Even on another continent, against players as young as 17 and as old as 33, the Princeton men's basketball team can pick up a few lessons to take back home.
After a day of sightseeing and rest, the Princeton men's basketball team fell 76-66 to Assignia Manresa, a Spanish first-division team, in Princeton's first of four games on the 10-day trip to Spain. The game was played at the municipal sport pavilion in Sant Julia de Vilatorta, about an hour north of Barcelona. The Tigers will return to the venue Sunday for their second game against second-division team CB Prat.
Princeton led by as many as six points late in the first quarter, but Manresa took advantage of what became 26 Princeton turnovers as well as plenty of free throw chances to grow a lead that became as large as 14.
Manresa outshot Princeton just 50 percent to 48 percent, but the Tigers had 12 more chances from the field than their Spanish opponents, making 24 of 50 to Manresa's 23 of 46. Manresa tried twice as many free throws as the Tigers, hitting 18 of 22 to 6 of 11 for Princeton.
The Tigers also had eight more turnovers than Manresa, 26-18, while rebounds were in favor of Princeton, 36-34.
Senior Ian Hummer led all scorers with 21 points, with junior Will Barrett (13) and senior Brendan Connolly (12) also in double-figures for the Tigers. Barrett's game was his first with Princeton since suffering an injury last November that ended his season.
Barrett played a game-high 33 minutes, while Chris Clement, with T.J. Bray and Jimmy Sherburne sitting the contest out, saw 32 minutes in the backcourt.
Oliver Arteaga, a 29-year-old Spaniard, led Manresa with 16 points, while two other American-born players, 33-year-old Michigan alum Josh Asselin and 27-year-old Tulsa alum Charles Ramsdell, were in double figures with 11 and 12 points, respectively.
Earlier in the day, the Tigers took a bus tour of Barcelona, making stops at the Antoni Gaudi-designed Parc Guell and the Montjuic hill, home to several 1992 Olympic venues and overlooks of the city. Saturday, the team will visit another Gaudi landmark, La Sagrada Familia, and take in a Flamenco performance.
For a video recap of the day, including postgame thoughts from head coach Mitch Henderson, view the video on this page. Below, a daily blog post from the trip, this time with senior guard Jimmy Sherburne.
Day 2 in Barcelona was a definite success. So many activities! Where do I begin? The beginning seems like a good place to start.
Our day got underway with perfect weather and a fantastic bus tour. The first stop brought us to the the famous Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi's Parc Guell. Accompanied by panoramic views of the city, the park's architectural masterpieces were breathtaking even to a novice like myself. (Somewhere my brother the architecture student is shaking his head.)
We then drove back towards the sea to the other end of the city and visited the Olympic Stadium that held the opening ceremonies and track and field events in the 1992 Olympics. With the excitement from the 2012 Games not totally extinguished, I think we all appreciated it a bit more. Not far from the stadium was a small park on top of a hill by the sea. The view was incredible, to say the least.
After the bus tour, we scattered for lunch. Sure, Brian, Denton, and I went to Burger King, but I would argue that visiting an American chain in a foreign country is just as interesting as hitting a local joint. So don't judge me.
The three of us then stopped in the Nike store around the corner from our hotel. We soon found out it was home to one of the world's 17 Nike iD studios. I didn't make my own pair, but I did buy a pair of the Jordan Olympic 7's. As the team's chief sneakerhead--a title soon to be lost upon [freshman] Mike Washington's arrival--the fact that we were in the city where he made the shoes famous 20 years ago was pretty cool for me.
After a nap and a buffet lunch, it was time to switch into game mode. A long, but peaceful drive through the Spanish countryside brought us to the gym to play a solid Manresa squad of Spain's top pro league. It certainly wasn't always pretty, but there were a lot of good things to take away from our 10-point loss. I expect us to bounce back with a win on Sunday.
As I write this, we are on the bathroom-less bus back to Barcelona with a ways to go, and my bladder is not cooperating. Now TJ is snoring, a recurring theme of this trip. (At this rate, you ought to prepare yourself for a very boring blog post when it's his turn.) This will likely be the low point of my trip, which I suppose is a really good thing.
Dios mio! I almost forgot. Chris [Clement] got dunked on. Hard. I'm guessing that will be the low point of his trip, which may or may not be a really good thing.