Previewing Princeton

Princeton was picked to finish second in the Ivy League and return two starters off last year's team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Pack Pride takes a closer look at tonight's opponent -- tip-off is at 7:00 pm.

  • ROSTER
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    PROJECTED STARTERS
    20 • Douglas Davis • G • Sr. • 5-11 • Philadelphia, Pa.
    Hit buzzer-beating shot in Ivy playoff win vs. Harvard to send team to NCAA Tournament ... T-14th on Princeton scoring list (1,122) ... went 5 for 7 last time out against Wagner ... second-team All-Ivy 2010, honorable mention 2009.

    5 • T.J. Bray • F • So. • 6-5 • New Berlin, Wis.
    Made first career start Saturday ... only freshman, and only player overall outside of Davis-Hummer-Maddox-Mavraides, to start all 32 games last season.

    24 • Will Barrett • F • Jr. • 6-10 • Hartsville, Pa.
    In season-opening lineup Saturday for first time in his career ... fouled out of Saturday's game but hit both 3-pointers made in Saturday's game.

    34 • Ian Hummer • F • Jr. • 6-7 • Vienna, Va.
    Led Princeton with 19 points Saturday vs. Wagner ... had first three career 3-point attempts in that game ... second-team All-Ivy 2011.

    44 • Brendan Connolly • C • Jr. • 6-11 • Brentwood, Tenn.
    Was limited to two first-half minutes, and 11 minutes overall, due to foul trouble in Saturday's game ... second season as a regular starter.

    STAR WATCH
    Douglas Davis -- The team's top returning scorer, Davis has scored over 1,100 points in his career and was second-team All-Ivy last season.


    Princeton Notables

    The N.C. State game marks the start of Princeton's participation in the TicketCity Legends Classic. The Tigers will play three games at Bucknell against the host Bison, Morehead State and Alabama State next weekend.

    Princeton is coming off its 26th Ivy League championship (55 seasons) and 24th NCAA Tournament appearance (all since 1952), both Ivy League record totals.

    The Tigers will be looking to end a seven-game skid against ACC programs that dates back to 2000. Five of the losses were to Duke (2000, '01, '03, '05, '07, '10), while one was to North Carolina (2001 NCAA) and one to Maryland (2001). Princeton's last win over an ACC team was at N.C. State in the 1999 NIT at Reynolds Coliseum. All-time, Princeton holds a 14-27 record against teams in the ACC at the time of the game.

    Though the Tigers lost the season opener to Wagner Saturday night, Princeton has been able to turn slow starts around. Last season, Princeton started 2-3 before finishing 25-7. Two years ago, a 2-4 start became 22-9. Three years ago, 2-8 became 13-14.

    Looking for his first win is Mitch Henderson '98, the team's Franklin C. Cappon-Edward G. Green '40 head coach. Henderson is the 29th man to hold the job and the fourth consecutive alumnus to do so (John Thompson III '88, Joe Scott '87, Sydney Johnson '97).

    Henderson, who played in three NCAA Tournaments for Princeton, including one in 1997 at Wake Forest against California, spent 11 years at Northwestern under one of his former coaches at Princeton, Bill Carmody, as an assistant coach.

    Princeton is second to North Carolina in alumni as active Division I head coaches. Eight Tar Heels are roaming the sidelines, while six Tigers are doing so: Thompson III '88 (Georgetown), Scott '87 (Denver), Johnson '97 (Fairfield), Henderson '98 (Princeton), Chris Mooney '94 (Richmond) and Craig Robinson '83 (Oregon State).

    There are 10 Ivy League alumni as current Division I head coaches, and Princeton has six. Three of the others are from Penn (Fran McCaffery, Iowa; Matt Langel, Colgate; Jerome Allen, Penn) along with Jeff Jackson from Cornell (Furman).

    Princeton is 5-1 all-time against N.C. State and has won the last five meetings. The only loss came in 1952 at Reynolds Coliseum, while Princeton won in 1965 in the NCAA regional semifinal at Maryland, 1991 at Reynolds, 1992 and 1997 at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, and 1999 in the second round of the NIT at Reynolds.

    Wednesday's game marks Princeton's first trip to the RBC Center and the second straight Princeton road game played in a National Hockey League arena, after the Tigers nearly upset Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament at the St. Pete Times Forum, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Prior to the NCAAs, Princeton had not played in an NBA or NHL arena since falling to Stanford on Dec. 21, 2005 in Oakland, Calif., home of the Golden State Warriors.

    In the 1997 meeting at the Meadowlands in the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament, Henderson and assistant coach Brian Earl '99 were part of the starting five in a 38-36 win. Earl scored a game-high 15 points while Henderson had two points and a game-high four assists. No NCSU player was in double-figure points in a game the Wolfpack led 19-16 at halftime and was played with an experimental 40-second shot clock and four quarters. The game-winning basket was on an Earl shot with 2.7 seconds left that was counted as good on a goaltending call on N.C. State's Ishua Benjamin. Earl was named the tournament MVP.

    Princeton will look to cut down on turnovers and offensive rebounds allowed, two statistics that combined to allow Wagner 18 more field goal attempts than Princeton. The 16-point defeat to Wagner came in spite of the Tigers outshooting the Seahawks 46.5 percent to 45.9 percent and outrebounding them 37-35.

