Saturday, December 6, 2008

Princeton-St. Bonaventure Men's Basketball

Final, St. Bonaventure 60, Princeton 53

:05.3 2nd: St. Bonaventure 60, Princeton 53
Princeton's possession following the final timeout comes up empty, and St. Bonaventure's Ray Blackburn will ice it at the line by hitting both. So much for the free throw struggles.

:38 2nd: St. Bonaventure 58, Princeton 53
The Reilly Center gets as loud as it has been all night, as a Pawel Buczak turnaround jumper in the lane misses and Doug Davis commits a foul to lengthen the game. Nicholson hits both, bucking the team's free throw trend, and Princeton is down by five.

1:45 2nd: St. Bonaventure 54, Princeton 53
Let's hope its not the TigerBlog jinx, as SBU's Andrew Nicholson hits both following a Patrick Saunders foul, his fourth. Sydney Johnson uses his full timeout, and Princeton has one 30-second timeout left.

2:08 2nd: Princeton 53, St. Bonaventure 52
Speaking of free throws, the man who made the last two for Princeton, Pawel Buczak, isn't as fortunate this time as he missed both. The rebound ended up as a jump ball even though Princeton appeared to have it and attempt to call time out. It might have turned out better than if Princeton had gotten the time out called, as the Tigers only have two left. SBU calls one anyway, and the Bonnies now have three left.

3:27 2nd: St. Bonaventure 52, Princeton 51
If it's a free-throw shooting contest, Princeton might get the upper hand. The Tigers are 14 for 20 from the line tonight, while SBU is 15 of 27, just below their 57% average entering the night.

3:41 2nd: St. Bonaventure 51, Princeton 49
Reilly Center isn't a place for the faint of heart tonight. Pawel Buczak will go to the line to try and tie it up. The game's last 221 seconds will last a lot longer than that.

4:14 2nd: St. Bonaventure 49, Princeton 49
Nick Lake fouls out for the second time this season, not long after hitting the game-tying three. It could be a free-throw shooting contest down the stretch, as Princeton now has 10 team fouls to SBU's 9.

5:06 2nd: St. Bonaventure 49, Princeton 49
As the saying goes, two out of three isn't bad, though the Tigers would have preferred all three go down as SBU gets a layup at the other end. Nick Lake buries a huge three-pointer to tie it.

5:18 2nd: St. Bonaventure 47, Princeton 44
Three points is St. Bonaventure's largest lead of the game, but Doug Davis, who hasn't yet scored, will get three free throws after being fouled on a trey attempt.

6:07 2nd: St. Bonaventure 45, Princeton 44
Is it 2008? There's a crowd-surfing wolf mascot as the SBU student section sings Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer.

6:07 2nd: St. Bonaventure 45, Princeton 44
St. Bonaventure missed, but a lane violation gives SBU's Ray Blackburn another chance and he hits to re-take the lead. Sydney Johnson calls timeout and has a full and a 30 left in what looks like it'll be a tight game the rest of the way.

6:37 2nd: Princeton 44, St. Bonaventure 43
It's become a free-throw contest lately, and St. Bonaventure, which entered the night shooting 57% from the line, has hit its last five after starting the night cold. SBU is now 11 for 20 from the line tonight.

7:20 2nd: Princeton 42, St. Bonaventure 41
It's a 5-0 run for St. Bonaventure, aided by three straight free throws and a running layup. The Tigers need a bucket.

9:44 2nd: Princeton 42, St. Bonaventure 36
Pawel Buczak's and-one conversion nets the Tigers a six-point lead. He picks up his fourth foul at the other end, however. Buczak has yet to foul out of a game this season.

11:25 2nd: Princeton 39, St. Bonaventure 35
St. Bonaventure's Jonathan Hall throws down SBU's second dunk of the game, while Princeton hasn't thrown one down yet this game. Kareem Maddox is the likeliest to do that. The Bonnies can have their dunks, says Nick Lake as he hits a more Princeton-esque shot, the three-pointer.

11:51 2nd: Princeton 34, St. Bonaventure 33
Jason Briggs' three-point attempt gets the dreaded wedge between the rim and backboard, resulting in a media timeout.

12:33 2nd: Princeton 34, St. Bonaventure 31
Offensive rebounds are key, and Patrick Saunders swoops in for a big one that he converts for a layup to give Princeton a three-point lead again. However, SBU gets its own layup on the other end, and it's 34-33.

13:37 2nd: Princeton 32, St. Bonaventure 31
St. Bonaventure's Andrew Nicholson must have been able to clean the blood from his shirt, as he's back in with the No. 44 jersey. Meanwhile, Zach Finley makes one of two from the line to help Princeton grab a one-point lead.

14:18 2nd: Princeton 31, St. Bonaventure 29
The students have nothing between them and the court, as a security guard has to hold them back from Doug Davis inbounding the ball in front of them. Nick Lake gets an offensive rebound off Davis' miss, but the Tigers can't convert and St. Bonaventure will try to tie with two free throw attempts.

15:02 2nd: Princeton 31, St. Bonaventure 29
Jason Briggs hits a badly needed three-pointer to re-take the lead for Princeton after it changed hands a couple times since St. Bonaventure closed the deficit. It's a hard-fought game, alright, as St. Bonaventure's Andrew Nicholson has to use the media timeout to change jerseys into one that doesn't have blood on it.

