Game 22: Brown – The Good, Bad & the Ugly

Good Bad & Ugly


THE GOOD: Penn's three-point shooting

There was a lot of good to around for the Quakers against the Bears, but the Red and Blue kept throwing dagger after dagger from downtown that ultimately put this one in the bag for most of the second half. Penn shot 60 percent from beyond the arc, while limiting the Bears to an atrocious 2-for-18 from downtown.

Junior Miles Cartwright, who broke his career high in points with 28 (previously 27), did so predominantly with the three ball. He went 9-for-13 from the field, including 5-for-6 from three.

THE BAD: Brown's stamina

There was an eerie feeling on press row, right around 6:40, when Brown came out to warm up. And after watching the second half unfold as it did, with Penn outscoring the Bears, 45-23, the DP's resident ghostbuster has determined the cause. Brown came with just nine players, and two of them only played a total of six minutes. Thus, Brown ran essentially a seven-man rotation the entire night. While this worked out fine in the first half, Penn was eventually able to crank the tempo up and run the few bodies that the Bears had out of the Palestra and back into the snowstorm from whence they came.

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The Palestra or Hinkle Fieldhouse?

The Palestra and Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse are two of the oldest college basketball arenas in the country and thus have often been compared to one another. The Palestra (opened in 1927) has hosted more college games than any other venue in the country, and Hinkle (opened in 1928) served as the largest arena until 1950, holding 15,000. (It now seats 10,000.)

In today's Daily Pennsylvanian, I compared the experiences of watching a game in both places after witnessing the Bulldogs beat the Quakers in Indianapolis on Jan. 2 (see column). Here, I'll give you a side-by-side visual comparison:


View from the nosebleeds, or the furthest seats from the action in each arena:

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Game 14: Lafayette- The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Good Bad & Ugly







THE GOOD - Darien Nelson-Henry

In Fran Dougherty's absence, the Quakers have needed a big man to step up in each contest, and tonight, Nelson-Henry took advantage of the opportunity. He scored 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting, and he became the go-to player on offense as Penn rallied back late in the fourth quarter.

THE BADOffensive defense

The Quakers weren't able to stop the Leopards on defense, especially in the first half, when Penn allowed Lafayette to shoot 61 percent from the field, and over 40 percent from downtown. The Red and Blue's defense was so atrocious that the Leopards' field goal percentage was closer to their free throw percentage (69 percent) than it was from behind the arc. This would be the Ugly, if Lafayette hadn't allowed Penn to shoot 59 percent in its own right.

THE UGLY - Missed clutch free throws

There's an episode of Hey Arnold, a beloved Nickelodeon TV show, where Arnold joins a basketball team, and the coach rails his son Tucker constantly because he expects him to be the star. Tucker's biggest flaw was his free throw shooting, and whenever he would missed, the coach would yell, hysterical, "YOU DON'T MISS YOUR FREE THROWS WHEN THE GAME IS ON THE LINE."

Keeping that in mind, Nelson-Henry, who had a great night otherwise, went to the line with the game tied and just over two minutes remaining. Just one free throw would give Penn the lead for the first time since the first half. He steps up for the first -- it barely hits rim. His next is closer but still doesn't fall. And the whole time, I'm hearing coach Jack Wittenberg, fictional as he may be, screaming his head off.

Game 9: Villanova — The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

The Palestra hosted its first Big 5 matchup of the 2012-13 campaign, a foul-filled and turnover-laden affair between Penn and Villanova. Despite shooting just 4-for-17 from the field in the first half, the Quakers stayed in the game behind 24 free throw attempts, including a perfect 8-for-8 performance from Miles Cartwright, in the opening frame. But Penn could not keep pace with Villanova in the second, as its shooting woes continued and turnovers piled up. The Wildcats extended their lead to double digits and shutdown Penn's attempts to get back in the game, as Villanova went on to win, 68-55.

THE GOOD: Steve Rennard puts up 12 points.
After scoring some crucial buckets toward the end of last season, the shooting guard had all but disappeared from the stat sheet this winter, averaging just 3.5 points per game through eight games. But Rennard looked more like himself tonight, knocking down two treys late in the game to go along with six free throws. Perhaps even more important than him scoring was that he didn't stop shooting even after his first couple shots rolled out. Penn will need him to stay confident and keep firing in order to make the Quakers a legitimate threat from three-point range.

