Monday, August 5, 2019

Question No. 1.2.0

It's been nearly a month since TigerBlog got this comment left here:

TB, four years ago, I left a comment suggesting a few topics for your summer columns. (Left comment on 6/12/15; your last response on 8/28/15.) You predictably knocked those pitches out of the park, so here are some more ideas that you might consider to be in your strike zone.
Greatest games or events you've witnessed, considering their historical context (last time, you answered exclusive of historical context)
Most improbable team or individual achievements (other than comebacks, which we covered)
Saddest or most bitter you've been due to Princeton sports
Most nervous moments you've had, in-game or otherwise
Most extreme emotions other than happy, sad or nervous (For instance, I think that arguably your best column ever was describing what went through your mind when you inputted the official scorer's entry for your daughter's ground ball. As another example, when I attended Princeton Stadium's 1998 inaugural game against Cornell, the pre-game festivities included football alumni marching onto the field beneath their class banners. Watching the history unfold in front of me, I started to tear up. My girlfriend at the time, a gritty street-smart New Yorker, saw me getting choked up and looked at me quizzically. I felt the need to explain myself and quietly said, "This makes me feel part of something bigger than myself." Within a month, we broke up. I think she literally thought to herself, "Any man who would come close to crying at a football game is not a good long-term match for me.") 


He's waited until this week to answer them. There are five questions, and he'll respond to one per day for the next five days.

When he answered these questions four years ago, he used the titles of "Question No. 1" and so on. Does that make these Question 1.2.0 and so on?

Anyway, TB will get started.

Question No. 1.2.0 is: Greatest games or events you've witnessed, considering their historical context (last time, you answered exclusive of historical context)
Obviously all of these answers center around Princeton sports. For instance, he covered the famous Duke-Kentucky game at the Spectrum while he was still in the newspapers business, and that was probably the greatest game he ever saw (and a lot of other people ever saw) with significant historical context mixed in.

Also, it only counts if TB was there or watched it live on videostream or TV (this lets out the 1989 Princeton-Georgetown men's basketball game, among others).

So, what's the answer? Hmmm.

The greatest game TigerBlog has seen with historical context mixed in? He'll start with a few honorable mention selections (in no order), and while he does, he's guessing that you already know what the No. 1 answer will be.

* Princeton 14, Dartmouth 9 (football, 2018) - This was an epic football game that started out with back-to-back long touchdown drives to make it 7-7 in the first quarter and then became the tensest Ivy League football game TB has seen as Princeton trailed 9-7 for much of the game before pulling it out in the fourth quarter. The drama was even greater given the stakes: both teams were 7-0 coming in and neither would lose to anyone else all season.

* Princeton 72, Penn 64 (men's basketball, Ivy League tournament semifinal, 2017) - Princeton went 14-0 in the league in 2017, but that was the first year of the league tournament, which meant that Princeton needed to win two more games to get to the NCAA tournament. Playing on the home court of fourth-seeded Penn, Princeton trailed for pretty much the entire game before Myles Stephens tied the game with an offensive rebound and put back with five seconds left in regulation. It was all Tigers in the OT. Princeton then defeated Yale in the final to be the first team - and so far only - to go 16-0.

* Princeton 8, Virginia 7 (women's lacrosse, NCAA final, 2003) - Theresa Sherry's overtime goal gave Princeton a second-straight national championship. What TB - who did the radio from the Carrier Dome that day - remembers most is the caused turnover by Alex Fiore that led to Whitney Miller's tying goal with a little more than a minute left in regulation.

* Princeton 63, Penn 56 (men's basketball, Ivy League playoff, 1996) - Princeton had lost eight straight to Penn, including a 63-49 loss four days earlier to force the playoff. Princeton led most of the way this time, only to have Penn tie it late in regulation. Sydney Johnson hit a huge three-pointer with less than a minute to go in the OT, and Princeton sprinted away for the win and NCAA tournament bid. That was also the night Pete Carril announced he was retiring.

* Princeton 3, Washington 1 (women's soccer, NCAA quarterfinals, 2004) - The game drew 2,500 fans to old Lourie-Love Field and advanced Princeton to the NCAA Final Four, marking the only time an Ivy League team has done so. Princeton scored twice in the second half to snap a 1-1 tie in what was a dominant performance in a huge moment.

* Princeton 4, Colgate 3 (men's hockey, ECAC opening round series, Game 2, 2017) - You can't really have much more drama to a sporting event than you had in this one. Princeton, down a game in the series and facing elimination, tied the game on an Eric Robinson goal with one second left in the regulation and then won it on Max Veronneau's OT goal to even the series. Princeton then won it the next night to advance to the quarterfinals.

* Princeton 2, Clarkson 1 (men's hockey, ECAC championship game, 2018) - This one came really close to matching the drama of the game a year earlier against Colgate and had a big edge in historical significance. This time, it was Princeton who gave up the late goal as Clarkson scored with 6.4 seconds left to force OT, but it was Princeton's Max Becker who scored 2:37 into overtime to give Princeton the championship.

* Princeton 50, Penn 49 (men's basketball, 1999) - This is the famous comeback game, the one in which Princeton trailed 29-3, 33-7 and 40-15 at the under-16 media timeout before rallying for the win. It loses points because Penn came back to win the Ivy League championship that season, but the nature of the comeback was historic all by itself.

* Princeton 5, Harvard 2 (baseball, Ivy League Championship Series Game 3, 2003) - Princeton won the game to take the series and advance to the NCAA tournament. TB's biggest memory is just how in control Tiger pitcher Thomas Pauly was the entire time, as he threw a complete game four-hitter 

* Princeton 10, Syracuse 9 (men's lacrosse, NCAA championship game, 2001) - Princeton has won six NCAA men's lacrosse titles, and four of them came in overtime, so really any of them would work. For TB, though, the 2001 game was the most emotional, partly because of the way Syracuse had manhandled Princeton in the 2000 regular season, 2000 championship game and 2001 regular season, partly because of the way Princeton had the lead the whole game before Syracuse tied it with 16 seconds left forcing the Tigers to win in OT despite having no momentum at that point and mostly because it's the championship Bill Tierney won with both of his sons, Trevor and Brendan.

* Princeton 80, Green Bay 70 (women's basketball, NCAA tournament, 2015) - Princeton had five players - Michelle Miller, Annie Tarakchian, Alex Wheatley, Blake Dietrick, Vanessa Smith) score in double figures for the only NCAA tournament win in program history to date.

And the winner is? Well, TB can answer that in one word. The winner is ... obvious.

* Princeton 43, UCLA 41 (men's basketball, NCAA tournament opening round, 1996) - What else could it be other than that magical night in Indianapolis? Princeton upset the defending NCAA champion on Gabe Lewullis' layup with 3.9 seconds left. It was an NCAA tournament win for the Tigers, and it was the 514th and final win at Princeton for Pete Carril. 

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