Tigers’ Rally Falls Short at Hinkle

Denton Koon had a great day for Princeton, scoring a team-high 21 points, but he couldn't convert a game-tying look in the closing seconds.
Denton Koon had a great day for Princeton, scoring a team-high 21 points, but he couldn’t convert a game-tying look in the closing seconds.

After watching his Tigers compete over 40 minutes, displaying generous amounts of (sorry, AQ) moxie at both ends of Hinkle Fieldhouse, Mitch Henderson offered the obligatory “no such thing as moral victories” cliche. Nonsense, Coach. This visit to Butler, a 70-67 loss, accomplished everything for which Henderson could reasonably hope: a chance to beat a high quality opponent at their place and lots of minutes for seven players still learning about how to play with each other. Had they been a tad more effective from the FT line, Princeton might have come away with an upset win.

Arguably, the Tigers did not launch enough three-pointers, since they were very efficient from behind the arc, making eight of 20, fewer than the 31 attempts they hoisted in the season opener. On the other side, Butler made nine of 24 from deep, accounting for the margin of victory. Ultimately, it’s hard to beat anyone, let alone a quality team that hardly ever loses at home, when you miss 14 FT’s.

Tiger highlights included another quality game for Denton Koon with a team leading 21 points in 30 minutes. He had a chance to send the game into overtime as the Tigers got him a high percentage look in the last five seconds. Sophomore Hans Brase has progressed by leaps and bounds over his impressive freshman campaign. Against the Bulldogs, he poured in 15 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and played very well at both ends while committing only one foul. Freshman Spencer Weisz, making his second start, contributed 9 points and 5 rebounds in 33 minutes. His versatility and court sense mark him for big things even after T.J. Bray returns from the injured list. Bray was expected to be the player Henderson could least afford to be without heading into the Ivy season. That’s still true, but this team is discovering that it has a lot of weapons, even without their all-Ivy backcourt player. Lafayette at Jadwin on Wednesday offers another stern test in the early season.

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