Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Last Night, Tonight

TigerBlog did a whole season of podcasts with men's lacrosse coach Matt Madalon last spring and has now been doing them weekly with women's basketball coach Courtney Banghart since early November.

He did something on the most recent episode of "The Court Report" that he hadn't done before: He made a mistake and then started muttering to himself and then had to start over.

Okay, at least it was in the first minute.

His mistake was to refer to the Princeton-Rutgers women's basketball game as "tomorrow night." He actually should have said "tonight," since the game is tonight, at 6, in Piscataway. It's a matchup of two Top 20 RPI teams and should be a really good one.

Of course, TB and Banghart were recording it yesterday, at which point the game was tomorrow night. That's not the kind of mistake that TB makes too often.

It goes back to Day 1 in the newspaper business. It was nearly 35 years ago, when he covered the Pennington-Academy of the New Church football game. Pennington won 22-0 by the way.

Anyway, as TB began to write his first-ever story, it dawned on him that he had to write "yesterday's" win. The day always has to be written or spoken from the perspective of the person reading or hearing it.

TB once taped a halftime interview with the late St. Joe's men's basketball coach Jim Boyle. It was for Penn student radio, of all things.

Anyway, TB ended the interview by saying something along the lines of "the second half is coming up ..." when Boyle interrupted him and said "if it's halftime, what's the score?" Then he laughed and put his arm around TigerBlog. It was all in good fun.

The game tonight figures to be a good one. If you saw Princeton demolish Rutgers last year at Jadwin Gym 64-34, forget that. This is a rebuilt Rutgers team, one that is 10-2 and ranked 14th in the RPI. Princeton, at 6-2, is ranked 19th.

Tip is at 6. That's tonight. Not last night.

Last night (really, it was last night), the Princeton men's team played at home, something it won't do again until Jan. 12 against Cornell. Between now and then, Princeton will make what TB believes is the longest road trip in school history, with a 12-day run to California for two games and then Hawaii for three more.

Monmouth was 55-15 the last two years combined. Princeton and Monmouth were 50-14 between them last year.

The teams played an entertaining game at Jadwin, one that the Tigers would win 69-58. It was a weird game, one in which both teams had double digit leads and neither looked like it was going to completely take over.

Monmouth started on a 16-3 run. Princeton answered and finished the first half on a 28-10 run. Princeton built its own 13-point lead. Then Monmouth regrouped.

In fact, Monmouth, who would never lead in the second half, would twice cut it to one, and both times Myles Stephens (game-high 19) would answer with a three, including one that hit the rim, bounced up near the top of the three-point shot and then dropped straight back through the net.

It was still a two-point game at 60-58 with 2:50 left. From then on, Monmouth wouldn't score. Devin Cannady would.

First, Sebastian Much hit one of two foul shots. Then Cannady drained threes, including one from about five feet beyond the arc, to make it 67-58. Then it was a pair of Cannady foul shots, to 69-58. Then it was the buzzer.

Cannady had an interesting night. He didn't score in the first 14:07 of the first half but then had 10 by the break, including a driving layup that beat the buzzer. He didn't score in the first 18:20 of the second half but then scored eight more after that.

It was a good win for Princeton, which now hits the road for that 12-day trip. The first of the five games Princeton will play is Saturday at Cal-Poly.

Before the game last night, during pregame warmups, Cannady put on a dunk display that possibly could have won something on NBA all-star weekend. He bounced the ball off the court and dunked it. Threw it off the backboard and dunked it. Took an alley-oop pass and dunked it.

It was pretty impressive.

What he did in the game itself was a different kind of spectacular. He went all 40 minutes, and he looked like he could have gone 400 without getting tired. His energy drives everything that happens.

The Princeton team that played on Carril Court last night is the Princeton team that can go far in the Ivy League. It was a team that defended when it was most needed, didn't panic when things weren't going well, got major production from its stars and had others make big contributions as well.

All in all, it was a really encouraging night.

Last night, that is.

No comments: