Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 49
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010
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HUMMER TRUCK: Princeton University men’s basketball star Ian Hummer powers to the hoop last Sunday in Princeton’s 74-65 win over Saint Joseph’s. Sophomore forward Hummer scored a team-high 17 points in the victory and was later named the Ivy League Player of the Week.

Sophomore Hummer Leads Balanced Attack as Tiger Men’s Basketball Holds Off St. Joe’s

Bill Alden

Ian Hummer got into a groove early on last Sunday as the Princeton University men’s basketball team hosted Saint Joseph’s.

The sophomore forward hit all five of his first half shots to help Princeton jump out to a 45-27 halftime lead.

“It always starts out that if I am posting up and if I see that I can go 1-on-1 then I am going to try to take advantage of it as best I can,” said the 6‘7, 226-pound Hummer, a native of Vienna, Va.

“They doubled a couple of times and I hit Pat [Saunders] for a couple of 3s. I knew if we kept hitting shots and I was working on my offense, we would be cooking.”

The shooting of Saunders, who banged in three 3-point shots in the first five minutes of the game, helped jump start the Tigers.

“I think St. Joe’s was surprised with that,” said Hummer, referring to Saunders’ outburst from the perimeter.

“They started out double teaming me and I was kicking it out and we were just lighting it up great. I think that spread everyone out to guard Pat, who was on fire. That opened up the whole floor.”

As a result, the Tigers collectively caught fire. “I think in the first half, everyone was feeling it,” said Hummer, reflecting on a half which saw Princeton hit on 18-of-31 shots for a 58.1 percent clip.

“No matter who you threw to, I think we were confident in those people to make shots and to make the right pass.”

But the Tigers knew they weren’t home free, having blown a 20-point lead in losing 65-64 to James Madison on the Monday before Thanksgiving.

Junior guard Douglas Davis acknowledged that the loss to James Madison was on the Tigers’ minds at halftime.

“Definitely we were thinking about it,” said Davis, referring to the JMU loss.

“We had been in that position before and let it get away. When you lead that big, you know the other team is going to make a run. You have to hold them off. We knew it was going to be a battle even though we were up 18 at half. We knew it was going to be tough.”

St. Joe’s did make it tough on Princeton after intermission, holding the Tigers scoreless in the first five minutes and cutting the lead to 10 on two occasions midway through the second half.

But with Hummer continuing to produce inside, the Tigers held on for a 74-56 win before a crowd of 2,010 at Jadwin Gym as they improved to 5-3.

Hummer ended the night with a team-high 17 points and eight rebounds and three assists and was later named the Ivy League Player of the Week for his performance against St. Joe’s and a 22-point effort in an 82-64 win over Lafayette on November 30.

Princeton head coach Sydney Johnson liked the way his players applied the hard lesson they learned from the JMU loss.

“The guys said it to each other in the halftime room, we don’t want the game to turn out the way that James Madison turned out,” said Johnson.

“I think they were calling on that memory and so there was a little sense of urgency that we didn’t have down in Virginia.”

While Johnson was happy to see his club pull out the win, he saw plenty of room for improvement.

“I still think there were some mistakes there if we can nip them in the bud, we will feel a lot better about how we go about things,” said Johnson. “I talked honestly to the guys about basketball IQ; I think we can be a lot smarter.”

Johnson felt good about the balanced scoring he got as five players hit double figures.

“We want guys who are versatile,” said Johnson, who got 14 points from Saunders with Davis scoring 12, Dan Mavraides and Kareem Maddox each getting 10 in addition to Hummer’s 17 points.

“We are going to work to get Doug and Dan shots; they have shown their worth over time against very good teams. Ian is getting a little bit more comfortable and confident. We have some other guys and I want them to be very, very confident because there are going to be shots there. They have to step up and be ready to knock them down. Patrick is a confident player and it is good to see him playing that way because it makes us a stronger team.”

With Princeton having won three straight games, Johnson believes the Tigers are moving in the right direction.

“You don’t play great all the time but we have gotten some decent results,” said Johnson, whose team plays at Monmouth on December 8 and at Tulsa on December 12.

“I think we are learning and that’s the thing. We absolutely have to learn and then you move forward. Hopefully, we are playing better basketball in February than we are playing now. So let’s learn these lessons and improve and take on the next challenge.”

Hummer, for his part, was proud of how the Tigers met the challenge posed by St. Joe’s in the second half on Sunday.

“In the second half, we did start off pretty slowly,” said Hummer, who is averaging a team-high 16.0 points per game. “We are confident in each other to just make the right play where it is and take good shots and play as a team.”

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