BYRON— The Princeton Tigers held the Byron Tigers to only 38 points on Friday night in Byron in the battle of the Bengals. Yet they only managed 24 points of their own and came home defeated.
“One would think that giving up only 38 points would be enough to win the game,” Princeton coach Jesse Brandt said. “But when you turn the ball over 27 times, and when we did have open looks, it didn’t go in.”
Princeton lost the turnover game badly, coughing up the ball 28 times to Byron’s 14.
“They got 14 extra possessions,” Brandt said. “It’s hard to win that way.”
Princeton jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the first quarter, but that was pretty much the highlight of the night. Byron battled back and went up 9-7 before Zach Stroud tied it at nine with 1:28 to go in the quarter.
With only 26 ticks off the clock in the second quarter, Byron junior guard Tyler Nunez hit a three-point shot to give Byron the lead which they would not relinquish for the rest of the game.
In fact, it was the second quarter that undid the Princeton Tigers. They only managed three points in the entire quarter, a two-point field goal by Stroud 1:19 into the quarter and then a free throw by senior Cole Evenson with only 45.8 seconds remaining in the half.
Even with such offensive ineptitude, Princeton found themselves down only five at the half. But they could only muster six points in each of the next two quarters.
Offensively, the Byron Tigers seemed to miss many shots, especially under the basket, which kept the game close for most of the contest. But it was the Byron Tiger defense which came away the winners on the night. Falling into a 2-1-2 zone for much of the game, Byron repeatedly jumped the passing lanes and denied Princeton from getting shots off.
“Their defense took us completely out of the game,” said Brandt. “We had practiced against it yesterday and the day before, but it was a lot different the way they played it than what we could show in practice. We weren’t very aggressive offensively. When we did attack we got some good baskets in the second half, but then we’d get a wide-open look and it wouldn’t go down or we’d fumble a pass out of bounds. Just not a whole lot went right.”
Princeton was paced by seven points each from Stroud and Evenson while Byron was paced by junior forward Daniel Lowe who scored all of his 12 points in the first half and senior guard Chris Dimaggio who chipped in 10.
• The sophomore game proved just as disappointing for Princeton as Byron outscored Princeton 20-3 in the third quarter on the way to a 52-37 victory. PHS came out shooting, scoring the first nine points en route to a 27-20 advantage. But then Byron instituted a full-court press that the Princeton cagers were unable to solve. The Kittens were led by Garrett Duffin who finished the night with 18 points.
• The bright spot on the night for Princeton proved to be the freshman squad which squeaked out a 31-29 victory over Byron. Skye Behrends led the team with 11 points while Levi Bates added 10.