Yale (14-10) at Princeton (15-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, February 28, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Jadwin Gymnasium (6,854) -- Princeton, New Jersey. Television: None. Home Record: Yale 8-2, Princeton 8-2. Away Record: Yale 5-8, Princeton 6-5. Neutral Record: Yale 1-0, Princeton 1-1. Conference Record: Yale 8-2, Princeton 3-6. Series Record: Princeton leads, 144-84.
GAME NOTES: The Princeton Tigers will continue their four-game homestand at Jadwin Gymnasium on Friday night when the Yale Bulldogs come to town for an Ivy League showdown.
Yale, which is 14-10 overall this season, was tied for first place in the league prior to its most recent loss at Columbia on Sunday (62-46), which dropped it to 8-2 in-conference, a game behind Harvard. The good news for the Bulldogs is that they still control their own destiny for the league crown, as they have a win in hand over Harvard (74-67 on Feb. 8) and one more matchup with the Crimson on tap for March 7.
Princeton actually owns a better record on the campaign than Yale at 15-8, but things have not gone according to plan in league play at just 3-6. The Tigers appeared to have turned the corner with wins in three of four prior to their home loss to Harvard last Saturday, 59-47, as they fell to 8-2 at Jadwin Gymnasium.
Yale has beaten Princeton on three straight occasions, including a dramatic 66-65 final two weeks ago at home, but the Tigers still have a comfortable 144-84 lead in the all-time series.
The Bulldogs fell flat from the very start of their most recent game, shooting just 36.4 percent from the field and a dreadful 9-of-22 at the free-throw line as they suffered the 16-point defeat in their lowest-scoring contest of the season. Armani Cotton was one of the few bright spots in the setback with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Justin Sears puts up 13 points and eight boards but was a mere 7-of-14 shooting at the stripe.
Yale's offense has been modest at best this season, as it shoots just 42.8 percent from the field for 67.9 ppg, but it has emerged as one of the Ivy League's best thanks to a strong defense, which allows just 66.4 ppg on 43.4 percent shooting. It also earns positive margins in both the rebounding (+4.0) and turnover (+0.2) battles. Sears is a sturdy presence in the paint with 15.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg and 1.8 bpg. Javier Duren (12.6 ppg) and Cotton (9.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg) are also solid scorers but neither make good on greater than 40 percent of their field-goal tries.
The Tigers appeared on their way to knocking off the first-place Crimson in their most recent contest, but after shooting 40 percent from the field in the first half, they regressed to a mere 26.1 percent in the second stanza as they fell by eight points. They also had an off night from the foul line (3-of-10) and committed a game-high 14 turnovers. T.J. Bray shot just 6-of-15 from the field but made four 3-pointers and finished with 17 points, six rebounds and three steals. Spencer Weisz added 12 points and seven boards to the losing effort.
Princeton's year-to-date stats appear much better than a team that's buried in the league standings, as it owns a +5.7 scoring margin, knocks down 9.6 3- pointers per game (fourth in the nation) and boasts an impressive free-throw percentage (.721). Bray is one of the league's best guards with 17.6 ppg on excellent percentages from the field (.551), 3-point range (.419) and the foul line (.804) while adding more than five assists per game as well. Hans Brase (11.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg), Will Barrett (10.7 ppg) and Weisz (9.4) have also been productive.
Luck has not been on Princeton's side this season, as three of its six league losses have come by a combined five points. Yale's hot streak came to a halt its last time out, and it'll have a difficult time getting back on track against a tough Tigers squad.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Princeton 67, Yale 66
02/28 10:32:25 ET