With the 2015 Princeton baseball team set to begin its Ivy League schedule this weekend, we turn back the clock to check out a pair of Tiger teams from the illustrious 150-year history of the “Nassau Nine.”
Above, the 1870 Tigers hold a special distinction as the first Princeton team to beat Yale. They topped the Elis in New Haven, 26-15, in a game that — despite the high score — lasted just over two hours, according to the official boxscore.
Seventy-one years later, the 1941 Tigers duplicated the 1870 poses in a photo for PAW. The ’41 squad also had Yale’s number, beating the rival Elis twice en route to Princeton’s first Eastern Intercollegiate Baseball League championship.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver told a Princeton audience that when a handful of the league’s stars wore “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts during warm-ups last year, following a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner, he appreciated their effort to express their point of view.
“Derrick Rose, I think, was the first player to wear the T-shirt,” Silver said. “Credit to him — he knew exactly what he was doing. He knew how much more effective that would be than making a statement to a reporter after a game.” But Silver cautioned that too many political statements on the court would be “a disservice to the fans, who come to see a basketball game.”
Steve Mills ’81, general manager of the New York Knicks, and Craig Robinson ’83, an ESPN commentator and former college coach, joined Silver for a March 24 discussion of “Political Expression and Activism in Today’s NBA,” moderated by Professor Eddie Glaude *97. The event was sponsored by the Center for African American Studies and the Department of Athletics. Continue reading
Blake Dietrick ’15 scored 26 points, but the Tigers couldn’t keep pace with the host Terrapins. (Beverly Schaefer)
Princeton women’s basketball faced an unenviable challenge in its second-round NCAA Tournament game: a matchup against No. 4 Maryland on its home floor, where the Terrapins have not lost in nearly 14 months.
For the first 20 minutes, the Tigers were up to the task, keeping pace with a stellar offensive performance, particularly in the paint. Maryland led by just four at halftime, 42-38.
But after the break, Princeton’s fortunes turned. In one stretch, the Tigers missed six shots in a row while the Terrapins made all five of their attempts — plus two free-throws — and jumped ahead by 17.
Point guard Blake Dietrick ’15 did her best to will the Tigers back into contention, scoring 17 of her team-high 26 points after her team fell behind by double digits. But Maryland’s hot shooting never cooled. Princeton lost for the first time this season, 85-70. Continue reading
Annie Tarakchian ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)
Against Wisconsin-Green Bay March 21, the undefeated Princeton women’s basketball team found itself in an unusual position, trailing at halftime for the first time since early November.
But after intermission, the Tigers reasserted themselves inside, led by 14 second-half points by Annie Tarakchian ’16 and 13 from Alex Wheatley ’16, and earned an 80-70 win, the first NCAA Tournament victory in program history.
Princeton’s defense improved in the second half, pushing Green Bay out to the perimeter, where the Phoenix settled for 3-point attempts. Midway through the second half, Princeton opened up a 10-point lead and held the Green Bay at arm’s length for the next eight minutes. The Phoenix cut the lead to four with 2:14 remaining. Wheatley then upped the lead to six with a layup, and the Tigers forced two Green Bay turnovers in the final two minutes. Continue reading
For Princeton seniors beginning the final sprint to their thesis deadlines, this desktop scene from 1940 may look somewhat familiar (with a different keyboard, of course, and some changes to the peripheral refuse).
As student columnist Jill Smolowe ’77 once wrote in PAW, the thesis “starts as a distant and incomprehensible word your freshman year, creeping up silently through the middle-class years, only to pounce with a fierce vengeance in the autumn of your senior year.” By the time the second semester arrives, it can seem all-consuming: “Your well-being and your thesis become synonymous.”
Of course, it’s not all work and no play — or at least it wasn’t for another student columnist, Richard Kluger ’56, who explained the secret to a strong senior year: “[G]ive the impression of feverish, utterly devoted academic activity probing into realms never before trammeled by white bucks while, at the same time, maintaining a well-rounded schedule for goodfellowship and gaiety.” Continue reading
Nick Guthe ’91, left, with Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt ’81, one of several Princeton basketball alumni featured in The Billion Dollar Game. (Courtesy Nick Guthe)
With the cameras rolling at Jadwin Gym last May, Nick Guthe ’91 set to work solving a Princeton basketball mystery: In 1989, when the Tiger men were preparing for their showdown with top-seeded Georgetown, who came up with the plan to go the barbershop for Hoosiers-style buzzcuts?
“Whose idea was it?” Guthe asked, sounding faintly like Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men. “Whose idea was it?”
Under the bright lights, Jerry Doyle ’91, a starting guard for the ’89 team, grudgingly admitted the idea was his. When the crew paused to switch tapes, Doyle, a Duke Law grad, smiled and shook his head. “You should be a prosecutor,” he said.
Filmmaker suits Guthe just fine. A writer and director with a background in TV and movies, Guthe returned to Princeton to work on his first documentary, a short film titled The Billion Dollar Game, which premiered on ESPN’s Grantland.com today.
The film, which features Hall of Fame coach Pete Carril and several Princeton basketball alumni, explores Princeton’s thrilling NCAA Tournament loss to Georgetown and its effect on the sport’s future. The Tigers’ near miss helped to preserve automatic tournament bids for small-conference teams. It also proved compelling to executives at CBS, the network that subsequently paid $1 billion for the tournament’s exclusive broadcasting rights and expanded coverage to include all first-round games. “It really changed the way that people consume college basketball,” Guthe said. Continue reading