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Princeton vs. Liberty Game Recap: Tigers Survive Dry Spells

Princeton didn't look themselves as Liberty pushed the Tigers to the brink. The tough times just didn't last long enough to totally undo the Ivy contenders.

Gregory Shamus

Princeton executes perfectly. They make the pass, they pressure on defense. They don't turn the ball over and they get open shots.

But what if one of those things isn't working to perfection? What if there are long dry spells where the shots don't fall? What happens to the Tigers then?

It almost ended in a loss for Princeton on Saturday at Liberty. The Tigers survived times when they couldn't find the bottom of the net, and came away with an 80-74 win.

It wasn't as if Princeton didn't do anything well. They still held onto the ball better than Liberty. And they still converted those turnovers they created into points.

But the defense wasn't there. The Tigers gave up 53.1 percent shooting, and allowed Liberty to live behind the arc, hitting 10 of 20 threes. It was almost the undoing for the team that looks to be able to possibly challenge Harvard in the Ivy League.

There were long stretches where Princeton was just unable to score, and with the lack of defense, the Flames kept coming back on them again and again.

John-Caleb Sanders finished with 25 points and five assists in the loss. Tomasz Gielo added 20 points and seven rebounds, as he was constantly able to get to the hoop against the interior defense of the Tigers.

The key was that the Tigers didn't get cold enough for long enough for the Flames to get out of reach. Princeton came back led by T.J. Bray who finished with 24 points.

The dry spells are concerning though for Princeton. The Flames are not the toughest defensive team in the country, and Princeton was missing bunnies, and not cleaning the glass on the offensive end. They looked beatable, and that won't help when they go into face some of the stifling pressure defenses in the Ivy.