Hans Brase kept an even keel as he looked forward to making his first start for the Princeton University men’s basketball team when it hosted Rider last Thursday.
“It was just a normal game; I just happened to be out there at the tip,” said Brase, a 6’8, 231-pound freshman from Clover, S.C., who starred at the Hill School (Pa.).
“I have been playing basketball for a while. It is just like any other game. The goal is 10 feet, the court is the same size. It is just basketball really.”
Brase proceeded to show a lot of game, scoring a team-high 17 points as the Tigers pulled away to a 62-45 victory before 1,570 at Jadwin Gym.
Establishing an immediate connection with Tiger senior star Ian Hummer helped Brase knife through the Rider defense.
“When I got on the block, he would cut and there were wide open lanes,” said Brase, reflecting on his work with Hummer.
“When he got out, I would cut and he would find me so it was just really fun to play with him.”
It was fun for Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson to see Brase make an immediate impact.
“Hans is just a player; he is capable of doing a lot of things,” said Henderson, whose team snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 4-6 with the victory.
“I thought Hans gave us a real nice lift today in scoring. He has to just keep working because there is a lot there. He really helped us today.”
In addition to scoring, Brase helped Princeton handle the Broncs’ defensive pressure.
“He sees and he is another person who can open the floor,” added Henderson, whose team wraps up the 2012 portion of its schedule with a game at Akron on December 30.
“We are big and sometimes slow. It helps to have somebody who can really pass because Denton [Koon] and Ian are probably our fastest guys. He is learning and having a quick learning curve is the key for us.”
Another key for Princeton was being aggressive in driving to the basket.
“I think they were just looking for each other better,” said Henderson, who got 15 points apiece from Hummer and Koon.
“We are 10-of-19 from 2 in the first half and we are 26-of-48 for the game. I thought they really understood to establish what was important which was continuing to get the ball inside and looking to go to the rim.”
Brase, for his part, is looking to continue to make an impact inside for the Tigers.
“I just try to do whatever the team needs,” said Brase. “If the team needs me to play center, I’ll play center.”