Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 4
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
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ON THE MARK: Princeton University men’s basketball junior star Marcus Schroeder heads up the court last Sunday in Princeton’s 64-44 win over visiting Concordia (N.Y.). Junior guard Schroeder contributed nine points on three-of-three shooting from 3-point range to help the Tigers win their third straight game and improve to 5-8. In upcoming action, Princeton starts Ivy League play with games at Dartmouth on January 30 and at Harvard on January 31.

After Winning on Jadwin’s 40th Birthday; PU Men’s Hoops Primed to Start Ivy Party

Bill Alden

Last Sunday, Princeton University celebrated the 40th birthday of Jadwin Gym which opened for business on January 25, 1969 when the Tiger men’s basketball team beat Penn.

The fete included a large birthday cake in the shape of the unique 6,854-seat structure which resembles a brick and glass spaceship and contains five floors underground that house, among other things, squash and tennis courts, a wrestling room, a fencing facility, and a baseball field.

With Division II Concordia (N.Y.) as the party guest, the Princeton men’s basketball team added a footnote to the history of the storied building as it cruised to a 64-44 win over the Clippers before a Jadwin crowd of 1,174.

Tiger head coach Sydney Johnson, who helped write some of the most glorious chapters in Jadwin lore as a Tiger hoops star in the mid-1990s, enjoyed going down memory lane.

“I don’t know all the history but I do know that we are part of it right now,” said Johnson, whose team improved to 5-8 with the victory as it won its third straight contest.

“I had a solid career here, we won a fair share of games. There have been a ton of players, guys like Kit Mueller, Brian Taylor, and Bill Ryan and all those incredible players. We have got great coaching, not only from the head coach [Pete Carril from 1967-96] but from names like [Bill] Carmody, [John] Thompson, [Joe] Scott, and [Howard] Levy. That is pretty neat.”

In Johnson’s view, it would be neat if his club could add some more positive chapters to the building’s history.

“We are trying to do our own history so let’s celebrate Jadwin and 40 years of Princeton basketball,” said Johnson. “But let’s get some wins now and let’s try to add to arguably one of the best legacies in this part of the country.”

The Tigers didn’t produce an historic effort on Sunday as they shook off some rust in coming back from exam break and playing their first game since a 73-64 win over Lehigh on January 7.

“I was looking for us to just get back to competing,” said Johnson, who got 11 points from freshman star Doug Davis in the win with junior point guard Marcus Schroeder contributing nine points, eight rebounds, and three assists.

“I think it was obvious at the start that we weren’t used to a game environment. It is important for us to have the feeling of competing.”

Schroeder, for his part, was happy to be back in action. “It is nice to be able to play a game again,” said Schroeder, who looked sharp in hitting on all three of his 3-point attempts to account for his nine points.

“We have been practicing for two weeks, just to compete against somebody else is good.”

The Tigers will be facing a high level of competition this coming weekend as they start Ivy League play with games at Dartmouth on January 30 and at Harvard on January 31.

“It is nice to get a win today to gain momentum going into the league; it is for real now,” said Schroeder, who is averaging 4.4 points and 3.0 rebounds a game and has helped Princeton to a 3-1 record since getting back into the starting lineup four games ago.

“It is very, very difficult to win games on the road in the league; you have to do all the little things. You have to pay attention to everybody and everybody’s tendencies. It is very hard to win in the Ivy League, especially on the road.

The lengthy exam break gave the Tigers the chance to clean up some of those little things in preparing for the league battles ahead.

“We have had two or three weeks to fine-tune some things and get some momentum going into it,” asserted Schroeder in looking ahead to Ivy play.

“We have a good group of guys who practice hard every day and go at each other. We know it’s for real.”

Johnson is looking for his guys to go at it hard at crunch time as the program looks to bounce back from finishing last in Ivy play the last two seasons.

“We have gotten into winning moments; some we won, some we lost,” said Johnson.

“I think we need to get into those moments in our league and come away with a victory. We did that early on in the season last year in the conference but obviously not late. We just want to be consistent within games.”

The Tigers will have to be consistent if they are going to be successful this weekend in New England.

“Obviously they have got players,” said Johnson in assessing Dartmouth (3-13 overall, 1-1 Ivy) and Harvard (9-7 overall, 1-1 Ivy).

“Alex Barnett on Dartmouth, we can spend a lot of time talking about how good he is. He scores well and he is very efficient in how he does it. Harvard has got the touted freshman recruiting class in the league. They have some upperclassmen who certainly help round out the roster like Jeremy Lin. Obviously they are going to be tough.”

Johnson vowed that his players will display toughness as they deal with the challenges presented by the Big Green and Crimson.

“We know we have our hands full going on the road,” said Johnson. “Trust me in that we will be ready to compete; I don’t know if we will win or not but we are going to be ready to go at it.”

If the Tigers can compete as well as they have in winning their previous three games at Jadwin, they could make some history on the road.

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