Mitch Henderson wanted to challenge his senior-laden squad with a tough early schedule. The opener against the BYU Cougars in Provo was a little too tough. BYU prevailed 82-73, although the gritty visitors managed to get within one with seven minutes left.
Three crucial stats tell you all you need to know about this one:
1. The Tigers shot very poorly and were particularly inept from behind the arc, making only 28 percent of their threes.
2. Princeton was clearly overmatched on the boards, where the Cougars grabbed 51 caroms to only 38 for the Tigers.
3. The Cougars canned 30 free throws to a paltry nine for the Ivy League’s representative. (IHO has been unable to confirm reports that game refs Michael Irving, Gregory Nixon and Jimmy Casas just returned to Utah from serving their missions in Africa.)
Cougar Eric Mika is on his way to an All-WCC first team selection after his start. He dominated the Tigers with 26 points and 18 rebounds, adding 3 assists and 2 blocks for good measure.
For the Tigers, senior guard Spencer Weisz had eight rebounds and four assists but shot a frustrating 1-for-7 from three-point territory. Senior captain Hans Brase appeared to play without pain but was rusty in his first action in a year and a half. He fouled out after just 19 minutes.
Sophomore guard Devin Cannady picked up where he left off, leading the Tigers with 18 points, including four threes in 30 minutes. He is emerging as the offensive spark plug, a role he relishes.
Next up for the Tigers is a Sunday afternoon visit to Stabler Arena at Lehigh. The perennial Patriot League power will present coach Mitch Henderson with another tough early challenge.