The Penn-NJIT Series
*The Quakers and the Highlanders are meeting for the third time in men's basketball. The first two meetings came in consecutive seasons (2007-08, 2008-09).
*Penn won the first two meetings. The first came Jan. 5, 2008, a 79-68 Quaker victory at The Palestra in Philadelphia. The second came exactly four years ago from the upcoming match on Jan. 17, 2009, a 59-40 Penn win at Fleisher.
A Place in History
Penn actually holds a spot in history in NJIT annals. That 59-40 Quaker win in 2009 gave the Highlanders their 51st loss in a row, an NCAA Division I record. However, NJIT won its next game to end the streak, beating Bryant University, 61-51.
I Know You!
Tonight's game represents a homecoming of sorts for Penn assistant coach Ira Bowman. The northern New Jersey native -- he played his high school ball at Seton Hall Prep -- was an assistant coach with NJIT for four years before joining the Quakers (and head coach Jerome Allen, his former teammate here at Penn) after last season.
Countdown to 1,700
Penn has won 1,699 games as a program; with one more, the Quakers will become the 11th NCAA Division I program to reach 1,700 wins. (Indiana became the 10th on December 19, scoring its 1,700th win against Mount St. Mary's.)
He'll Take the Charity
Junior Miles Cartwright started the season by going 12-of-19 at the foul line -- unusual, given that he began the season at almost 80 percent for his career. Since then, however, he has returned to form -- in fact, he has surpassed it. Cartwright enters Thursday night's game having hit 13 of his last 14 free throws, 34 of his last 37, and he is 56-of-62 (.903) over his last 12 games including a streak of 21 in a row over a five-game stretch that ended at Wagner.
Some of Penn's less experienced players have shown signs of finding their way and growing into the college game recently. Some examples...
*Junior Dau Jok entered this season with nine career points and seven rebounds; he entered last Saturday's La Salle game at 37 career points and 29 career boards; in the last three games, he has scored 29 points and snared 23 rebounds.
*In his last four games, freshman Tony Hicks has 52 points (13.0 ppg); in the last three games he has shot 47.4 percent from the field (18-38) after shooting just 30.7 percent in the first 12 contests.
*In his last six games, freshman Darien Nelson-Henry has 55 points (9.2 ppg); after scoring a combined 16 points in his first six games, "DNH" has scored seven or more points in six of his last eight appearances.
*After averaging just 1.9 rebounds per game in his first nine appearances for Penn -- remember, he missed all of last year due to injury -- sophomore Greg Louis has had four or more boards in five of the last six games. (In the outlier game, he had three.)
*After averaging 2.8 points per game in Penn's first eight contests, Louis has averaged 7.2 ppg in the last seven.
Penn has played the last five games without junior captain Fran Dougherty, and he is not expected for tonight's game. So what are they missing?
*He leads the Ivy League in overall rebounding (8.8 rpg), and is third in both scoring (15.7 ppg) and field-goal percentage (52.5).
*He led Penn in rebounding in each of the first eight games this season; in his absence, four different players have led the team in boards.
Quaker Notemeal From Princeton
*Penn got more points from its bench players (32) than its starters (21) for the third straight game; in the time, the bench players have outscored the starters, 119-74.
*For the second time in three games, and the fourth time this season, Penn outrebounded its opponent (33-32).
*Penn had season team lows in free-throw percentage (6-12, .500) and assists (8).
*Princeton hit 11 three-pointers and shot 50.0 percent from beyond the arc, both opponent highs for this season.
*Freshman Tony Hicks set season/career highs in points (16), rebounds (6), assists (5) and minutes played (30).
*This was Hicks' fourth straight double-figure scoring game (9.0 ppg in that stretch) and sixth this season.
*Hicks led Penn in scoring for the second time in three games, and the third time this season.
*Hicks also led Penn in rebounding, becoming the sixth player to do that this year (also Dougherty, Cartwright, Nelson-Henry, Louis and Jok).
*Freshman Darien Nelson-Henry had 11 points, his second straight double-figure scoring game.
*Nelson-Henry is averaging 12.0 ppg over the last three games and 9.2 ppg over the last six.
*Junior Steve Rennard played a season-high 34 minutes.