THE BAD: Dougherty disappears.
Villanova came ready to guard Fran Dougherty and succeeded in stifling the junior forward. The Ivy League's leading scorer at 17.1 points per game finished with a measly two points on 1-for-3 shooting. Even in a game with 52 personal fouls between the teams (yes, we'll get to that), Doc shot no free throws whatsoever. After his seven-point performance against Penn State and tonight, it's become clear that opposing squads know that shutting down Doc is a key to beating Penn. And it would seem they're right.

THE UGLY: Hack-a-thon at the Palestra.
Villanova and Penn tallied a combined 52 personal fouls on the night, leading to 71 free throws. That said, the whopping number of fouls cannot be entirely attributed to the players, since the referees seemed determined to call virtually every bump, and love tap, as a foul. For a game between two Philadelphia basketball squads, the matchup had none of the grittiness or toughness expected from a Big 5 contest, primarily because anything smacking of toughness at all was called a foul.

Battle of 33rd Street

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.

Weekend Wrap: On the road at Princeton

While football may have had the most dramatic finish in Princeton over the weekend, it was not the only Penn squad to take on the Tigers. Check Weekend Wrap for a review of the Quakers' performances in other arenas, including a few squads that finished their seasons against Princeton.

Field Hockey
Even in a strong year for Penn field hockey, the Red and Blue were not likely to fair well against No. 2 Princeton. The Tigers outscored their Ivy opponents 45-1 on the year and recorded six league wins by a margin of five goals or more. With this in mind, Quakers’ 7-0 defeat should not come as a surprise to anyone. Princeton’s victory secured its eighth consecutive league title.

That said, Penn (9-8, 3-4 Ivy) can certainly celebrate finishing above .500 for the first time since 2006 — one of several indications that this program is on the rise.

Men's Soccer
Despite holding off the Tigers for the first half an hour of play, the Penn men’s soccer team collapsed once again in a 3-0 loss at Princeton. With a last-place finish on the horizon, the Quakers (2-13, 0-6 Ivy) should start the rebuilding process now and start thinking about how the team can change its fortunes for next season.

Women's Soccer
As Penn women’s soccer coach Darren Ambrose put it, “Speed kills.” The Quakers found this out in a big way this weekend against Princeton, as they fell to the Tigers, 4-2, on the road. Princeton’s Jen Hoy demonstrated why she deserves the Ivy League Player of the Year award, using her speed to create breakaways on multiple occasions, despite double and triple-teams by Penn’s defense. When the Quakers swarmed her, Hoy fed to Lauren Lazo, who recorded a hat trick on the evening.

To their credit, the Red and Blue (9-6-1, 5-2 Ivy) did not go down without a fight. Late in the second half, Clara Midgley added two goals in nine minutes to make the game 3-2. However, the Tigers ultimately added one more score and walked away with a win as well as the league championship.

With Yale steamrolling the Ivy standings, it’s a race to second place for Penn volleyball. Despite knotting the match at 1-1 at one point, the squad failed to slow down the Bulldogs (16-5, 12-0 Ivy) and lost by a final of 3-1 Friday night at the Palestra. However, the Quakers (13-10, 8-4) turned around Saturday to defeat Brown, 3-1, on Senior Night. The Red and Blue currently sit at third in the Ivy League behind Yale and Princeton (12-10, 9-3) with two matches remaining.

W. Soccer: Fate to be pulled out of a hat?

With just two weeks remaining in the Ivy League women's soccer schedule, three teams are in the hunt for an Ivy title, which has stimulated discussion about how a potential three-way tie between the top teams for first place might shake out. Of course, not only is an Ivy League championship on the line, but also an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

So here's the scenario: if Dartmouth and Penn win out, including the Quakers taking out Princeton on the road on Nov. 3, and Princeton doesn't get upset by Cornell this weekend, then all three teams would finish the season 6-1. Looking at head-to-head wins can't be used to break the tie, since Princeton beat Dartmouth, Dartmouth beat Penn and Penn will have defeated Princeton.

What, then, will decide the fate of the Ivy title and the tourney bid? Well, the championship will simply be shared by all three teams. There is some historical precedence for this — in fact, the same three teams shared the title in 2001, oddly enough.

