FACTS & STATS: Site: Jadwin Gymnasium (6,854) -- Princeton, New Jersey. Television: None. Home Record: Northeastern 1-0, Princeton 0-0. Away Record: Northeastern 0-0, Princeton 1-0. Neutral Record: Northeastern 0-0, Princeton 0-0. Conference Record: Northeastern 0-0, Princeton 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 2-2.
GAME NOTES: After winning their season opener on the road, the Princeton Tigers will play their first home game of the season on Tuesday night as they entertain the Northeastern Huskies.
Northeastern began its 93rd season at home on Friday and was able to erase a 10-point, first-half deficit to defeat Boston University in a nail-biter, 65-64. A win tonight would give the Huskies their second 2-0 start in three years, a feat they haven't accomplished since the mid-1980s.
Princeton was also put to the test in its opener by going up to Buffalo and handing the Bulls a 57-53 defeat. The Tigers have won their lidlifter in three of the past four season, but they have not started 2-0 since the 2009-10 season.
These two teams have faced off against one another in each of the past two seasons, with Princeton claiming victory each time, and in the process evening out the all-time series at 2-2.
Northeastern and Boston University exchanged the lead several times in the second half on Friday night, but it was the Huskies that delivered the final blow as Demetrius Pollard drilled a three-pointer with just one second remaining to lift them to victory. The last shot was especially dramatic considering that up until that moment the Huskies had made just 2-of-14 shots from beyond the arc, and that one bucket accounted for 75 percent of Pollard's scoring production (four points). For the seventh straight game, Joel Smith tallied double figures in points as he finished with a game-high 20 while also adding five assist and five rebounds. Reggie Spencer was in mid-season form, shooting 7-of-9 from the field for 18 points while ripping down seven boards and blocking a pair of shots. Quincy Ford (11 points, nine rebounds) just missed his third career double-double. The Huskies got to the foul line early and often, connecting on 20-of-29 attempts.
It was not a pretty night shooting for Princeton (19-of-55, .345), but a return to the lineup by one of its prized forwards provided enough energy for the team to pull out a win. Will Barrett injured his foot last November and was lost for the remainder of the season, but he came back with a vengeance in the opener by putting up a career-high 20 points to go along with nine rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Barrett also hit a clutch three-pointer late in the game to help seal Princeton's fate. Ian Hummer, a First Team All- Ivy League selection and an early favorite for the league's Player of the Year, did not get off to the start he was hoping for, as he shot just 5-of-14 from the field for 12 points. He was able to make up for his poor shooting in other areas however with seven assists, six rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Clay Wilson (11 points) came off the bench to drill three treys. The Tigers moved the ball well, as they recorded 17 assists on their 19 made baskets.
Princeton was already considered to be the favorite in the Ivy League, but if Barrett can continue to emerge as a top scoring threat, it can start to make waves on a national level. Northeastern has some talented playmakers, but it won't be enough to topple the Tigers on the road.