Tiger Men’s Hoops Returns with Win over Wesley, Schwieger Posts Career High in Cannady’s Absence
RYAN’S HOPE: Princeton University men’s basketball player Ryan Schwieger puts on the defensive pressure in a game last year. This past Sunday, sophomore guard Schwieger scored a career-high 15 points, going 6-of-6 from the floor, as Princeton defeated Division III foe Wesley 91-62 in returning from a 15-day hiatus for exams. The Tigers, now 10-5 overall, resume Ivy League play with games at Columbia on February 1 and at Cornell on February 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Even though the Princeton University men’s basketball team was on a 15-day hiatus for exams starting in mid-January, Ryan Schwieger managed to get his reps in.
“I have been working hard; I didn’t have that many exams so I was in the gym a lot, working with the guys,” said Schweiger. “We all got better over this little break.”
Schwieger’s hard work paid dividends as the Tigers returned to action last Sunday by hosting Division III foe Wesley. He tallied a career-high 15 points, going 6-of-6 from the floor, helping Princeton roll to a 91-62 win, improving to 10-5 overall.
“We haven’t played in a long time, so it is good to put the jerseys back on before league play,” said the 6’6, 205-pound Schwieger, a native of Matthews, N.C.
While Princeton’s victory over Wesley was expected, the Tigers used the game to fine-tune things.
“We also needed the game to get better; it is still a college basketball game,” said Schwieger, who is now averaging 4.2 points a game. “We were working on some things and we tried to use it to get better.”
Sophomore forward Sebastian Much, who chipped in eight points and three rebounds in 10 minutes off the bench, saw the contest as a way for the Tigers to get in sync as they look forward to the Ivy League stretch drive.
“It is team camaraderie, just staying together and always supporting one another,” said the 6’8, 220-pound Much, who hails from Laguna Niguel, Calif.
“Whatever is happening in the game doesn’t really matter in the moment, we just stick to ourselves and focus on ourselves. We always have each other’s back. Everyone is pushing each other to work harder.”
The Tigers will need to stick together as senior star guard and leading scorer Devin Cannady is currently suspended in the wake of an incident at the Wawa on January 18 which saw him get charged with aggravated assault, resisting arrest, and improper behavior.
Princeton head Mitch Henderson said after the game that he is “hopeful” that Cannady, who was on the bench Sunday in street clothes, will return this season, noting that, “we are still reviewing everything and working closely with all of the parties involved.”
With Cannady out, Henderson was looking for other players to step up.
“Our team is a little bit different, so we had to make some adjustments, so I was hopeful that we can get some productive minutes from both Ethan [Wright], Ryan [Schweiger], and Max [Johns],” said Henderson.
“We have to fill a need for us. I was confident going in and I feel really good coming out of it.”
Henderson felt very good about Schwieger’s performance against Wesley.
“Ryan was making shots around the rim,” said Henderson.
“He has put a lot of time into that. The way he has been going about it, I just told Ryan that this is a product of all of the hard work you have been putting in.”
The play of Much was another bright spot for the Tigers. “He is doing great; he is exactly what we need,” said Henderson.
“He is such a difficult matchup. He sees so many different things. He can obviously make a shot. I am happy with his focus on rebounding and defense. We are hitting the league so we are going to use all the pieces that we think will help us be successful in the league.”
With Princeton resuming league action by playing at Columbia on February 1 and at Cornell on February 2, Henderson is looking for his players to be road warriors.
“I just told the guys that the path in this league, or any league, is to be successful on the road,” said Henderson.
“In order to do that, you have to be able to guard and get rebounds. That is going to a huge part of the focus for us as we hit the weekend.”
The team’s unity should help it on that path. “It starts from the top. From the seniors all the way down, they truly support each other,” said Henderson.
“I have always believed that a good locker room can pave the way to success. We will see; we are halfway through our path here. We still have a long way to go and now it is the big chunk. This is when it really matters and we will see if that is true.”
Schwieger feels like things are coming together. “It is just playing as a team; today we fouled a lot and we have got to cut that out,” he said.
“That is one of the biggest things and just staying together on defense and being aggressive on offense. We will take it one game at a time. Our motto is getting two every weekend.”
Much, for his part, believes that there could be some good weekends ahead for the Tigers.
“We have got to keep working and we have to continue to do our scouts well,” said Much.
“Our scout team is really great for us. They help us out and give us a really good look. We just have to stay on top of everything. I think it is just getting better every day, that is the only thing we can really control.”