Princeton coach ejected, Caden Pierce has career night in 74-67 win over Hofstra

Princeton defeats Hofstra in early mid-major showdown
Princeton Tigers forward Caden Pierce (So.) sets career high in points for Princeton offense in win

HEMPSTEAD — In a game pitched as a contest between two of the highest-scoring schools in college basketball it was the Princeton Tiger’s defense that made the key plays late. 

Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson was ejected after arguing a call early in the first half, but it was Caden Pierce and the Tigers that pulled away against the Hofstra Pride Friday night by a 74-67 final.

Tensions at the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex were raised early in the contest between two teams with championship aspirations in their respective conferences. After Pierce was called for a travel midway through the first half, the Tiger’s head coach took offense to what he believed was a missed foul call. 

After receiving a technical foul, the 13-year veteran coach and Princeton legend quickly found himself ejected responding to the referee. 

Henderson’s removal was the highlight in a high-paced first half with the Tigers leading the Pride by a 30-29 score.

The Tigers came into Friday’s contest coming off a 68-61 win over Rutgers on Monday. As a program, they are looking to improve on last year’s run to the Sweet 16 as a 15-seed in the NCAA Tournament. Hofstra, on the other hand, saw Princeton as their first matchup against a Division I program. They blew out Division III St. Josephs (Long Island) on Monday 101-48. They are coming off a CAA regular season championship and a win in the NIT last season. 

In the second half though Pierce would dominate and Hofstra would have little answer. Last season’s Ivy League Rookie of the Year tallied a career-high 26 points to go along with 15 rebounds to pace the way for Princeton.

“He drove the ball against our five,” Hofstra coach Speedy Claxton said. “That was the gameplan, we knew we had to live with something. We wanted to make him beat us and unfortunately, he did. Hats off to him.”

For the Pride, they were paced by Darlinstone Dubar who totaled 18 points but shot just 30% from beyond the arc in the loss. 

Princeton will be back on the court on Wednesday night against Duquesne while Hofstra will take on George Washington on Tuesday. 

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