    Though Princeton's 28 turnovers against Wagner were its most since giving up 29 on Dec. 19, 1998 at Maryland, the current Tigers have not made a habit of very high turnover games. The team has had one 20-plus turnover game in each of the past two seasons and three in 2008-09.

    No freshman saw the floor Saturday evening until Denton Koon entered with less than four minutes to go. In his time, Koon made his only field goal attempt and was one of two Tigers with a positive assist-to-turnover ratio, at 2:1. Patrick Saunders (1:0) was the other.

    Height dominates the Tiger roster this season, as the average height is 6-foot-7. Nine of the 17 players are 6-foot-8 or taller. No other Ivy League team has more than six players at 6-foot-8 (Columbia).

    Princeton's 25 wins last season tied for the second-most in program history and the most since the 1997-98 team, which included current coaches Mitch Henderson '98 and Brian Earl '99, went 27-2.

    Princeton also lost its first game of the 1998-99 season to Lafayette, the first game after the program-record 27-2 team on which Henderson was a senior. Like the '98-'99 team with Earl and Gabe Lewullis '99, Princeton returns two players who scored in double-figures the previous year in Davis and Hummer. The Tigers were able to finish 22-9 overall and 11-3 in the Ivy that season, making a three-game run in the NIT.

    Princeton will be road warriors in December and January, playing 10 of 11 games in those months away from Jadwin Gym. Only three of those games are in states that do not border New Jersey (Northeastern, Florida State, Florida A&M). Being away from Jadwin has not been much of a problem for the Tigers lately, as Princeton has won 10 of its last 13 games on opponents' home floors.

    With Dan Mavraides '11 and current senior Douglas Davis a year ago, Princeton saw its first 1,000-point scorers since Judson Wallace '05 and Will Venable '05 in 2005. Ian Hummer is on pace to join that list this season, standing 326 points away. Hummer scored 441 points last season and would be the only the second junior (Davis) to reach 1,000 at Princeton since Kit Mueller '91.

    Hummer is also set to pass his father, Ed Hummer '67, in scoring this season. Ed Hummer scored 786 points in his three-season Princeton career, and Ian Hummer stands at 674. His uncle, John Hummer '70, scored 1,031 points in his three seasons.

    Douglas Davis is in 14th place on the Princeton career scoring list at 1,122. He is even with Chris Thomforde '69 at 1,122, with Rick Hielscher '95 next up at 1,130 and Frank Sowinski '78 at 1,133. Davis would then have a big gap before 11th place, held by a teammate of two of his coaches, Steve Goodrich '98 (1,207).

    Davis is already the highest scoring player at Princeton since Gabe Lewullis '99 finished his career with 1,277 points.

    Princeton is looking to make up for its largest offensive loss to graduation since the 2007-08 to 2008-09 seasons, when the Tigers did not return 57 percent of their offense. From 2008-09 to 2009-10, the loss was just six percent. From 2009-10 to 2010-11, the loss was 25 percent. Now from 2010-11 to 2011-12, the loss is 39 percent. Princeton will be looking to replace the 2011 Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year forward Kareem Maddox and second-team All-Ivy honoree forward Dan Mavraides.

    Princeton has increased its win total over three consecutive offseasons, in 2008 (six to 13), 2009 (13 to 22) and 2010 (22 to 25). The last time Princeton had three such offseasons was 1995-97. The last time Princeton had a longer streak was six offseasons, from 1985-90.

    Princeton's 59-57 NCAA Tournament loss to Kentucky, which went on to the national semifinal, was the closest the Tigers have come to winning an NCAA Tournament game since its last victory, a 69-57 triumph over UNLV in 1998. It was the closest Princeton NCAA Tournament game, win or lose, since the 1996 win over UCLA (43-41).

    Princeton has made the postseason in each of the last two years, advancing to the College Basketball Invitational semifinal in 2010 before the NCAA Tournament last season. Princeton made the postseason annually from 1996-2002 and then only once from 2003-09, in the 2004 NCAAs.

    Princeton is the third straight opponent of four to open the season for N.C. State that played in the NCAA Tournament last year. UNC Asheville and Morehead State did as well, and so did Vanderbilt, the Wolfpack's opponent after Princeton.

    Princeton led the Ivy League last season in scoring defense (63.0 ppg), field goal percentage defense (.330), rebounding margin (+4.1 rpg) and defensive rebounding percentage (.732).

    Princeton has never faced Mark Gottfried when he was a player at Oral Roberts or Alabama, or when he was a coach at UCLA, Murray State or Alabama. Gottfried left UCLA after the Bruins won the national title in 1995 to take over Murray State, one year before Princeton's famous tournament win over UCLA. Henderson's Northwestern teams did not face Alabama during Gottfried's time there either.

    N.C. State is one of two ACC teams Princeton will face this season as the Tigers will head to Florida State for a Dec. 30 game. The FSU game will also be on an ESPN network (ESPN3) as the Tigers lead the Ivy with four ESPN network appearances.


    Princeton athletics contributed to this report.


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