After opening the 2013-14 season with a convincing 67-50 win over Florida A&M last weekend, the men’s basketball team will look to start 2-0 for the first time in four years when it tips off against Butler on Saturday night in Indianapolis. The Tigers (1-0) will also look to beat the Bulldogs (1-0) for the first time, as both of the previous meetings have resulted in Butler victories.
Princeton will hope to maintain its offensive momentum from last week for its first road game of the season. Facing a larger and more physical defense, the Tigers will especially look to continued success from behind the arc. Last Sunday saw the Tigers make 12 three-pointers on 31 attempts, the most three-pointers made since last February against Dartmouth and the most threes attempted in a D-I game since 2009.
The Tigers’ more experienced players are expected to step up on the road, particularly senior forward Will Barrett and junior forward Denton Koon. Barrett made four of his six three-point attempts last Sunday for 12 points. Koon will likely come off the bench again to add major force in the paint, as he made 50 percent of his field goal attempts last Sunday to lead the Tigers with 17 points.
The Tigers also hope for major contributions from team members who were not on last year’s roster. In particular, the team looks to continue reaping the benefits of senior guard Jimmy Sherburne’s return, as Sherburne missed the entirety of the 2012-13 season due to injury. The 6-foot-3-inch Wisconsin native put up a career-best 13 points for the Tigers last Sunday in his first collegiate start. In addition, Princeton will look to some of its rookies to help out in the first career road game. Freshman forward Spencer Weisz became the first freshman to start a season opener for the Tigers in five years last Sunday, grabbing six rebounds and adding four assists in addition to his five points in an impressive start against FAMU.
The Tigers will face a Butler lineup that is not only acclimated to first-class competition, but also has leaders who have gone to the deepest stages of the NCAA Tournament. Senior Khyle Marshall poses one of the biggest threats to the Tigers’ defense, a powerful 6’6” forward who put up 19 points and 13 rebounds in Butler’s opener last Saturday. The Florida native started 35 of 36 games for the Bulldogs last season and led the team in field goal shooting (.566).
Marshall led the NCAA Tournament with 23 offensive rebounds back in 2011, but he is not the only threat in a well-established offense. Senior forward Erik Fromm, sophomore guard Kellen Dunham and junior forward Kameron Woods all reached double digits in scoring in last Saturday’s 89-58 trouncing of Lamar. Butler outscored Lamar 62-22 in the paint, a clear indicator of the threat it poses to Princeton within the arc.