say it ain't so joe, princeton winles...

say it ain't so joe, princeton winless in ivy play

Steve Mergelsberg

Cypress, TX

#1 Feb 7, 2007

Princeton men's basketball coach Joe Scott took over the reins from John Thompson III for the 2004-05 season and has been by all accounts a huge bust for the Tigers. In three seasons he has all but destroyed the famed basketball program. Princeton has now lost their first four Ivy League games for the first time since the league was formed. It is now time that Joe Scott end his stubborn, archaic peach-basket and high-top sneaker approach to the game for the sake of the players before he destroys whatever little morale they have left.

On Friday evening, Eric Flato had 12 points to lead Yale (9-10, 5-1 Ivy} to a 43-35 win over Princeton. Flato was the only player in the game in double figures. Princeton shot just 26.7 percent from the field and lost its first three Ivy League games for the first time since the conference was formed in 1956-57. Kyle Koncz led the Tigers with 9 points.

Saturday evening the Tigers traveled to Providence, R.I. to take on Brown. Mark McAndrew and Damon combined for 36 points as Brown handed Princeton their fourth straight Ivy League loss 63-48. McAndrew scored 12 of his 19 points in the second half and Huffman finished with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting as Brown (7-14, 2-4 Ivy League) ended a three-game losing streak. Luke Owings led Princeton (9-9, 0-4) with 12 points

During the Yale game, the Tigers managed only two field goals in the final nine minutes of the first half and did not score in nearly seven minutes into the second half. Saturday night at Brown the Tigers went without a field goal for the first seven minutes of the second half.

Scott needs to run his "Princeton Offense" with modifications and "tweeks"! The Tigers need to push the ball up court and Scott has to allow his players to shoot the ball whether it is a back-door layup or a 3-point shot when they have an open look, regardless of the time on the clock! An up-tempo offense, using the quickness of guards Lincoln Gunn and Marcus Schroeder, coupled with an inside presence to "kick" the ball out to the shooters when the defense collapses will provide more open looks.

The Tigers stingy defense will create offense and fast breaks that will result in drives to the hoop or open shots that will eliminate the long scoring droughts that hinder the Tigers each game. A new up-tempo and flexible style of play will send a message to opponents that this is not the same "predictable" Princeton team. Joe Scott owes this new approach to his players and program in order to turn the season around and to salvage the little respect he still has among the students and alumni. Time will tell!

Steve Mergelsberg has spent twenty-five years coaching professionally in the Atlantic Basketball Association, United States Basketball League (USBL), on the college level and on the high school level in New Jersey and Nevada. He is a constant contributor to coaching journals, including articles on the triangle offense, coaching philosophies, and amoeba defenses.

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