Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Sowers And Brown

Being the men's lacrosse contact when Michael Sowers plays has to be sort of like what it was to be the men's basketball contact when Bill Bradley played.

It's a pretty good comparison, minus, of course, the blog, the social media, the website and all that.

Bradley did to the men's basketball record book 55 years ago what Sowers is doing to the men's lacrosse record book now. Like Bradley, Sowers broke the existing school scoring record as a junior, which means that every point of their senior years made their records that much harder to break.

Bradley scored 2,503 points (keep in mind, he did this in three years with no three-point shot), and the next best total in program history is 1,625, scored by Ian Hummer. That means that Bradley scored 1.54 times as many points as anyone who has ever played at Princeton.

The old record at Princeton in men's lacrosse was 247 points, set by Hall-of-Famer Kevin Lowe. Sowers would have to get to 380 points to reach the same ratio as Bradley, and it's unlikely he'll get quite that far.

On the other hand, if he keeps up at his current pace, he will. Sowers is leading Division I averaging 11 points per game (that would rank 19th in the Ivy League in points per game in men's basketball, by the way). If he keeps going at that rate, he'd get past 380.

That, of course, is asking a lot. No matter what, though, it's hard to imagine someone coming along to ever break Sowers' records at Princeton. Who knows? Maybe it can be done. Maybe it will be done. Maybe some day someone will beat Bradley's records, for that matter.

It's just that in 55 years nobody has. And in 25 years, nobody came with 15 points of Lowe with the men's lacrosse team.

For now, here are a few Sowers notes:
* his 6.4 points per game are the second-most in Division I history, trailing only Siena's Tony Astertino's 6.47 (1978-81)
* he is currently 18th all-time in Division I history in total points
* he is currently 11th all-time in Division history in total assists
* he currently has 116 goals and 172 assists; only five other players in Division I history have ever finished their careers with that many of each
* with 12 more points he would become the 16th player in Division I history to reach 300 points; he has currently played 45 career games, while the average number of games played by the 15 in the 300-point club is 66.5

Those are all extraordinary.

Sowers has been amazing since Day 1 at Princeton. He's definitely upped his game this year.

Princeton, led by Sowers, has gone from unranked to the top 10, anywhere from fifth to tenth, depending on which poll you like. The Tigers, best of all, showed with Saturday's 16-12 win over Virginia that they are more than just a one-man show, with speed and depth on all sides of the field.

And for as great as Sowers has been, TigerBlog wants to make sure to mention Chris Brown, the junior who reached the 100-point mark for his career with four goals and an assist against UVa.

Brown has played 30 games in his Princeton career, and he has at least one goal in all 30. It's more than twice as long as any similar streak to start a career at Princeton, and he is the only junior or senior in the country who has at least one goal in every game.

Brown is now the second Princeton player to have a streak of at least 30 straight games with at least one goal. The record is 46, held by the great Chris Massey.

It's easy to be overshadowed by what Sowers is doing, but that wouldn't be fair to Brown, who is having an incredible career in his own right. 

The next challenge for Princeton is handling the success. Next up is Johns Hopkins, a team that can  beat any other team in the country. It should be a great one on Sherrerd Field Saturday at 1.

Princeton's goal is to get back to the postseason, both the Ivy and NCAA tournament varieties. The Tigers have clearly taken a huge step in that direction with the win over Virginia, but there is a very, very long way to go still.

The ride is going to be fun to watch.

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