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.

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: 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).



Behind Enemy Lines: St. Joe’s assistant Mark Bass

After starting out 0-2 in Big 5 play, Penn (3-13, 0-1 Ivy) will take on St. Joe’s (9-6) at the Palestra on Saturday evening. For this edition of Behind Enemy Lines, I caught up with Hawks’ assistant coach Mark Bass, a St. Joe’s alumnus and former player who competed against Jerome Allen and Penn during his playing days. During our conversation, we talked about coach Phil Martelli’s commitment to Big 5 tradition, the Hawks’ turnaround over the last three seasons and more.

Last year, this game was listed as a home game for Penn at the Palestra, but this year it’s listed as a home game for St. Joe’s, despite also being played at the Palestra. Do you get the sense that your team enjoys coming to the Palestra for these games?

I think coach Martelli — that’s a question for him to answer, because he likes playing at the Palestra. I think any opponent would love to play the game on their home floor … But I think in his point of view, Big 5 game, he thinks it should be played at the Palestra … But personally I would love this game on home field to give us all the advantages we can get.

In last year’s game between Penn and St. Joe’s, Zack Rosen, Tyler Bernardini and Rob Belcore combined for 52 points. How does their absence change your gameplan against Penn?

I think last year’s team with those three guys — they were seniors. They had senior leadership, and we were playing with sophomores and juniors.

And now, there’s this turn that we’re playing with juniors and seniors, and they’re playing with some underclassmen. So hopefully our upperclassmen can do the same things that their seniors did last year. Those three gentlemen dominated the game last year, and we didn’t have an answer for them.

What do you see about Jerome Allen as a player that is reflected in the teams he coaches?

His passion as a player and as a coach just boils over. You can see how much passion he has on the sidelines, and he played with that same passion. And of course it rubs off on his own players, and that’s what Jerome brought as a player and he’s bringing it as a coach — his passion for the game.

Just two seasons ago, St. Joe’s finished the year well below .500 at 11-22. What have been the keys to the program’s improvement since then?

I just think guys getting better — getting better in the offseason, working on their game, working on their body, just getting better.

And that’s basketball because now in a couple years you’re going to be saying the same thing about this young group of guys at Penn. They’re taking their bumps in the road right now …so next year they should be better. And that’s what happened with us. Two years ago, we won 11 games. Last year, we won 20.

So it’s about getting better, not getting down on yourself and getting better as an individual and as a team. I think if you look at our team and you look at the Penn team now, they were along similar lines. That’s what I see with our team, and I think this young core group of guys that Penn has are doing the same thing that we have. They’re going to get better just as we’ve gotten better and hopefully continue to get better.

Do you have any memorable moments from your playing days competing against Jerome Allen and Penn?

I just remember Jerome Allen and Matt Maloney — those two guys were a great backcourt — and just playing against those two and assistant coach Ira Bowman. It was just some good matchups and memorable moments playing in the Palestra against those guys.

I really can’t pick out a specific game or what-have-you. I just know matching up it was going to be a tough night for us guarding those three guys night in and night out.

Greatest Quakers of the Last 50 Years

Jack Scheuer over at Philahoops is choosing the five best players from each of the City 6 schools over the past 50 years as part of an ongoing feature, and now he's gotten to Penn. Here's what he came up with:

1. Corky Calhoun

2. Ron Haigler

3. Keven McDonald

4. Jerome Allen

5. Zack Rosen

Interesting to see Matt Maloney left off, and Quaker fans who only remember the last 20 years or so will also have a soft spot for Ugonna Onyekwe, Matt Langel and Mark Zoller. Those who can remember a little further back may consider Tony Price or even Stan Pawlak as well, not to mention Mr. Bilsky himself. Who are your top five Quakers of the past 50 years?


Turn Back the Clock: Nov. 28, 1994

The Quakers comeback to grab overtime victory over Lehigh, 82-79
November 28, 1994

Though Penn had some trouble at Lehigh last week, back in 1994, a win against the Mountain Hawks — then the Engineers — was supposed to be a gimme for the Red and Blue.

For the majority of the game, the Quakers looked extremely beatable. The shots weren’t falling and they were having trouble with free throws and rebounding as well.

In the first half, the Red and Blue went 0-for-12 from beyond the arc while Lehigh grabbed 21 defensive rebounds. The only Penn player with more than four points in the first half was Eric Moore.

With Lehigh sinking the majority of its shots, the Engineers took a 36-29 lead into the locker room.

Even as the Red and Blue went on a run early in the second, the Engineers kept chugging along, building up a lead of 15 points before the Quakers finally woke up.

The Penn team that the fans were searching for in vain all night long finally emerged in the final minutes of regulation and overtime.

Matt Maloney tied the game with just over four minutes to play and though the teams went back and forth, Lehigh still led, 70-69, with less than a minute on the clock.

With 48 seconds remaining in regulation, Jerome Allen sank two free throws to put the Quakers up by one. But Lehigh quickly came back with a three-pointer from Rashawne Glenn. On the ensuing possession, Allen nailed a jumper off a pass from Maloney with five seconds to go, sending the Quakers to overtime.

In the extra session, Allen led the team to victory, adding seven points and finishing with a total of 22.

After the game, Allen said the Quakers fought through adversity to get the win.

“Character is made through adversity and it really brought out the best in us,” he said. “From this point on, I hope all our opponents bring out the best in us.”

The win marked the first of the year for the Quakers, who ultimately finished with a 22-6 record and unblemished 14-0 Ivy League title. They lost, however, in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Alabama.

From the Archives: Maloney, Allen and the 1992-93 Quakers

I wrote a piece for today's DP about the soon-to-be newest Quaker in the Big 5 Hall of Fame, Matt Maloney.

I couldn't get a hold of the former star guard, so I turned to the DP archives to find out what I could. Then I stumbled on this gem from the DP's November 1992 basketball preview issue:

(click image to enlarge)

There's Jerome Allen, whose favorite song was Long After the Love [Has Lost it's Shine], loved the Eagles and fried chicken, and predicted in 10 years he would be "teaching in Philly schools." It took more like 15 years, but he is in many ways a teacher at a school in Philly.

Beside him is Matt "Money" Maloney, the U2-phile, and Eric "Bean" Moore, and Shawn "Stretch" Trice, who predicted he'd be far from Philadelphia in 10 years. Sorry Shawn, but that assistant coaching gig at Temple is getting in the way of your dreams!

See the full roster spread after the jump if you care to know what other bad R&B songs the Quakers used to listen to on their walkmen. Continue reading

Penn basketball memories: The Allen & Maloney years

One of the greatest back court tandems in Penn history, Jerome Allen and Matt Maloney lit it up for the Quakers in the early 90's. Here's a look back at the father-son rivalry that developed in the Big 5 those years.

Your favorite Penn basketball memory?

I was in Wharton Grad from 1993 to 1995 when we had the amazing Jerome Allen & Matt Maloney back court.  It was truly incredible to see teams trying to stop those two guys.  Well my favorite memory was seeing Penn in Big Five action against Temple those years. Matt Maloney's father was an assistant to then Temple coach, John Chainey... I think (not sure) but Temple chose not to recruit Matt, that and playing against (in front) of his Dad, all the Temple players knowing knowing who Matt was, always brought the best out of both Maloneys! Seeing Matt sink a three with two Temple guts in his face was particularly great — these games, as in general seeing future professionals Allen & Maloney, were a real treasure.

-Bill Filip, Wharton MBA '95