The TCNJ men’s basketball team is facing their first back-to-back of the season.
And this is not an easy two days in their back-to-back games. Yesterday, the Lions faced the 11th ranked Ramapo College at Packer Hall on the TCNJ campus, which they lost by 1 point. And today, the Lions (5-14) travel a short distance to Princeton University (7-7) to face the Division 1 Tigers.
The Lions have never beaten the Tigers in their four previous meetings, in 1998, 2001, 2011, and 2012. All five meetings, including today’s game, has take place at Jadwin Gym.
The Tigers won 79-68 on January 8, 2012 in last season’s contest. Three of the four meetings between the Tigers and the Lions have been decided by 11 points.
Princeton did have a 22 point lead in last year’s game with 5 minutes to play. But the Lions went on a 10-2 run to shrink their huge lead and at least make it a game.
In their annual Division III game, the Tigers have never lost and are 24-0 overall. The Lions have replaced Franklin & Marshall in recent years.
In 2002, the Tigers won by their largest margin in their Division III game. The Tigers won that game by 54 points over Western Maryland.
Not only does the Tigers have history on their edge in this game, they also have a distinguished height advantage. Princeton has nine players, who are 6-7 or taller on their roster, while the Lions only have sophomore Drew Grapstul who is 6-8 on the roster.
Grapstul has only played in 4 games this season for 28 minutes. He hasn’t played in a game since January 12th against New Jersey City when he played in 7 minutes against the Golden Knights.
Grapstul hasn’t played in a game in the past 15 days. And the Tigers haven’t played in the same amount of time, as they have been off for 15 days, as well.
On that day, the Tigers faced fellow Ivy League competitor, the University of Pennsylvania. At Jadwin Gym, the Tigers defeated the Quakers, winning 65-53.
With a win today, the Tigers would sweep the two Mercer County NCAA-affiliated schools. On December 20, 2012, Princeton faced Lawrenceville resident, Rider University, and defeated them 62-45.
The Tigers haven’t lost a home game since December 8, 2012. On this day, Drexel came to Princeton and defeated the Tigers, 63-60.
When the Tigers have won this season, they have won by double-digits. Six of their seven wins have been by double-digits.
While history shows that winning this game is slim, the Lions are 3-7 on the road. Their last road win came on December 29, 2012 against Western Connecticut State, when they won 57-53.
Skyelar Ettin, a junior forward will be returning home in this game. He is a Princeton native and attended Princeton High School.
Jayson Johnson leads the Lions scoring with 12.1 points per game. Alex Fox is scoring 11.1 points per game, while Ettin is scoring 11 points per game. Matthew Rista is scoring 10.9 points per game.
Ian Hummer is the only Tigers player averaging over double-digits. He is scoring 16 points per game. All other Prince players are averaging less than 10 points.