Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Plenty Of Points

One day back in 1996, then-Princeton men's basketball coach Bill Carmody was talking about his team's Division III opponent, which would be coming up in a few weeks after exam break.

The opponent was Hamilton, and the team had gotten off to a good start, going unbeaten through seven games, and Carmody was talking about how tough it was going to be to play them later on. TigerBlog was keeping close tabs, waiting to point out when Hamilton finally lost, which happened in Game 8.

It led to this actual conversation:

TB: "Hamilton lost."
BC: "Who beat them?"
TB: "SUNY-Oneonta."
BC: "Home or away?"
TB: "At Oneonta."
BC: "You're not going to win there."

Anyway, the final was Princeton 90, Hamilton 48. Along with the 90-49 win over Catholic three years later, it marked the most points a Princeton team under Carmody ever scored in a game. For Division I purposes, Carmody's teams never scored more than 88.

As for John Thompson, his high score in four years with the Tigers was 99, scored against another Division III opponent, Ursinus. TB remembers being glad that Princeton didn't reach triple figures, something that hasn't happened in a Princeton game since the Tigers scored 108 against Yale on Feb. 26, 1971; TB didn't want to see it happen again against a D-III team.

As for a Division I opponent, Thompson reached as high as 89, in an 89-75 win at Lafayette in a 2002 game that TB 1) was at and 2) has no memory of.

Last night, in back-to-back games on TV, Carmody's current team (Northwestern) and Thompson's current team (Georgetown) both beat their Princeton highs. Northwestern took care of Georgia Tech 91-71, while No. 14 Georgetown had a more dramatic night in a 111-102 win over No. 8 Missouri.

Georgetown and Northwestern both remained undefeated on the year. Georgetown has itself a big signature win in its pocket for the rest of the year for NCAA tournament purposes; Carmody is trying to get Northwestern to the NCAA tournament for the first time ever.

In case you didn't stay up, Georgetown's win was not unlike Princeton's win over Siena Sunday in that it looked all the world like the Hoyas were done before Chris Wright's three-pointer just before the buzzer tied it and forced OT, which Georgetown then dominated.

In fact, the games were so similar that both Princeton and Georgetown outscored their opponents 17-8 in the OT.

The Hoyas had some great numbers along the way, shooting 15 for 32 from three-point range and 18 for 18 from the foul line for the night.

While Georgetown and Northwestern were winning last night, Princeton was putting away Lafayette, scoring in comparison to the others a paltry 82 points in the 82-64 win. Ian Hummer - a rising star, by the way - scored 22 points, while Dan Mavraides had 17 and Douglas Davis had 16.

The Tigers continue to be a very entertaining team in the early going. So does the other Princeton basketball team, the women's team, who is a very, very impressive 3-2 through five games.

Princeton opened at home with a 41-point win over FDU, who has since won three of four, including double figure wins over Columbia and Rider.

After that, it was a thrilling one-point loss to national power Rutgers, a game that went to the final buzzer. Princeton rebounded to knock off Lehigh, the defending Patriot League champ, by 17, ending the Mountain Hawks 33-game home winning streak.

That was followed by a win over USC, who had beaten Gonzaga, Georgia and Long Beach State and another close loss against a national power, this time by six at Vanderbilt.

Tonight Princeton is at Delaware in a game that could make the casual fan say "so what," but this is a great matchup. Delaware is 5-0 and led by Elena Delle Donne, who averages 27.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Delle Donne, who stands 6-5, was originally going to play at UConn before she transferred to Delaware and played volleyball for one year before returning to basketball.

Among Delaware's five wins are an 18-point decision over Yale. Delaware has also beaten Villanova, La Salle, St. Francis (Pa.) and UMBC.

Princeton defeated Delaware 68-59 a year ago at Jadwin, when Della Donne scored 35 points.

The teams are home Sunday in a doubleheader, with the women against Rider at 2 and the men against St. Joe's at 5.

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