Turn Back the Clock: April 3, 2001

Penn basketball coach Fran Dunphy removes his name from consideration for the La Salle head coaching job, choosing to return for his 13th season at the Palestra.

All signs pointed toward the legendary coach leaving, but what seemed like a perfect match turned out not to be.

Long-time La Salle head coach William "Speedy" Morris was forced to resign following eight consecutive losing seasons, and Dunphy was one of the primary targets.

Dunphy quickly became a popular pick to fill the Explorers' coaching vacancy due to his connections to La Salle. He graduated from the school in 1970 and served as an assistant first under Lefty Ervin and later under Morris.

Speculation that Dunphy would take the job increased as the Penn coach met with the athletic directors at La Salle on three occasions regarding the head coaching job. However, Dunphy announced on this day that he is removing his name from consideration for the vacant post in order to remain at Penn.

After turning down the job, Dunphy would remain at Penn until 2006, when he left to coach at Temple. He became the first coach ever to lead two different Big 5 programs. He was approached one more time by La Salle in 2004 to be their head coach, but he turned it down again.

Reminiscing with former Penn guard Scott Kegler

COURTESY OF LAUREN KEGLER | DPFormer Penn basketball three-point specialist Scott Kegler (center) has coordinated Saturday morning pickup hoops sessions at the Palestra for over a decade. Andy Baratta (left) has also coordinated the games in the past. Michael Root (right) is one of many participants in the tradition, which dates back to 1989.

COURTESY OF LAUREN KEGLER | DP
Former Penn basketball three-point specialist Scott Kegler (center) has coordinated Saturday morning pickup hoops sessions at the Palestra for over a decade. Andy Baratta (left) has also coordinated the games in the past. Michael Root (right) is one of many participants in the tradition.

I caught up with former Penn guard Scott Kegler earlier this month for a story on the long tradition of Saturday morning pickup sessions at the Palestra. 

But we also talked about the upward trajectory of Penn basketball from his freshman year of 1991-92 to his senior year of 1994-95, and how a program that had single-digit wins before the Class of '95 came on the scene won the final 43 Ivy games of Kegler's Quakers  career. Here's the '90s rise of Penn basketball as "Kegs" remembers it:

"When we showed up, the team wasn’t very good. The year before they were 9-17. It was coach Dunphy’s either second or third year, I can’t remember. And so it was intense. The team wasn’t any good, we weren’t any good. We wanted to be good, we didn’t know how or if we’d be any good. And the first year, it was just a struggle. We all were competing against each other for playing time. Our freshman class was Jerome [Allen], Eric Moore, Shawn Trice, and me. All those guys wanted to play. We were just beating each other up in practice. Jerome was playing, Shawn was playing, Eric was playing, I was playing a little bit. And we got better.

We beat Penn State that year in Hershey [87-86 2OT on Jan. 25, 1992]. It was a funny game because we won the game in regulation, we went into the locker room, we were celebrating, changing our clothes. The referees came in and said the game’s not over. Something happened, there’s still time left on the clock, you’ve gotta come back out and play. So we had to come out on the floor and play a couple of seconds to win. But that was a big win for us because it was a Big Ten team, a scholarship school and we win, let’s build on that. We were in the Ivy League hunt until we played at Yale, and Yale had this guy named Casey Cammann, and we lost and that really put us out of contention.

We lost to Princeton and we lost to Yale, so we knew we couldn’t win. We watched the game video - coach Dunphy was so mad - we watched the video all the way from New Haven to Brown. He’s slamming the overhead bins. And we practiced the next day at Brown hard. He lined us all up on the sideline, rolled the ball out on the floor and it was a game of if you could dive on the floor and get it first. We were running sprints, we won that night.

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Turn Back the Clock: March 17, 2006

After clinching a second consecutive Ivy League championship, the Penn men's basketball falls just short of upsetting No. 2 seed Texas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

March 17, 2006

Appearing in the Big Dance for the ninth time in 14 years, the Quakers went head-to-head with the Texas Longhorns, one of the top teams in the nation.

Led by Ivy League Player of the Year Ibby Jaaber, the Red and Blue gave the Longhorns a run for their money before ultimately falling short, 60-52.

Penn led 23-22 at halftime, due in large part to coach Fran Dunphy's savvy gameplan.

While the Longhorns' lineup featured several future NBA players, including LaMarcus Aldridge and Daniel Gibson, the Quakers used a controlled pace early to slow down the game.

Dunphy's gameplan effectively tried to eliminate the talent gap between the two teams, and allowed the Quakers to dictate the style of play.

And for the first 20 minutes, Penn controlled the game, limiting the Longhorns ability to score on fast-break opportunities, or in transition.

Although the Longhorns eventually took the lead midway through the second half, the Quakers remained competitive throughout.

