Colonials may fall short against taller Princeton squad

Nine of Princeton University’s 16 players are 6-foot-7 and taller, which creates potential match-up problems inside for the smaller Colonials. Three players who amount to 60 percent of the Princeton’s scoring are at least 6-foot-6. Six-foot-eight Konrad Wysocki and 6-foot-7 Andre Logan each score about 13 points a game, while 6-foot-6 senior forward Mike Bechtold adds significant points averaging 9.5 a game.

The key for GW in Monday night’s BB&T Classic consolation match rests in its big men: Jaason Smith, Tamal Forchion, Darrio Scott and Albert Roma. They must shut down Princeton’s tall trio without getting into foul trouble. Jaason Smith fouled out of GW’s 84-76 loss to the University of Connecticut Sunday with only 10 points. Both Roma and Forchion had two early fouls.

Princeton’s sound fundamentals pose another problem for the young and erratic Colonials. Karl Hobbs said the Tigers are the best passing team in the country. They never stop moving on the court, Hobbs said, which could exhaust a Colonial squad already short on depth.

Add to this the prospect of playing without point guard T.J. Thompson, who played 39 minutes against Uconn, and Colonials will have to rely even more on their zone defense. But that, too, has proved ineffective this season and was dismantled by UConn in Sunday’s game, forcing Hobbs to switch to a man-to-man defense in the second half.

Princeton enters Monday’s game confidently after leading second-seeded Maryland for much of its 61-53 loss. The Tigers outplayed Maryland for much of the game. They dominated Maryland in the first half and took a 36-23 lead into the locker room, playing solid defense, holding Maryland to 36 percent shooting from the field, while finishing the game shooting 42 percent from the floor.

Princeton plays a slow, deliberate game, while the Colonials tend to dig themselves a hole and rush shots to get out of it.

Highlights of the Tiger’s backdoor passes look like textbook examples of game fundamentals. The Colonials do not have the experience to compete fundamentally, so look for GW to try and speed up the play by using their speed to their favor.

Typically GW tries to force bigger teams like Princeton into quick shots. If this happens, the Colonials will be able to speed up play by using their full court pressure defense to try and create easy transition baskets, baskets they had trouble finishing in Sunday’s game.

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