Turn Back the Clock: Jan. 31, 2009

The Quakers' 23-game winning streak at Dartmouth snapped   January 31, 2009

When’s the last time you can remember Penn men's hoops having a winning streak of over 20 games?

From the 1997 season until January 31, 2009, Penn had a 23-game winning streak over Dartmouth. But on that night, the Quakers lost 63-60 to the Big Green in a huge upset.

The night before, the Red and Blue beat Harvard 66-60 for their first Ivy game of the 2008-2009 season, holding off the League’s top scorer at the time, Crimson junior guard Jeremy Lin.

But on that night, Penn’s defense had no answer for Dartmouth’s Alex Barnett, who went on to be Ivy League Player of the Year.

With 24 points, the senior forward blew Penn out of the water.

The night started out looking hopeful. The Quakers were up 56-48 with 5:24 left after sophomore guard Tyler Bernardini sank two free throws, extending a nine-point run for Penn.

Yet the lead slipped all too quickly through the Red and Blue’s fingers as Dartmouth came back to score 15 of the last 19 points in the game.

After a Dartmouth timeout, Barnett drove the game in Big Green’s favor. The scoreboard finally broke even when Big Green senior forward Dan Biber was fouled on a layup and sank a free throw, tying the game at 60-60.

Biber complemented Barnett well for Dartmouth, taking 17 points on the game. His final three points came from outside the paint, capping the game at 63-60 for Dartmouth and reminding the Quakers that they were only just starting Ivy play.

-by Danielle Chuang

Senior night stats revisited

I did a little analysis yesterday of past seniors' performances on their final night playing at the Palestra and concluded that they generally don't get the psychological bump in performance many expect from the special occasion. I also posited that this year's seniors had more to play for than just a final home game — they were playing to keep their season alive. And they did.

So there may be a couple variables at play here, and correlation doesn't equal causation (Hey, Mom, I learned something in Psych 001!) but lets look at how seniors Zack Rosen, Rob Belcore, Tyler Bernardini and Mike Howlett played last night, compared to their season averages.

Zack Rosen: Had an all around great night, and as you can see did better than the typical Rosen performance (if that's what you can call it). What's amazing here is that he did this in only 30 minutes — eight below his season average.

Rob Belcore: In my opinion, Belcore was the player of the game for how he handled the tough assignment of Yale big man Greg Mangano. Belcore, listed as four inches shorter than the 6-foot-10 Mangano, actually requested the defensive assignment earlier this week, and after the game coach Jerome Allen called it "probably the most impressive performance I’ve seen in this league the way [Belcore] made Mangano work for everything he got." Belcore held the center to ten points, eight points below his season average. The point of all that praise, is that it won't necessarily show up the following graph; nonetheless Belcore still outdid himself:

Tyler Bernardini: The fifth-year senior has struggled the last three weeks dealing with a foot injury, though this weekend he was noticeably more mobile than the last two, and played his most minutes (28) since the Dartmouth game three weeks ago. While his numbers were below average, he continues to play stellar defense:

Mike Howlett: There's not a large sample size for Howlett, who averages about 10 minutes per game, but he too had a good night by his standards:

Photo Slideshow: Penn vs. Brown

Gallery

This gallery contains 14 photos.

Friday night I had the pleasure of sitting on the baseline photographing Penn's game versus Brown. I had been itching to get behind the camera, and it was a fun change of pace. And no one stepped on me, so … Continue reading

Tyler Bernardini limited with ‘health issues’ in win over Cornell

Sophomore Steve Rennard got his first career start Friday night, in place of senior Tyler Bernardini. Both players were listed among six probable starters at guard before the game.

Bernardini did come off the bench, playing 22 minutes and scoring nine points on 3-of-8 shooting. That's about 10 minutes and five points less than his season average.

After the game coach Jerome Allen said Bernardini has been dealing with some "health issues" that made him a late scratch from the starting lineup, though he did not elaborate.

"We weren't really sure we were going to have him tonight," Allen said. "He just said he wanted to tough it out, play through it, and I applaud him for that."

Bernardini was not available for comment after the game as the team went straight into a film session to prepare for tonight's game against Columbia. He has been wearing an air-cast boot around campus recently, so take from that what you will.

All-Time Scoring Update

Last night was a big scoring night for Penn (they haven't scored this many points on Princeton since the 1970s), and especially for Zack Rosen. I spent most of the day with him for another piece I'm writing, and I tracked his shots during warmups before the game.

Without getting into the nitty gritty, I combined every shot that I saw (there were many more throughout the 40-minute routine) rather than splitting up FG, FT and 3-pt. By my count, he went 134-for-179: a .749 shooting percentage. Yeah, you could say he was feelin' it.

So it's fitting that Monday night was the night that he finally beat Princeton at the Palestra and surpassed his head coach in all-time points. Rosen's 28 bumped him ahead of Allen into Penn's No. 8 spot, while Tyler Bernardini's 14 points pushed him up to No. 12.

By my estimation, Rosen will probably finish No. 3 behind Ernie Beck and Ugonna Onyekwe. He's 147 points away from reaching that point, but would need another 118 to pass Onyekwe.

While the duo continues to steadily climb up the list, I'll be sure to keep you updated.

Midseason Report: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

With 16 games down and 15 to go (and hopefully more), the DP Sports staff has compiled a collective Good, Bad & Ugly for the season thus far. Penn (7-9, 0-3 Big 5) got off to a quick 3-1 start, but since then the Quakers have dropped eight of 12. The Red and Blue are 4-5 at the Palestra and 3-4 on the road. They begin their quest for their first Ivy Title since 2007 tonight against Columbia.