Brian Grandieri's layup cut Texas' lead to one with 6:28 to play, and after the Longhorns missed a shot on the other end, the Red and Blue called timeout.

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Turn Back the Clock: Feb. 14, 1993

The Penn men's basketball team caps off a weekend sweep of Columbia and Cornell, remains undefeated in the conference at the halfway mark of the Ivy League season

Feb. 14, 1993

On Valentine's Day 1993, who would have thought that the Quakers were in the midst of something historic?

Entering the weekend with an undefeated record in the Ancient Eight, the Red and Blue sought to dispatch two New York teams and continue the team's march toward a conference championship.

Following a matchup between Columbia and Penn on Friday, the Quakers hosted Cornell at The Palestra on Saturday, and squeaked out a four-point victory.

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Turn Back the Clock: Jan. 30th, 1993

Penn men's basketball topples the Princeton Tigers, 64-46, on its way to an undefeated Ivy season.
January 30th, 1993

One of the sweetest moments for any team is when they can come together and prove the critics who doubted them wrong. From the opening tip-off in a packed Palestra on that Saturday night, the Quakers did just that.

Penn (10-4 overall, 3-0 Ivy) pummeled the Tigers (10-5, 2-1) all over the court on their way to a decisive 64-46 victory. Before the game, the Quakers side was heavily criticized and labeled "too soft" following back-to-back losses to Big 5 foes Temple and St. Joseph's.

Against Princeton, however, the Red and Blue was anything but soft. In front of a sold-out crowd of 8,700 raucous fans (the Palestra's first sell-out since 1984), the Quakers dominated every aspect of the game. Penn held a 34-18 advantage on the boards while also shooting a lights-out 54.3 percent from the field and only committing four turnovers.

The stellar backcourt tandem of sophomores Jerome Allen and Matt Maloney (both would go on to be three-time First-Team All-Ivy during their college careers) highlighted the Quakers' fantastic performance. Allen put up 11 points and dished out 7 assists, while Maloney led all scorers with 18 points along with 5 assists.

At halftime, the game was still very tight, with Princeton holding a slim 26-25 advantage. But the Quakers stormed away in the second period by playing nearly flawless basketball and outscoring the Tigers 39-20 to finish out the game.

By beating Princeton at home, Penn reclaimed its title as the premier basketball program in the Ivy League. The Red and Blue used that momentum to run the Ivy League table and finished with a perfect 14-0 Ivy record on the season, ending Princeton's streak of four consecutive league titles.

The matchup was a battle of two legendary coaches. Of course, current Temple coach Fran Dunphy led the Quakers from the sidelines. Dunphy has the second-most wins of any Ivy League coach in history. The only Ivy League coach with more all-time victories? The man standing across from Dunphy that night, Princeton's head coach Pete Carril (famed for perfecting the Princeton offense).

 

 

Game 18: Temple — The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Good Bad & Ugly
Penn was not able to close out the final Big 5 matchup in the way it had hoped in a 76-69 loss to Temple. The Quakers (3-15) jumped to an early lead, which got up to nine points in the second half at the Liacouras Center. But midway through the frame, the Owls went on a 27-12 run, allowing them to take the lead and clinch the victory.

THE GOOD: PLP. Sophomore guard Patrick Lucas-Perry was on fire for the Quakers Wednesday night. When he was on the court, he made himself noticed. Going 3-for-3 from beyond the arc during the first half in addition to netting three free-throws for 12 first-half points. For his 27 minutes on the night, he went 4-for-5, making another trey in the second. Temple coach Fran Dunphy was disappointed that the Owls had trouble containing Penn's "best jump shooter."

THE BAD: Coverage on Wyatt late in the second. Looking at Khalif Wyatt's five first-half points, you might wonder why Penn was unable to pull away with the win on such tight coverage of Temple's main man. But midway through the second, the senior forward exploded, and the Quakers couldn't answer as he notched 21 second-half points for a total of 26. After sinking a three-pointer five minutes into the frame, the Red and Blue just could not stop him, especially after he scored nine straight points for the Owls in less than two minutes midway through the half.

THE UGLY: 27-12 second-half Temple run. The Quakers just couldn't keep up with the Owls after the shift in Wyatt's game and a set of threes from graduate student guard T.J. DiLeo in addition to a ten-point second-half performance from sophomore forward Anthony Lee completely turned the tide of the game. The Red and Blue got up to a nine-point lead, but just started to run out of exhaust on the defensive end, as the Owls took the lead and ultimately the 'W'.

