Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Brown Bears 102 at Princeton Tigers 100 (OT, NCAA Basketball, Ivy League) - February 3, 2018


Over the past couple of years, I'd been to Princeton University for football, hockey, and even soccer, but had yet to add basketball to the list. I really wanted a doubleheader with another sport to make the 90-minute trip worthwhile, but the schedule maker did not cooperate, so I finally bit the bullet and went last Saturday to see the Tigers host the Brown Bears in Ivy League action.



Princeton's hoops home is Jadwin Gymnasium, named for Leander Stockwell Jadiwn, a track athlete who died in an automobile accident in 1929, a year after graduation. His mother left a gift to the university upon her death in 1965, and some of this money was used to build the gym, which opened in 1969. It is located on the east side of campus, just south of the football stadium and a short walk from the train terminus. Pick up your tickets at the box office to the left of the main doors, with all seats going for $15. You can save a couple of bucks if you buy online in advance.



Once you enter, you might be surprised by the amount of trophies and awards on display here. Princeton has a long and storied athletics history, including Dick Kazmaier, a Heisman winner back in 1951, whose trophy is on display just inside the main entrance.



Kazmaier wore #42, as did basketballer (and future Senator) Bill Bradley and that number has been retired across all sports, with an informative display describing the achievements of both athletes.



There is quite a lot of history on display here from all sports, including rowing, which is an activity you rarely hear about at the college level.



Make sure to check out the stairwells to get to the upper balcony, as there are more photos and displays to see there.



As you walk up, you can stop at the mezzanine level and look over the side into the main lobby below. Note the banners celebrating all the sports above the doors.



The building itself is quite large and has a long curved roof, which consists of three interlocking shells. It is the middle shell that is visible in the photos above and below.



There are three seating areas, with the benches closest to the court known as North, South, East, and West. Above the north side is a grandstand area with balcony and above upper balcony seats. Note that the upper balcony, shown above, is not sold for most games. Below is a shot of the south side, with the east side to the left, taken from the walkway between the balcony and upper balcony. Beyond the south stands is a large running track along with space for other field events. The large open space does make it difficult to generate a lot of noise here, particularly when compared to other, much smaller gyms.



Each seating area starts from section 1, so you have to specify what side you want to sit in when at the box office. I ended up with a seat in South 8, but found it much more roomier in the balcony and stayed there.



There are several banners highlighting the Tigers impressive accomplishments over the years, which includes over 200 national titles, though mostly in sports that get no coverage. Basketball did reach the Final Four in 1965, losing to Michigan, while Bradley was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.



Bradley has his own separate banner, as does Pete Carril, who coached here for 30 seasons. You can see the third part of the roof in the photo below.



Overall, Jadwin Gymnasium is an impressive venue with a lot to see for those who enjoy reading about the program's history. It is true that atmosphere suffers a bit as the court is such a small part of the facility, but that hasn't hurt the team who performs quite well at home. If you enjoy mid-major hoops, a trip to Princeton is well worth your while.

The Game

Both the Bears and Tigers had played overtime games the night before, with Brown losing to Penn while Princeton had defeated Yale. Neither team seemed tired however, and they played each other evenly for the first half, with 12 lead changes and no lead larger than 6 points as the half ended 49-49. The second stanza saw Princeton take several small leads, but Brown continued to tie the game, though they never regained the lead. Down 4 with 36 seconds left, Desmond Cambridge (why is he not at Harvard?) hit a 3 for Brown, and when Amir Bell missed one of two free throws for Princeton, the Bears had a chance to tie. Princeton fouled for some unknown reason, and Cambridge sank both stripe shots to send us to overtime.

The teams remained close throughout the extra period, and with 15 seconds left, Princeton's Myles Stephens drained two free throws to give the Tigers a 100-98 lead and the Tiger defense looked stout as the Bears brought the ball down. That didn't stop Cambridge from launching a desperate three that surprised everyone by going in, and the Tigers were suddenly down a point with just 5 seconds to go. After a timeout to build excitement, they turned the ball over immediately and had to foul with 2 seconds on the clock. Brown's Brandon Anderson made one FT and Princeton failed to do anything, falling 102-100 in a highly entertaining affair.



As you can tell by the high score, this was an excellent shooting game by both teams. Brown shot 58% (62% from three-point land) while Princeton was no slouch at 55% (but "only" 50% from distance). Cambridge led all scorers with 32 points and 9 rebounds.

Notes

This was the 68th meeting between the two schools at Princeton and only the 6th time that Brown has won.

Princeton is the first U.S.-based school at which I have seen four venues and four sports and I could still return to see baseball and complete the five main college sports.

Best,

Sean

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