With Schwieger Producing Career Weekend, PU Men’s Hoops Sweeps Cornell, Columbia
By Bill Alden
Ryan Schwieger is known around the Princeton University men’s basketball team for his low-key demeanor, speaking softly in a southern drawl.
But last Friday when sophomore guard Schwieger got the start for Princeton against visiting Cornell, he was ready to make some noise.
“Coach [Mitch Henderson] tells me to be aggressive; all of my teammates tell me to be aggressive,” said the 6’6, 205-pound Schwieger, a native of Matthews, N.C. “I just had that mindset going in and of going to the rim early.”
Schwieger went to the rim early and often against the Big Red, scoring 10 points in the first half as the Tigers took a 36-30 lead. In the second half, he added 13 more for a career-high of 23 as Princeton held off a late Cornell rally to win 68-59.
In reflecting on the victory, which saw the Big Red go on a 23-7 run as it cut an 18-point deficit to trail by only 61-59 with 4:50 remaining in regulation, Schwieger acknowledged that there were some anxious moments for the Tigers.
“That happened last game as well; every time we play them, it comes down to the end,” said Schwieger, whose previous single-game best before Friday was 15 points.
“They always go on big runs. With them, we just have to stick to our principles and really lock down on the defensive end.”
Princeton head coach Henderson liked the way Schwieger stuck with things offensively.
“Ryan, like a lot of really good guards we have had, put us on his back,” said Henderson of Schwieger, who scored 20 points a night later as Princeton defeated Columbia 79-61 to improve to 15-8 overall and 7-3 Ivy League.
“He got easy hoops for us. He always just says ‘I got you bro,’ he is humble too. He was terrific this evening.”
Henderson got some terrific defense from senior star Myles Stephens as he stymied Cornell’s high-scoring guard Matt Morgan, holding him to 12 points, well below his season average of 23.0.
“Myles [did well] for a second time in a row against Morgan,” said Henderson of Stephens, who helped keep Morgan to 16 points in the first meeting between the teams on February 2 when Princeton prevailed 70-61 in overtime.
“He is a very difficult kid to guard, he got loose twice when we were up 29-18 and all of a sudden its 31-24. It just happens so quickly. Myles Stephens is so good and the scout was sharp.”
With Princeton heading to New England this weekend to play at Dartmouth on March 1 and Harvard on March 2, Henderson believes his team is getting sharper.
“This group has played together in the league before,” said Henderson, whose squad was missing senior star guard Devin Cannady, with the coach noting that he was “attending to a personal matter” and “we support him fully” in that.
“I have been telling the guys this is the time of the year you really want to be playing well. We are getting there; I can feel it coming.”
Schwieger, for his part, feels that Princeton’s depth is coming to the fore down the stretch.
“We have got a lot of good guys; it doesn’t matter who starts,” said Schwieger, who was later named the Ivy League Player of the Week for his offensive outburst last weekend.
“We know a lot of guys can come in, do well, and we will get 100 percent from them.”