Haiku Corner

The lovechild of a                                                                                                                              T-Rex and a cheetah:                                                                                                               Colin Kaepernick
                                                                                                                                                            Locked in the basement                                                                                                           Quakers' only thought: "oh crap,                                                                                                     we're playing Temple"
                                                                                                                                                  Jerome lies in wait                                                                                                                              for the day he can finally                                                                                                              grow a Dunphy 'stache
                                                                                                                                                       No Giroux, no Schenn                                                                                                                         no Hartsy could dent the big                                                                                                     brick wall of Brodeur

Behind Enemy Lines: Temple’s Fran Dunphy

Picture 37

Alvin Loke | DP File Photo

The Quakers (3-14, 0-3 Big 5) will be taking on Temple (12-5, 1-0) Wednesday night in their final Big 5 contest of the season. Though this is Fran Dunphy’s seventh year as coach of Penn's Big 5 foe, this will be the first time he takes on former player Ira Bowman, who has latched onto fellow Dunphy alum Jerome Allen as an assistant coach. Both squads have faced a lot of a changes in the past year, but the Owls have continued to dominate. I spoke with Temple coach Fran Dunphy about this familiar matchup and what his plans are heading into this local game.

After your first year as coach of Penn, you lost your top three scorers and struggled the next year.  Do you think the situation faced by Coach Allen has any parallels to what you inherited when you took the Penn job in 1989?

Dunphy: I hadn’t given it a lot of thought, but as I go down Penn’s roster and I see the young guys that they have and the hope for the future that they have, I think Jerome and everybody at Penn should feel very encouraged. I think that they are on their way to building a terrific basketball program and I think the future is very bright.

After 7 years, do you still get any special feeling when you play Penn?

Dunphy: You can’t be somewhere for as long as I was — and in this case the University of Pennsylvania — and not feel a special affinity for the place and the program and everything that it is about. Of course, then you add to it a guy that played for me and who I learned so much from as a person and as a player, so that’s a very special feeling for me. And then of course now you have on staff Ira Bowman, who also played for me. They were two great guys to coach and they have become two great friends as well.

I have tremendous memories of my days at Penn. I was the luckiest guy in America then and I am just as lucky now to have an opportunity to coach another team in the city of Philadelphia, so I feel very fortunate.

We just saw a sold-out Big 5 game at the Palestra between St. Joe's and Penn. Though now some of the games have moved to campus sites, do you ever wish that the Big 5 went back to playing all of the games there?

Dunphy: Well that’s certainly how I grew up and how it was when I was a player at La Salle for three years as well.  All of the games were in the Palestra, so that’s what college basketball in Philadelphia was all about. Certainly the Palestra was college basketball’s arena. But now, times have changed, and we have all had to adapt to it. We have a very nice arena on campus. For us to go back to the Palestra to play all of our Big 5 games would be difficult for our university and athletic department at this point. Yet, I think the purist in all of us appreciates everything that went on back in the day. Would it be great to go back and do that again? Sure it would, maybe on a one year occasion or something like that if we could interrupt things. A number of years ago we tried to have all six teams play in the Palestra on a given day as a celebration of sorts, but there were too many other complications or things that got in the way to allow that to happen again.

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Over/Under: Temple Edition

Ten point loss for Penn: OVER

Temple (12-5) plays Penn (3-14) in its last matchup before traveling to No. 9 Butler. A trap game for the Owls as they keep their attention focused on playing a national powerhouse in just three days? The problem with this theory is that Temple has already played then-No. 2 Duke, then-No. 3 Syracuse and then-No. 6 Kansas. In the so-called “trap games” right before those matchups, Temple is 2-1. Although history suggests that if Temple hopes to beat Butler, then the Owls should drop this game against Penn. Their lone victory over a top-10 opponent this season came against Syracuse after losing to Canisius three days earlier.

Still, Temple is in the hunt for a Big 5 title with a 1-0 record at this point in the season. The wheels are falling off for a Penn team that will most likely be without leading scorer Fran Dougherty for the eighth straight game. Even an unfocused Temple team, Fran Dunphy, would secure a comfortable win over the reeling Quakers, who are 0-3 against Big 5 opponents this season.

Double-double for Darien Nelson-Henry: UNDER

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Three Up, Three Down: Temple Edition

After Saturday's loss to St. Joseph's, the Quakers take to the road to face off against Big 5 rival Temple, led by former Penn head coach Fran Dunphy. Here are some predictions for the final non-conference match up for the Red and Blue this season.

Three Up-

Darien Nelson-Henry: Over the past five games, the freshman big man has averaged 13 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Nelson-Henry’s progression has been easy to notice, especially in the second half against St. Joseph’s, where the Quakers ran the offense through him in the post. Look for more of the same against Temple, especially since the only players above 6’9 for the Owls, Jimmy McDonnell and Devontae Watson, have combined for just 4.2 minutes per game.

Three point defense: Penn’s defense behind the three point arc on Saturday was well below par, giving up 11 three pointers and letting St. Joe’s take over the game. However, Temple is a very different Big 5 team, as they are 14th in the Atlantic 10 in three-point percentage, giving the Quakers a better chance of limiting long-range opportunities.

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