PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- T.J. Bray, coming off a one-game suspension for discipline reasons, scored 20 of his 23 points in the second half as Princeton pulled away from Rutgers for a 78-73 win Wednesday night.
Denton Koon, Hans Brase and Ben Hazel each had 14 points for the Tigers (7-1), who won their sixth straight. Princeton extended its lead to 75-45 in the central New Jersey rivalry, which started in 1917.Myles Mack had 21 points for the Scarlet Knights (4-7), who have lost four straight and six of their last seven. Kadeem Jack added 14 while J.J. Moore had 10.Princeton was without starting guard Jimmy Sherburne, who was serving the second of a three-game suspension by coach Mitch Henderson. Sherburne and Bray were suspended for the same incident but Bray missed just one game.With the game tied 56-56, Bray hit a 3-pointer with 8:44 left and Princeton never trailed again.The Tigers have equaled their best start since going 7-1 in 1997-98, when Henderson was a senior guard on that nationally ranked team.Princeton held a 33-31 halftime lead, and there were 10 lead changes and three ties to start the second half. Moore's basket forced the final tie at 56-56.When Bray hit the 3-pointer to make it 59-56, Princeton made seven straight baskets, including four from 3-point range to give the Tigers their largest lead, 72-62, with 3:48 remaining.Rutgers got within 72-66 with 51 seconds left, but the Tigers held on by going 6-for-8 from the line in the final 47 seconds. Bray was 4-for-4 during that time, and finished with eight assists.Princeton shot 56.5 percent (13-for-23) in the second half and 49 percent (25-for-51) for the game. The Tigers were 16-for-34 on 3-pointers. Rutgers finished at 50 percent (29-for-58).This marks the third straight game the road team has won in the series, and the fourth straight game decided by six or less.The first half featured runs by each team. Princeton made five of its first eight from 3-point range to take a 17-10 lead, before Rutgers went on an 11-2 run for a 21-19 advantage. The Knights led 27-26 before Princeton ended the half with a 7-4 run for a 33-31 lead.The stats were nearly even at half as Princeton shot 42.9 percent (12-for-28) and Rutgers shot 43.3 percent (13-for-30). The Tigers had an 18-17 rebounding margin, but committed six turnovers to Rutgers' three.