The Quakers (1-2) look to rebound after losing two straight in the NIT Tip-Off Tournament, while Drexel (0-2) is seeking its first win of the season. Sports Editor Alyssa Kress, Associate Sports Editor Kenny Kasper and basketball beat writer John Phillips are at the Palestra to bring you all the action:
After a one-year hiatus, the Battle of 33rd Street is back Saturday afternoon, as Penn takes on Drexel. The last time the two teams played was in November 2010. The West Philly rivalry returns with the hopes to pack the Palestra. To get the hype up, "Dac Pack films" — the Dac Pack being Drexel's equivalent of the Red and Blue Crew — made a promotional video with the two student groups along with Drexel and Penn Athletics. The Quaker vs. Mario rivalry is seen below along with students from the respective schools.
Looks like the Palestra could host a postseason basketball tourney after all, but Quakers fans won't be the ones filling the stands.
Instead, Drexel is making a bid to host the Colonial Athletic Association's conference tournament in 2013, CSNPhilly reports. Virginia Commonwealth has hosted the tournament at the Richmond Coliseum since 1990, but the Rams are leaving the CAA and joining the Atlantic 10 starting this fall. The Palestra is one of the gyms under consideration to host the tourney.
A conference tourney hasn't been held at the Palestra since 1995, when the Atlantic 10 finished a seven-year run at the gym. The Dragons would hope to take advantage of the location change, just as the Virginia teams in the CAA took advantage of the tournament's locality — a non-Virginia school hasn't won the CAA title since UNC-Wilmington won in 2006.
Two other locations under consideration are Atlantic City and Baltimore, and league officials say a final decision will be made shortly.
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The Quakers (5-2) will take on the Dragons (5-3) at noon this afternoon at the Palestra. Last season, the Red and Blue suffered a 31-point loss to their City 6 rival, but with a new and improved defense this year, today's matinee promises to be a much closer contest. Follow along as Mike Wisniewski and Lucas O'Connor bring you the action live:
In the second game of the season, Drexel defeated Penn, 62-31. The 31-point deficit was the Quakers' worst loss on the year until the 51-point defeat to Princeton in the season finale.
Penn opened with a 9-0 run to start the game, but the Dragons closed out the final 13 minutes of the first with a 22-3 run to lead at the half, 22-12.
The Quakers shot just 11-for-50 from the field (22%) and went 2-for-15 from beyond the arc (13%). On the opposite end of the spectrum, Drexel converted 24-of-49 shots (49%) and made 7-of-17 from three-point land (41%).
No Quakers reached double digits. Alyssa Baron led the team with eight points in only the second game of her college career.
The Quakers now have one less thing to worry about for Wednesday night's showdown against No. 12 Villanova.
Freshman phenom and McDonald's All-American JayVaughn Pinkston was suspended by the university for the spring semester and is off the Wildcats' lineup for the remainder of the season, according to ESPN. Last month, the frosh was charged with two counts of simple assault and harassment at an off-campus apartment. While the incident occurred before Pinkston saw any game-time action, the power forward was "expected to contribute immediately." Pinkston, who hasn't played yet this season, will likely return to Villanova in June as a redshirt freshman.
What does this mean for the Quakers? They couldn't take advantage of a similar situation in this season's loss to Drexel, despite the suspension of Jamie Harris and Kevin Phillip, who are facing charges from a summer robbery incident. Can the Red and Blue take advantage Wednesday?
Saturday night’s 21-point loss against Drexel exposed a few recurring issues that the Quakers will have to address during nonconference play if they hope to turn things around before heading into the Ivy slate against Yale, January 28.
In the presser, coach Jerome Allen opted to discuss his team’s inability to execute on the basics: rebounding, defending and allowing Drexel penetration. However, I’m a little concerned that the team’s problems run deeper than execution.
Saturday’s performance against Drexel was eerily familiar to last year’s opener — a 70-55 loss to Penn State. To jog your memory: The Quakers came out strong, trading baskets with the Nittany Lions for much of the first half and entered the locker room down just seven, 36-29. In the opening minutes Tyler Bernadini dominated, scoring the team’s first 10 points but was benched for the second half of the first frame with three fouls and used only sparingly the rest of the game — he played just 17 minutes total — completely taking him out of rhythm as he scored just two points the rest of the game.
Meanwhile, guard play offensively was lackluster as Zack Rosen went just 2-for-8 from the field and was 2-for-6 from three point range. Darren smith was 1-for-11 from the field and 0-for-7 from distance. Overall, the Quakers were 5-for-23 from three-point range and 14-for-22 from the charity stripe. Defensively, Penn had trouble locating Penn State Guard Talor battle, who was 11-for-20 from the field en route to scoring a game high 27 points and grabbed 10 defensive rebounds.
After the game, coach Glen Miller talked about improving on the little things:
A few observations from last night's Battle of 33rd Street:
The good: Freshman Fran Dougherty put in some quality minutes in the post — 17 to be exact — and grabbed 5 rebounds and 5 points, including a monstrous put back dunk in the second half.
The bad: 27.3 percent field goal shooting in the second half. When the Dragons took command of the game in the second half, they weren't forcing turnovers — they were just rebounding Penn misses.
The ugly: The Drexel student in the DAC-Pack section making an absurd bird noise during Penn free throws. Overall, the contest brought out a great rivalry between the schools, and attendance was 6,879 in the second home game of the season. The two student sections were pretty full. The chairbacks, however, were not.
It was my first game ever watching Penn basketball purely as a fan. Nevertheless, Penn athletic communications let me film the post-game press conferences, even wearing my Red and Blue Crew t-shirt. At top, just Jerome Allen. In the middle, Zack Rosen and Fran Dougherty. At the bottom, Drexel coach Bruiser Flint, guard Derrick Thomas (middle) and guard Chris Fouch (left).