By DUSTIN NILES
Layout & Design Editor
(HACKENSACK) – The Knights fell to Princeton 83- 76 at the Rothman Center, but the game was so much closer than the score indicated.
Just under eight minutes into the first half, the score was 23-6, and the Tigers had built a 17-point lead. FDU had been held at 6 points for nearly four minutes. The first half was all Princeton, shooting 18-28, compared to FDU’s 8-22. The Tigers also went 7-10 on three pointers, while the Knights missed all nine of their attempts.
The Knights’ stars were held in check by the Tigers defense in the first half. Junior guard Darnell Edge finished 2-3, freshman guard Jahlil Jenkins was held to 2-9, and junior forward Mike Holloway was held to a single missed shot, not including free throws. On the Princeton side, all but one of their players that saw time in the first half made at least half of their shots. Junior guard Devin Cannady was 5-7 in the paint and a perfect 5-5 on three pointers.
As time wound down in the second half, momentum built and it looked like maybe the Knights might pull it out. With just over six minutes left in the game, freshman forward Noah Morgan sunk a fantastic jumper to bring FDU within 14 points of Princeton, 59-73. The Knights followed it up with a 3-pointer by Jenkins with five and a half minutes left in the game. Next up were layups by Holloway and Anderson, and a 3-pointer by Edge. With just over two minutes left to play, the Knights were down just eight points, 69- 77. The Tigers ran down the shot clock to burn time, and after a turnover by Tigers junior guard Myles Stephens, the Knights were faced with a 6-point de cit with just under a minute remaining.
Morgan managed a steal from Cannady, and the ball made it’s way to Anderson, who missed a 3-pointer that was recovered by Holloway and put up for two to make it 77-73 with 31 seconds to go. This is where the comeback started to fall apart. Jenkins fouled, putting Tigers senior forward Mike LeBlanc to the line, where he nailed two shots, making the score 79-73 with 25 seconds to go, essentially putting the game out of reach. Holloway committed a turnover and Edge was fouled, putting LeBlanc to the line again and giving away two more points. A 3-pointer by Anderson with 14 seconds to go wouldn’t be enough, and the win slipped out of the Knights’ fingers, with a final score of 83-76.
The Tigers went 31-47 in eld goals and 9-16 in three pointers. Princeton was efficient at the line too, going 12-15. The Knights scored 31 points o of turnovers. They simply didn’t shoot as well as the Tigers, going 28- 56 in eld goals and 6-20 in 3-pointers, all of them coming in the second half. One place they did shine was at the foul line, where they went 14-15.
You certainly cannot fault the Knights on their resolve, down at one point by 27 points, and shrinking the de cit to as small as four points just before the end of the game. They took the Tigers by surprise, and their near-comeback is as much of a moral victory as you can ask for.
The men’s basketball team is in a string of road games, and return to the Rothman Center on Jan. 4 against Central Connecticut State University at 7 p.m.