Coming off of a Monday night loss to Delaware, the Quakers failed to reverse their momentum, falling to Fairfield on Tuesday night, 62-53, in the consolation game of the NIT Season Tip-Off (see recap). Despite the loss, the Quakers made some changes from Monday night that altered the tone against the Stags.
THE GOOD: Fran, again. The 6-foot-8 big man took leadership of the team from both inside and outside the lane, accounting for 31 of the Quakers’ 53 points. He also led the team with 10 rebounds and attacked the boards underneath, capitalizing on several missed shots by Jamal Lewis (more on that later). Penn’s rebounding was much better overall, as the Quakers outrebounded the Stags, 38-30 and outscored them in the paint, 30-20.
THE BAD: Shooters not named Fran. Penn shot 35.8 percent from the field for the game overall, connecting on just 19 of their 53 shots. Taking Dougherty out of the equations, they hit on just 6-of-32. The Red and Blue were even more dismal from three-point land, hitting just 2-of-14 shots from beyond the arc. Despite numerous attempts, Jamal Lewis could not capitalize on any his four three-pointers and Miles Cartwright had a terrible night, shooting just 2-for-8 from the field. Cartwright didn’t display the same vital leadership on the court he did against UMBC, or even Monday night against Delaware. With 55.6 seconds left in the game, he fouled out for the second consecutive night — but this time he was the only Penn player to do so.
THE UGLY: Penn's first-half defense. Fairfield sunk three three-pointers in the first half to which Penn defenders responded lackadaisically, jogging back on offense with little display of emotion. The Quakers made all those treys easy too, routinely failing to get their hands up on defense to challenge long-range shots.
THE BETTER, Part 1: Penn’s white uniforms. They proved far less abusive to the eyes and made look Penn slightly more professional than those tacky red monstrosities they sported on Monday night. Shame then, that Fairfield sported jerseys almost identical in color scheme (red background, black lettering) to Penn’s uniforms from last night.
THE BETTER, Part 2: Coach Bowman’s teaching moments from the bench. Bowman emphasized the learning process rather than the loss. As the assistant coach told Cartwright on the bench immediately after he fouled out, “You try, you learn, you move on.”