Princeton Steamrolled by Duke, 101-50
The Princeton Tigers fell 101-50 on the road in Durham, North Carolina Tuesday night as they were overpowered by a more athletic and physical number two ranked Duke Blue Devils team.
Princeton began the game red-hot heading into the first media timeout, jumping out to a 10-4 lead, largely in part to senior Myles Stephens, both offensively and defensively.
Matched up against freshman phenom Zion Williamson, Stephens forced a turnover and smothered a pair of rebounds while scoring six points in the opening five minutes and change.
Ryan Schwieger kept the fire going for the Tigers out of the timeout with a deep three-pointer, helping to maintain the lead for Princeton.
The lack of size at Mitch Henderson’s disposal quickly became evident after giving six foot-nine center Richmond Aririguzoh a breather.
In his absence, Duke was afforded the ability to get to the basket at will, cutting into Princeton’s lead and wearing them out defensively.
Star guard Devin Cannady looked to be a shadow of his usual self in the early goings.
Cannady, one of the country’s elite shooters from distance, failed to convert on both of his shots from beyond the arc— including a shot that failed to make contact with any part of the rim, much to the delight of Duke’s Cameron Crazies.
Mitch Henderson could do nothing but watch on as his Tiger’s lead dwindled deep into the first period.
With no big man on the court for the Tigers, the hosts were able to work the ball from the inside post out to the wings. Sophomore guard Alex O’Connell knocked down a pair of threes, while Williamson bullied the undersized Tigers with an “and-one” that maybe only the man dubbed as the next LeBron James could finish.
At halftime Princeton maintained a slight edge in shooting percentage but the Blue Devils dominated the glass, out rebounding the Tigers 23-11, including 10 offensive boards that led to a 20-10 advantage on points scored in the paint.
Despite the rebounding struggles, Princeton held their own on defense. Stephens and Cannady combined for five steals– five of the seven turnovers for Duke in the first twenty minutes of play.
Unfortunately for the Tigers was the fact that they committed an uncharacteristic 10 turnovers of their own, most of which contributioning to Duke points.
Any bit of confidence Princeton had gained through their first half performance was immediately decimated.
An authoritative dunk by the highly touted Canadian freshman Barrett put the exclamation point on a 9-2 run out of the gates for Duke in the second half.
Coach K’s number two ranked team appeared to crank it up a notch in the second half, doubling their lead in less than five minutes while looking like the well oiled machine every team, coach, and AP Poll member knows them to be.
Duke went on to score an astonishing 62 second half points to cap off the rout of the Tigers.
RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson led the way for the Blue Devils with 27 and 17 points, respectively, despite being rested for the better part of the second half.
Myles Stephens was the only Tiger to hit double digits in the scoring column with a season high 19 points.
Princeton stays on the road for a contest against Lafayette on Friday before returning home after the new year to open Ivy League play.
Inability to score
Scoring an average of just over 50 points per contest, the Tigers remain one of the lowest scoring offenses in the Ivy League. Senior guards Cannady and Stephens account for over 50% of the team’s scoring output.
Out of conference struggles
In the Mitch Henderson era of Princeton basketball the Tigers have historically struggled against non Ivy League opponents and tonight was no exception. After tonight’s loss, the Tigers fall to 5-5 on the season.
Addition of Jaelin Llewellyn
Freshman guard Jaelin Llewellyn has been a revelation for Princeton since making his debut last week against Saint John’s. His ability to handle the ball allows fellow guard Devin Cannady the ability to work off the ball and get into positions to shoot that he likes. Llewellyn’s performances against St. John’s and Iona earned him Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors.
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