Run it back: Princeton 72, Lafayette 53
Ian Hummer - The 28 points are obviously the first thing that jumps out on the stat sheet, but what I find the most impressive about Hummer is his shot selection. A less intelligent player with his talent might be tempted to chuck up a bad three on occasion (especially if you think scouts might have some questions about your outside stroke) but Hummer understood where his advantage was against the Leopards. Everything was aggressive towards the hoop, with the majority of his points coming on dunks, layups or tip-ins. His 12 of 16 performance from the floor actually included a few missed layups. Add that to the 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals in just 33 minutes of action and that is about as dominant/efficient performance as you will see.
T.J. Bray - After the game, Bray admitted it took a few games to get his legs totally back underneath him after his offseason knee injury. While he didn't look bad running around before, his cuts did seems noticeably crisper Saturday and that translated into the box score. Bray had 17 points on 7 of 9 shooting. At 6-foot-5, he is way too big for most opposing point guards, especially when Denton Koon is in the game instead of Chris Clement. At least once, they isolated Bray in the post against a smaller defender. He also finished with 6 rebounds in a game where the Princeton bigs were rebounding effectively.
Tough scheduling - Before the trip to Syracuse, I asked Mitch Henderson if maybe, in a perfect would, they would have liked to face an easier opponent to bounce back from a pair of tough losses. To paraphrase his answer, he felt that the tough schedule makes a team better. Mitch 1, Me 0. The Tigers clearly got a boost of confidence after hanging around with the Orange into the second half, and played like a team that they knew should blow out a Patriot League squad. On a more technical level, they also showed that they could be effective offensively against Syracuse's zone defense, and so the Leopards chose to matchup with them in the half court. That, of course, resulted in an absolute field day for Ian Hummer.
Rebounding - After struggling a quite a bit on the glass against the smaller Rutgers, Princeton showed that their size advantage actually probably will matter a lot against teams like Lafayette, which was a pretty good stand-in for an Ivy League team. Brendan Connolly was as aggressive on the glass as he's been this season, pulling down 7 boards, and Will Barrett and Denton Koon each had 4. Even Hans Brase, in just 8 minutes off the bench, was able to come in and grab 2. Princeton ended up outrebounding the Leopards 32-21.
Starter Denton Koon - By putting 6-foot-8 Denton Koon in the starting lineup, it means that no Princeton starter is under 6-foot-5. Koon had a few ups and downs with the basketball, but the big benefit comes on the defensive end, where the length and quickness of the Tigers is really disruptive for an opposing offense. Koon also really seems to have improved as a ball handler, looking comfortable dribbling the ball up against a press. Though the move makes sense in the here and no, I'm sure its not lost on coach Henderson that by giving the sophomore important time now, he's also helping next years squad and the squad after that. Win-win-win all the way around.
Turnovers - Though it wasn't too much of an issue in the end, the Tigers could have stretched their lead a bit more in the second half if they took better care of the basketball. After the game, Hummer said that that was the one area of the game that he thought the team did execute as well as it could have, and I agree.