THE GOOD

Zack Rosen becomes program’s all-time assists leader
With his 506th career assist in a 78-73 win over Lafayette, Rosen passed his coach Jerome Allen as Penn’s career leader.

Zack Rosen named a finalist for 2012 Bob Cousy Award
The senior guard is the last Ivy League and Big 5 guard in contention. The current field of 20 players will be narrowed to 10 in February and five in March. The award winner will be announced on April 2nd as part of the Final Four in New Orleans.

Tyler Bernardini’s back-to-back monster games
The fifth-year senior notched a career-high 29 points in his home state of California against UCLA, and in Penn’s next game he topped that with 30 points against Marist. On both nights, Bernardini was 8-for-12 from beyond the arc.

Continue reading

Game 12: Marist — The Good, Bad & the Ugly

The Good:Tyler Bernardini outdid his UCLA performance. Against the Bruins, Bernardini had a then-career high of 29 points with 8 threes. Against Marist, Bernardini knocked another 8 trifectas and finished with 30 points on the night, a new career high, and a higher notch among Penn men’s basketball’s all-time scoring list at 18th. Another good: Penn’s defense – coach Allen’s pride and joy – foiled Marist’s game plans early. Marist tried to run-and-gun early in the contest. Marist wanted to outrun Penn with fast breaks and use guard isolations and high on-ball screens to break down defenders for inside buckets. The Quakers defense kept Marist at bay, forcing them to settle for 28 three-pointers which they only hit 11 of.

The Bad: Penn’s bench lacked production. Of the Red and Blue’s 84-point performance, bench players contributed only seven: five from Mike Howlett and two from Fran Dougherty. The main concern here is that the Quakers will begin a series of three consecutive away games, including Davidson and Duke, all within a few days of each other. Penn will need a reliable bench while facing fatigue from travel, more athleticism, top talent, and opposing atmospheres. In contrast, Marist’s bench accounted for 33 of the team’s 71 point total, almost half.

The Ugly: The three-person student-cheering section. While attendance was better than expected for winter break, the student section boasted a group of just three students cheering in unison just behind the baseline. Yes, it was ugly, but someone has got to be there to cheer for Penn when even the cheerleaders don’t show up, so we applaud them nevertheless.

-Lucas O'Connor

All-time scoring update

After I went back and forth several times checking my math tonight, I figured I would share my corrected findings on Penn's all-time scoring list.

Tyler Bernardini has been steadily moving up the charts all season, most recently thanks to 59 combined points in the last two games. Before the trip to UCLA, Bernardini sat at No. 23. After Marist? No. 17. Tonight he passed his teammate Jack Eggleston (not to mention Matt Maloney '95, Barry Pierce '94 and Perry Bromwell '87), and has 1,267 career points of his own. If Bernardini keeps up his pace of 15.6 points per game, he'd be on track for 1,438 career points. That projection has him finishing at No. 11 in scoring for his career.

Meanwhile, Zack Rosen continues to climb up the record books as well. He started the season No. 28, and is currently No. 12 with 1,363 points. If he continues his 20.1 points per game, he would finish with 1,744 points, which would be just shy of Ugonna Onyekwe's No. 2 spot (1,762). 20 points per game is a steep request, but if anyone can do it, it's Zack Rosen, right?

Eggleston’s take: Unsung hero

I had barely made it out of post-game press conferences by the time Jack Eggleston had sent us his thoughts on the game. His player of the game? Rob Belcore.

After the UCLA game, much of the reaction will focus on how a scrappy Penn team led by Tyler Bernardini's impressive outing almost pulled out the win despite Zack Rosen's off night. To me, the story of the game was the confidence Rob Belcore displayed on the offensive end. What he displayed against the Bruins should give Quakers fans a reason to be optimistic about the rest of the season.

Before Rob came to campus in his pre-freshman summer, I happened to watch a DVD of Belcore scoring thirty-seven points in a high school game (most of which came against Danny Monckton's little brother, Trent). Don't ask me how or why this happened but it did. Belcore scored in about every way possible: deep threes, midrange pull ups, and even some post ups. Truly, he put on a show. Every preseason, it would seem like Rob could never miss as the Loyola Academy version of himself would appear on the Palestra and Weightman floors.

But at some point in each season, Rob would pigeonhole himself into that familiar role of glue guy. Make no mistake, he always made tremendous contributions with his defense, hustle, and intelligence, but another dimension sat beneath the surface. Against UCLA Penn fans got a glimpse of what Rob has had in his game all along. The difference was confidence. When he's playing like he can, Belcore picks his spots and never hesitates.

This development could give a much-needed offensive spark to the front court. What we have seen so far and I imagine we will see for the rest of the year is a big man by committee system. Within the Brooks, Dougherty, Gunter, Howlett quartet nobody has truly emerged to cement their role in the rotation. I believe that their minutes will fluctuate based on practice and game performance.

Lastly, I don't mean to downplay what a stellar night Tyler Bernardini had. The problem is I've probably been in the gym more with him than anybody else I know, so the revelation that he can shoot the eyes out of the ball is not much a revelation to me. It was only a matter of time before a night like this happened. And to anybody worried about consecutive un-Rosen like nights from Rosen you can stop worrying. UCLA was game number eleven in a month and the captain has played just about every minute. Once he gets through finals and gets some rest he'll be back to his spectacular self, I promise.