February 7, 2018

Haunted by Former Hun Star Cambridge, Tiger Men’s Hoops Falls to Brown in OT

FALLING HARD: Princeton University men’s basketball player Devin Cannady, right, dives to the floor for a loose ball in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, junior star Cannady scored 27 points in a losing cause as Princeton fell 102-100 to Brown in overtime. The Tigers, who dropped to 11-9 overall and 3-2 Ivy League with the setback, were slated to host Penn on February 6 before playing at Harvard on February 9 and at Dartmouth on February 10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As a post-graduate player for the Hun School boys’ basketball team last winter, Desmond Cambridge headed across town to Princeton University to play some pick-up games at Jadwin Gym.

“When Princeton was recruiting me, I came up here to play with the guys five or six times,” said Cambridge. “I got a feel for the gym; I didn’t really like it at first. It is a weird, funky gym. I got accustomed to it.”

Cambridge returned to Jadwin last Saturday as the star freshman guard for Brown University and his familiarity with the surroundings paid dividends.

Coming out on fire, Cambridge scored 19 points in the first half as the teams were tied 49-49 at halftime. Late in the second half, Cambridge drained a pair of free throws to help force overtime as the foes ended regulation knotted at 90-90. In overtime, the 6’4, 180-pound guard hit a game-winning three-pointer to cap a 32-point performance as Brown prevailed 102-100.

“The play was for me to get the shot but it kind of got jumbled,” said Cambridge, recalling his final bucket of the evening.

“I just got it. I was feeling it all night so I just shot it and it went in. It felt good, it looked good, and it went in. It was great.

Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson tipped his hat to Cambridge.

“That was an incredible performance by Brown; it came down to an incredible shot,” said Henderson, whose team entered the evening riding a 19-game Ivy League home winning streak and dropped to 11-9 overall and 3-2 Ivy.

“It seemed like every single time they got an open look, it was going in. On that last one Devin [Cannady] was right on him. Cambridge made a lot of really tough shots; that was an incredible performance and one of the better performances I have ever seen in Jadwin. Unfortunately it was on the other team.”

The setback was an unfortunate loss for the Tigers, who dropped to third in the Ivy standings.

“That is a hard loss and on the weekend, we are not where we need to be,” said Henderson, whose team defeated Yale 76-73 in overtime on Friday.

“I am confident that Devin and his teammates and with the leadership of the group, we are going to get ourselves back on track. There is a lot of basketball left in the league.”

While Cannady scored 27 points and made a number of spectacular shots himself in matching Cambridge for most of the night, he acknowledged that he needed to be sharper at the defensive end.

“I didn’t really feel the duel,” said Cannady. “I thought I could have defended a lot better. It would have given us a better chance to win but he played a hell of a game. He was making tough shots.”

Despite Cambridge’s heroics, Henderson still thought the Tigers were going to pull out the win.

“Little plays here or there ended up making the difference in the game,” lamented Henderson. “I thought up four (89-85) with 36 seconds left, that was going to be our game.”

One of the key plays came at the end of regulation when Tiger junior star Myles Stephens swooped in for a potential game-winning lay-up only to have it blocked by Cambridge.

“We wanted Myles to have the ball in that situation, the kid made a great play,” said Henderson.

“I think it was a lot more than that. In the first half, we gave up 49 points and we couldn’t stop them.”

The loss to Brown put the Tigers in a dicey situation as they look to stay in the top four in the league standings and qualify for the upcoming Ivy postseason tournament.

“This is a really tough stretch here for us,” said Henderson, whose team was slated to host Penn on February 6 before playing at Harvard on February 9 and at Dartmouth on February 10.

“We have got one more at home and four more on the road so we have got to get back on our feet.”