PRINCETON, N.J. (Jan. 26, 2020) – As first-year Head Coach Stuart Pradia strives to build the Rutgers University-Camden men’s basketball program, one of the experiences he is introducing to his student-athletes is the chance to play a higher level of competition against a Division I team.
The Scarlet Raptors had that experience here Sunday as they lost to Princeton University, 87-41.
The game marked the first time the Scarlet Raptors had played a Division I team since Nov. 16, 2011, when they lost their season opener, 87-53, at Elon University. The last time Rutgers-Camden played a team from a higher division came against a Division II club on November 16, 2013 during a 69-50 season-opening loss at Millersville University.
Princeton improved to 7-8 with its fourth straight win, while Rutgers-Camden fell to 6-12.
After Princeton scored the game’s first point on a foul shot by freshman forward Tosan Evbuomwan, the Scarlet Raptors took a 2-1 lead on a layup by senior center Isaac Destin. Junior guard Ryan Schwieger countered with a layup for the Tigers, but junior guard Arian Azemi had a layup to put the Scarlet Raptors back on top, 4-3.
Princeton took the lead for good, 6-4, when sophomore guard Ethan Wright hit a three-pointer 1:29 into the contest and senior center Richmond Aririguzoh followed with a layup. The closest Rutgers-Camden came after that was 8-6 on a jumper by Azemi.
After the Scarlet Raptors made it a 13-8 game, Princeton scored the next 20 points to take command with a 33-8 lead. Azemi broke the Tigers’ run with a foul shot midway through the first half.
Princeton added a nine-point run later in the half on its way to a 53-16 halftime lead. Azemi had seven points and Destin added six to account for 13 of the Raptors’ first-half points. Princeton, meanwhile, had 11 players in the scoring column by halftime, led by Wright (nine points) and junior forward Elijah Barnes (eight).
Both Destin and Azemi finished with 16 points for Rutgers-Camden, while adding three steals apiece. Destin had a team-high six rebounds and Azemi had five boards and a game-high four assists.
Junior forward Ian McCarthy had a game-high eight steals, doubling his previous career high of four, set against Ramapo College on Feb. 8, 2018.
Destin’s 16 points allowed him to tie James Washington (1995-98) for 11th place on the program’s all-time list at 1,141. If he gets at least 11 points in his next game, he would move into eighth place past Dane Nicholson (1,144), Jim Kiefer (1,146) and Pete Verling (1,151).
Princeton placed 14 players in the scoring column, led by 20 points from freshman forward Keeshawn Kellman. Barnes added 10 points, while freshman guard Konrad Kiszka collected a game-high seven rebounds. Princeton held a 44-17 advantage off the boards.
The Tigers shot 34-for-55 (61.8 percent) from the floor, including 8-for-20 (40.0) from three-point range. Rutgers-Camden shot 18-for-52 from the floor (34.6) and didn’t hit a trey in 13 attempts.
Rutgers-Camden returns to Division III and New Jersey Athletic Conference play on Wednesday with a 6 p.m. game at Stockton University.