12/16/12 — Pirates' defensive pressure bothers Bulldogs

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Pirates' defensive pressure bothers Bulldogs

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on December 16, 2012 1:52 AM

PRINCETON -- Corinth-Holders may have been the visiting team, but there was little the Pirates weren't in complete control of Friday night inside the "Dog House."

Corinth-Holders dictated the game's tempo, the type of defense Princeton was forced to play and ultimately the scoreboard in a 57-44 non-conference victory.

The Pirates' Kenneth Collins led all scorers with 17 points and Khilah Cox finished with 14. Nick Cobb paced Princeton with 11 points. The two teams meet again Monday at Corinth-Holders.

The Pirates' tenacious ball pressure and up-tempo pace forced the Bulldogs to play faster than they preferred in the first half. Princeton squandered valuable possessions by quickly forcing jump shots or by committing costly turnovers.

Cox scored eight of his 14 points in the first quarter.

Corinth-Holders led 16-11 after the opening eight minutes.

"That is probably the best team we'll play," Bulldogs' head coach Jeff Davis said. "That is really the first pressure man-to-man and the first really good press we've seen. If we had cut down our turnovers, we would have been in the game. It could have been a lot worse."

Butler Collins knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers early in the second quarter as the lead grew to 22-11. Princeton managed to hold the Pirates scoreless during the final two minutes of the first half. Michael Wooten sank a pair of free throws and Alex Whitley's layup cut the deficit to 29-21 at the half.

Corinth-Holders appeared content to hold the ball and melt time off the clock for stretches of the second half.

The strategy forced the Bulldogs (4-3 overall) out of their zone defense and into man-to-man. The Pirates took advantage of favorable matchups and their athleticism to beat defenders off the dribble and get to the rim. Kiyon Walden delivered layups on consecutive possessions as the Pirates' extended their advantage to 40-28.

"We didn't want to come out and play man, and you can see why," Davis said. "They've got so many weapons. I don't know what defense to play against them."

Cobb's layup early in the fourth quarter pulled Princeton to within 40-32, but Corinth-Holders quickly responded with a 9-0 run that stretched the lead to 49-32 with five minutes to play. The Bulldogs failed to close to within single digits the remainder of the game.

Wooten and Ryne Woodard each scored nine points.