Note: With so many games in the area on Saturday I obviously couldn’t be everywhere. Here’s a guest post from my brother, Matt Templon, who was at Jadwin on Saturday evening to watch the Tigers take down Bucknell.
My love of college basketball started in Jadwin Gymnasium at a young age. Growing up my family had season tickets to Princeton University each year. I looked forward to the opening game and seeing the Tigers play again with their mesmerizing offense under the direction of Pete Carril. I longed for those Ivy weekends where two foes would come and be run over by the powerful Tigers, and intimidated by the rambunctious students.
Since my youthful days of watching Princeton I have grown-up and gone on to “big-time” college basketball at Marquette. While I may have joined the Big East (originally Conference USA), I never lost my passion for Princeton basketball and that warm fuzzy feeling I get when sitting in those black and orange seats once again. Therefore, when I had the chance to go see a childhood legend, Mitch Henderson, lead the Tigers with my family, I jumped at the chance.
A team with only one loss on the season, Bucknell was looking to come into Princeton and chalk-up another easy win on their record. Early though Jadwin sounded like it was located in Lewisburg, PA early on, the Tigers ultimately put on a show for the crowd.
Throughout the game was back-and-forth through the first half. The Tigers emerged with a slim 33-30 lead after 20 minutes of play. During the first half the Princeton freshman Hans Brase was able to contain 6’11” Bison senior center Mike Muscala, limiting him to only three points.
The second started out much like the first as each team quickly scored. Princeton increased their lead to 14 points 6:31 remaining thanks to strong three-point shooting. From there the Tigers did not look back.
Bucknell kept trying to feed Muscala on the blocks hoping to overpower the Tigers. However, senior forward Ian Hummer had other ideas. Like his teammate Brase had done in the first half, Hummer was able to stifle Muscala’s dominance with a flurry of fouls, and electrifying blocks that pleased the crowd.
Down 12 points with 2:45 remaining, desperate Bucknell started to foul. Along with the fouls came a full-court press. While it frustrated the Princeton players, they broke it numerous times and didn’t turn the ball over. After a period of many fouls, that placed each team in double-bonus situations, Princeton emerged the victor, 79-67.
Coming off a win over Rider just two days earlier, Princeton looked confident. Their defensive schemes were effective, and when open shots presented themselves, they took them. This has been a team that has shown signs of promise throughout the young season, but also have been tested in some close games. Finally the team seems to be coming together. This comes at a good time, and hopefully they don’t forget this over break, as there is no letting up coming back after the new year. In a shake-up from the normal cadence of the Ivy schedule, Princeton will start its conference play with a very familiar foe, Penn.
On the other hand, the team that came into the game with only one loss, Bucknell, looked out of their element. They could not get into a game plan or rhythm, and constantly looked unsure of what they were trying to accomplish. The Bison looked as though they were playing five different games of 1-v-1 not looking, moving or helping each other. Not until late in the game did they make a conscience decision to go to Muscala, though he ended up with 17 points. Things don’t get easier for the Bison either. They face Loyola (Md.), Cornell and Missouri before beginning Patriot League play.