18:21 2nd: Princeton 26, St. Bonaventure 25
The Tigers' lead dwindles to one as St. Bonaventure starts the half on a 5-0 run. Princeton needs another run like the 10-0 streak that gave the Tigers a 13-point lead in the first half. Sydney Johnson calls time out to try and spark one. The Tigers have two 30s and a full remaining.

What has made the difference in a six-point game? Princeton has hit a couple more three-pointers and a couple more free throws than St. Bonaventure, which is 2 for 8 from the line in the first half. Princeton is 4 of 7 and 4 of 9 from three-point range.

<1:00 1st: Princeton 24, SBU 20
Princeton hasn't scored since the 5:20 mark of the half, but Zach Finley ends that drought with :31.1 seconds to go with an and-one opportunity. Finley can't convert, however, and the Tigers will take a six-point lead into the break at 26-20.

5:20 1st: Princeton 24, SBU 13
Doug Davis checks back in the game. He has been scoreless so far, which threatens his double-digit scoring streak to start the season.

6:48 1st: Princeton 22, SBU 11
After a Jason Briggs three-pointer, his third of the season, SBU gets a one-and-one free-throw shooting situation and capitalizes, breaking its 0 for 5 string to start the night.

10:28 1st: Princeton 15, SBU 9
The struggles continue for St. Bonaventure at the line, as the Bonnies aren't able to capitalize on a Zach Finley shooting foul. SBU is 0 for 4 from the line so far as the half nears the midway point.

11:51 1st: Princeton 12, SBU 7
The friendly PA announcer pointed out to TigerBlog that Richmond, in the Atlantic 10 with St. Bonaventure, runs the same offense as Princeton. Not a coincidence of course, as Richmond coach Chris Mooney is a 1994 Princeton alumnus and a one-season teammate of Princeton's coach, Sydney Johnson '97.

12:o0 1st: Princeton 12, SBU 7
Jason Briggs' almost no-look pass to Kareem Maddox nets the Tigers an and-one opportunity. Maddox takes advantage.

14:34 1st: Princeton 8, SBU 5
Princeton play-by-play man John Sadak pointed out to TigerBlog before the game that St. Bonaventure wasn't a strong free-throw shooting team at 57%, and it hurts them in their first attempts from the line tonight following a Kareem Maddox foul, Princeton's third of the half. Still 8-5, and Jason Briggs will go to the line at the other end.

15:36 1st: Princeton 8, SBU 5
It's been a couple scoreless minutes for the Tigers, while St. Bonaventure has hit a three and a layup to cut the 8-0 Princeton run to start the game to 8-5.

17:33 1st: Princeton 8, SBU 3
TigerBlog has to give the St. Bonaventure student section credit. The whole lot of them has sardined into their half of the lower level, and all of them, at least in the front row, seem to be wearing blue jeans with their brown Wolf Pack t-shirts. No word if the denim is part of the official Wolf Pack uniform.

18:44 1st
Back-to-back threes, with a nice swat of a pass in the lane by Pawel Buczak in between, lead the Tigers to a quick 6-0 lead and a timeout by the Bonnies. It's a matchup of head coaches in their second seasons at their current schools, as St. Bonaventure's Mark Schmidt was previously the head man at Robert Morris near Pittsburgh.

Almost tip-off
Though Christmas is still 19 days away, TigerBlog spots at least one red Santa hat and a fellow in full Santa costume under the basket near the Princeton bench. In a pre-game stunt TigerBlog has never seen anything quite like, the campus ROTC delivers the game ball by sending about a half-dozen camouflaged "snipers" (dummy weapons, of course) to secure the court, while another slides down a rope from the ceiling with the game ball. It must be a lucky game ball, because St. Bonaventure wins the tip before giving it away on a travel.

2 minutes to tip-off
Quite an entrance for St. Bonaventure's players, through a tunnel of cheerleaders and dance team members, led by their wolf mascot.

6 minutes to tip-off
St. Bonaventure's court is named for its most famous basketball alumnus, Bob Lanier, who played most of his NBA career for the Detroit Pistons in the 1970s. Since that was before TigerBlog's time, TigerBlog best remembers Bob Lanier from his mention in the movie Airplane when a defensive Kareem Abdul-Jabbar asks the youngster in the cockpit if he thinks it's easy to drag (Bill) Walton and (Bob) Lanier up and down the court. Walton, of course, is the proud parent of Princeton grad Nate Walton '01.

8 minutes to tip-off
The arena is beginning to fill in. The students appear to have their run of half the lower level... coincidentally or not, the half opposite the Princeton bench.

10 minutes to tip-off
Princeton's five starters are the same for the sixth straight game to start the season, with Pawel Buczak, Doug Davis, Kareem Maddox, Patrick Saunders and Jason Briggs. Princeton also started last season with the same five in 12 straight games.

28 minutes to tip-off
The Tigers re-take the floor for some shooting and passing warmups, drawing mild jeers from the Wolf Pack. A 15-piece band, all of whom look to be alumni age, begins to play.

40 minutes to tip-off
TigerBlog zips back across the continent to Olean, N.Y., where the Tiger men's basketball team will meet the St. Bonaventure Bonnies on their home floor for the first time. While it was sunny in California, flurries are the order of the day in western New York. St. Bonaventure has averaged 5,000 fans for its first two games of the season in its home arena, the Reilly Center, which should feel like a sellout if a similar crowd shows today. About 50 "Wolf Pack" members are already in the student section, which runs the length of the floor opposite the benches.

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