Junior forward Will Barrett made an immediate impact on his return to the Princeton men's basketball team, drilling a late 3-pointer to seal a 57-53 win in the team's season-opening contest at Buffalo Saturday afternoon.
Barrett also led Princeton with 20 points and a game-high nine rebounds. He didn't play after Nov. 30 of last year due to a foot injury, though he played a big role in Princeton's four-game trip to Spain two months ago.
Princeton led for the entire first half and by as much as eight before Buffalo trimmed the lead to one and began a back-and-forth battle after the break. Sprinting away from a 37-37 tie with less than 12 minutes to go in the second half, the Tigers went on a 10-3 run and never relinquished the lead.
Buffalo threatened with a Tony Watson 3-pointer with 1:27 to go, and game-high scorer Javon McCrea (22 points) split a pair from the line with 41 seconds left to make it 54-53.
That was the last point the Bulls had, as Barrett buried the 3-pointer with 10 seconds left on Princeton's final possession, and the Bulls went empty on their last try.
Princeton will open its home schedule Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Northeastern. The Huskies are also 1-0, beating Boston University 65-64 Friday night.
• Barrett surpassed his previous career best in scoring by a considerable margin, topping the 13 points he scored on Jan. 24, 2010 against Goucher. His nine rebounds were also a career high, topping the eight he had in his last game against Lafayette on Nov. 30, 2011.
• Princeton won its opener for the third time in four years. The Tigers beat another MAC foe, Central Michigan, to open the 2009-10 season before beating Rutgers in the opener two years ago.
• Princeton was efficient from the free-throw line, making 13 of 16 for an 81.2% clip.
• The Tigers were not so hot from beyond the arc, starting 0 of 10 but finishing 6 of 23 overall (26.1%).
• The teams shot comparably from the field (34.5% for Princeton, 34.9% for Buffalo), and the Bulls outrebounded Princeton 37-33. Princeton was significantly better with ball security, forcing 18 turnovers while committing only 10 of their own.
• Ian Hummer finished with 12 points, boosting his career total to 1,182 points. He's still in 13th place on the Princeton career list, with Steve Goodrich '98 up next at 1,207.
• Princeton has won three straight against MAC foes after winning the 09-10 opener at Central Michigan and Buffalo's visit to Jadwin Gym last season. The Tigers will face three MAC foes in all this season, with trips to Kent State and Akron coming next month.
• The Tigers played nine players, with junior Chris Clement making his first career start and freshman Hans Brase making his career debut. Brase played 11 minutes, making 1 of 2 free throws for his first career point.
• Ian Hummer tied a career high with seven assists, reaching the total he had last season against Rider on Dec. 14, 2011. T.J. Bray had six assists, one of his career-best total.
• Clay Wilson buried three 3-pointers (3 of 7 tried) on his way to 11 points. The sophomore's previous best scoring total was three points against Brown on March 3, 2012 on the only previous 3-pointer of his collegiate career.