SportsProf

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Princeton-Dartmouth

I attended the Princeton-Dartmouth game at Jadwin Gym last night. The highlight of the evening was the dedication of the basketball court in honor of legendary coach Pete Carril. Unfortunately, the Tigers couldn't hold a double-digit first-half lead and lost by a point to the visiting Big Green. Someone apparently forgot to tell the varsity that you're supposed to win the game on a night you make a dedication.

Coach Carril was gracious in his remarks, apologizing (sort of) for the brutality he inflicted upon his players, and being gracious, thoughtful and humorous (if at times inaudible) about his time at Princeton. There are now two large decals on the floor that say "Carril Court", as well as two felt banners that hang about the south stands, one commemorating Carril's accomplishments, the other a likeness of Coach Carril. Remarking on the floor decals and the banners, Carril noted that on the night they honored him, "I can be stepped on. . . and I've been hung." I'm not capturing the remarks totally correctly, but Coach Carril's timing was perfect, as was the humor.

Dozens of former players were in attendance, including Bill Bradley and Brian Taylor, and from all reports there was a fun post-game celebration honoring Coach Carril at Princeton's boat house.

As for the game, the Tigers didn't defend well and didn't execute well on offense. On the defensive side, Dartmouth scored too many easy, inside baskets, and looked more athletic and quicker than the Tigers in the process. On the offensive side, Princeton couldn't get any rhythm going. They scored many easy inside baskets early and then persisted in trying to work a pick and roll that Dartmouth figured out and defended well by dropping a man down to cover the screener (usually Princeton's center). In any event, on way too many occasions the Tigers passed the ball on the perimeter only to come up with an ill-crafted shot with time winding down on the shot clock. Dartmouth fought valiantly, played tougher down the stretch, and prevailed by a point. It was a well-fought contest, but Princeton will need a few more athletes to get to the top of the Ivies.

All in all, a fun night with respect to the dedication, but a disappointing night on the hardwood for the varsity.

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