SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Princeton 74 St. Joe's 65

Last week I wrote that the Princeton Tigers came out in slow motion against Siena. Today, they came out on fire against the St. Joe's Hawks, almost blowing them out of the building in the first half. To the Hawks' credit, they didn't quit (it could have been that the Hawks' coach, Phil Martelli, threatened to have them walk the 45 miles or so back to Hawk Hill if they didn't show a better effort in the second half), and the Tigers prevailed, 74-65 behind a balanced scoring attack that had five Tigers in double figures.

A few observations:

1. The Hawks are young. They started 3 freshmen, 1 sophomore and 1 senior.

2. Patrick Saunders was almost a 1-man demotivating force. The Tigers' junior tri-captain hit 3 threes early in the game, and the Hawks had no answer for him.

3. St. Joe's deployed an effective press in the second half. It was the first time they used it all year, and the Tigers struggled with it early before figuring out a way to break it. It was good for the Tiger guards to see a press, and it was even better to see them solve it.

4. The St. Joe's Hawk Mascot Never Stops Flapping His Wings. To St. Joe's fans and alums, this tenet is virtually an amendment to the Constitution. My guess is that if the Hawk stopped -- for whatever reason -- the faculty senate at St. Joe's would be called into an emergency session, not to mention the Jesuit fathers that run the school. For the uninitiated, Hawk fans are wont to say "The Hawk shall never die," and they mean it.

5. Tigers' frosh guard Chris Clement looks to be pretty athletic. Clement got some minutes today and showed some skills out there. Of the first four guys off the bench, two are freshmen and one is a sophomore. The other fellow? Senior forward and 6th man extraordinaire Kareem Maddox.

6. Kareem Maddox. He had a blocked shot today, and, after he did so, the guys I was sitting with agreed that it's nice to have a big guy named Kareem blocking shots for you. Remember, the last team that had a big guy named Kareem doing the same thing fared pretty well and had some amazing seasons.

7. Ian Hummer is a nice player to have against athletic, aggressively defending teams. He was the Tigers' star today. Sure, he was their leading score, but he attacked the hoop and made smart plays.

8. The Tigers can beat you in many different ways. They also don't rely on the same guy each game to win the game for the team. That bodes well for the team as they move toward the Ivy season.

All in all, another solid performance. This team is meshing well, and they're fun to watch.

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