The NCAA tournament bid, however, is an entirely different story. After a season of hard fought matches and competitive games, the Ivy League would decide which team represents the conference in the NCAA tournament by, drumroll please, pulling a team's name out of a hat.

No, that is not a joke. According to Trevor Rutledge-Leverenz, a representative from the Ivy League, Executive Director Robin Harris would draw a team's name out of a hat to determine which squad receives the tournament bid.

If it's any consolation (though I'm not sure it would be to the other two teams), Rutledge-Leverenz added that the name-drawing would be broadcasted live online.

Let us know what you think about the Ivy League's tie-breaking process in the comments below. We will provide updates on this story as they come in.

Weekend Wrap: Volleyball shocks Princeton on the road and more

We all know you've had ample football coverage this weekend, but what about the members of the Red and Blue playing at venues other than the Yale Bowl? For recaps of Penn's other squads, look no further than this week's edition of "Weekend Wrap."

The volleyball team began the second half of its conference schedule with a dramatic victory over Princeton on the road, battling back from two sets down to win, 3-2. While Penn (10-9, 5-3 Ivy) will need the Tigers and the Bulldogs to lose some matches to give it a chance at an Ivy title, this weekend’s performance could be a major turning point for this relatively young squad.

Men's Soccer
Playing on the road, the Quakers’ struggles continued, and the team lost to a lackluster Yale squad, 2-1. Without an Ivy win to its name, this Red and Blue team is hard pressed to find a silver lining to this season’s performance. That said, Penn (2-11, 0-4) could make some noise in the Ivy League by upsetting first-place Brown next weekend.

Women's Soccer
Though this team has walked on a knife’s edge at times this season, the Penn women’s soccer squad has a legitimate shot at an Ivy title, and the team made progress toward that goal by defeating Yale, 2-0, in New Haven. It was just the third road victory for the Quakers (8-5-1, 4-1) against the Bulldogs in program history, and the first time in four games that the Red and Blue have put up multiple goals in a game. These are auspicious signs for the team as it enters its final two matches of the season, including a hotly anticipated showdown with league-leading Princeton on Nov. 3.

Field Hockey
A 3-2 victory on the road over Yale keeps Penn field hockey on pace to improve upon last year’s 2-5 Ivy League record, not to mention out of last place. The game ball (is that a thing in field hockey?) undoubtedly goes to junior captain Julie Tahan, who assisted two scores before adding the game-winner herself. The following day, the Quakers (7-7, 2-3) dropped a contest against Fairfield, 4-2. While coaches and players will give you a line about why momentum’s important, the fact of the matter is that the Ivy slate is what counts, so if you’re going to split for the weekend, the Red and Blue did it right.

Tonight’s the night for Zack Rosen

When the NBA draft gets underway Thursday at 7 p.m. in Newark, N.J., the New Orleans Hornets will select Anthony Davis with the first overall pick. That won’t surprise anybody. After that, however, anything could happen.

Those watching from the Penn community may be more interested in the second round than the first to see if any team takes a chance on Ivy League and Big 5 Player of the Year Zack Rosen — the Quakers’ all-time leader in assists, games and minutes.

Rosen has worked out for numerous NBA teams, including the Sixers, Nets, Pistons, Suns and Kings. If selected — which is a big “if” — he would likely go in the second half of the second round.

Here are a few stories to keep you occupied on what's being written about Rosen as  the draft approaches. For those interested in watching, it will be broadcast on ESPN beginning at 7 p.m.

Allen hires Friends’ Central’s Polykoff as assistant

With Mike Martin departing for his alma mater in Providence, RI, coach Jerome Allen’s staff was left with a vacancy.
Allen may have a found a solution nearby.

Penn is set to hire Jason Polykoff, as an assistant for the Quakers program, according to a report by

The head coach at Friends’ Central School for the last five years, Polykoff was 113-28, won two Friends Schools League championships and earned four straight Pennsylvania Independent School Tournament titles during his tenure.

The 28-year old coach already has a close connection with Allen. He coached Allen’s son, Jerome, who was a sophomore forward for Friends' Central last year. Polykoff played guard at Friends’ Central and Haverford (Class of 2006) before becoming a math teacher and basketball coach at his former high school school.

Polykoff has coached a number of Division I athletes, the latest being Amile Jefferson, a 6-foot-7 forward who ultimately recruited by Duke and was ranked No. 25 in ESPN’s Class of 2012.