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Princeton wins 5th straight

Princeton is shooting 45.2 percent from the field so far this season while holding its opponents to a 42.0 shooting percentage.

Princeton is shooting 45.2 percent from the field so far this season while holding its opponents to a 42.0 shooting percentage.

The men’s basketball team stormed past Fairleigh Dickinson Saturday, continuing its best start since the 1997-98 season. The Tigers (6-1) have not lost since they fell to Butler by three on Nov. 16.

Junior forward Denton Koon led Princeton with 18 points on the day, unsurprising given that he is currently the team’s scoring leader. A pleasant surprise for Princeton, however, has been freshman forward Spencer Weisz’s quick adjustment to the college game. The rookie continued to impress Friday night in Jadwin Gymnasium, nearly matching Koon with a career-high 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Though the Knights (3-8) came into Jadwin on a slump, they hung with the Tigers for much of the first half. The last time they led was with just under five minutes to go in the half, after which Princeton went on a 12-3 run. The Tigers’ run began with layup from freshman forward Pete Miller and a Koon three-pointer, after which Weisz capitalized on his own offensive rebound. As they continued to rack up points, they tightened their defense, grabbing five defensive rebounds and getting a steal from senior guard Chris Clement during the stretch, which closed the first half with Princeton up 36-28.

The Tigers opened the second half with a 9-0 run, and from that point, the rout was on, as they led by double digits for the rest of the contest.

The differential was due largely to Princeton’s defense in the second half. The Knights shot a respectable 45.8 percent from the floor in the first half but shot just under 30 percent in the second. They sank one of their three attempted three-pointers in the second period. The Tigers, meanwhile, shot slightly better as the game went on, making 46.7 percent of their shots in the second half and sinking 42.9 percent of their tries from beyond the arc.

Senior forward Will Barrett and junior guard Ben Hazel were both in the double digits with 11 points on the day, and they combined for 11 of the Tigers 28 defensive rebounds. Princeton owed many of its points to its offensive rebounding, as the Tigers notched 15 offensive boards to the Knights’ six and recorded 13 second-chance points while allowing Fairleigh Dickinson none in the first half.

Now on their longest winning streak since early February of last year, the Tigers will head into a tough road stretch of their schedule. They will stay relatively close to Princeton as they travel to Rutgers on Wednesday and Penn State on Saturday, but over break they will fly west for the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic in Las Vegas from Dec. 20 to 21. The Tigers currently have the second-best record in the Ivy League, behind 9-1 Harvard.

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