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Tigers look for redemption in home opener vs. Cougars

Princeton men’s basketball (0-1) returns home after an opening game loss, 85-75, to the Butler Bulldogs to take on BYU (1-0) at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14, in the Tigers’ home opener at Jadwin Gym. BYU and Princeton have played five times in the history of the two teams, with BYU winning all five, a trend that Princeton will be looking to break. Last year in Provo, Princeton played the Cougars in an extremely close season opener, losing only 82—73.

Last year when these two teams met, one of the deciding factors was BYU’s advantage on the glass. The Cougars out-rebounded the Tigers 52-37, which led to a 22-12 advantage in second-chance points. The challenge for BYU this time around will be how to replace its top rebounders from that game, Eric Mika, who had 18, and Nick Emery, who had eight. The threat from the Cougars on the glass this year will be forward Yoeli Childs, who had the second-highest rebound total last year for BYU,  272 points behind Mika. For a Princeton team that graduated its top two rebounders (Spencer Weisz ’17 and Steven Cook ’17), a lot of the work will fall to junior guard Myles Stephens. Stephens was last year’s third-leading rebounder and was one of the co-leaders in rebounding in Sunday’s game against Butler. The Tigers were out-rebounded against Butler by a margin of 31-18, including 5-0 on the offensive glass which lead to seven second-chance points, so no doubt this has been a big focus of head coach Mitch Henderson during practice this week.

For Princeton, it’s all about the offense that Princeton’s own Big Three of Stephens, junior guard Devin Cannady, and senior guard Amir Bell can bring to the game. On Sunday, the three combined scored 55 of the team’s 75 points, led by Bell with 22. Cannady and Stephens both bring back important experience to the team as starters from last season. Stephens in particular had a really strong end to the season being named to the All-Ivy First Team, as well as winning the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year and the Ivy League Tournament MVP. Bell was the sixth man on the team last year, leading all non-starters in points, and should be set for a big senior year if Sunday is an indicator of what is to come.

If you are unable to make the trip down to Jadwin Gym on Wednesday night, there are a few other ways that you can watch the game. It will be streamed live on the Ivy League Network and will be on television on NBC Sports Philadelphia. Radio coverage will be provided on 103.3 FM in Princeton, which can also be accessed through the TuneIn App. And lastly, @Princeton_Hoops, the official Twitter of the men’s basketball team, will be tweeting live with in-game updates.