PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team faces one final test before the start of fall-term exams, as Wagner comes to The Palestra on Saturday. The Seahawks have defeated the Quakers each of the last two seasons, including an overtime decision last year on Staten Island, but Penn will try to reverse the trend when the teams tip off at 7 p.m.GAME 8 - PENN (2-5) vs. WAGNER (4-5)
Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 * 7 p.m.
The Palestra (Philadelphia)
TV: Ivy League Digital Network (there is a fee for this service)
Radio: WXPN 88.5 FM (Matt Leon, Stan Pawlak)
The Penn-Wagner Series
*The Quakers and the Seahawks are meeting for the third straight season; they have been the first three meetings between the programs. Wagner has won the previous two matchups.
*Last year’s game, played on Staten Island, was won by Wagner in overtime, 68-63.
*The first meeting between these programs took place on Nov. 22, 2011 and was won by Wagner, 71-65.
*Penn is 9-2 all-time against programs that currently play in the Northeast Conference, or NEC. (Both of those losses have come to Wagner.) Saturday marks the Quakers’ only meeting with an NEC team this season. (Fairleigh Dickinson 2-0, Saint Francis (Pa.) 5-0, Robert Morris 1-0, Wagner 0-2, St. Francis Brooklyn 1-0)
Wagner’s head coach, Bashir Mason, not only is the youngest Division I head coach in the country; Philadelphia basketball fans may recall that, not long ago, he was engineering Drexel as the Dragons’ point guard.
Home is Where the Wins Are
Penn entered the 2013-14 season with 803 wins at The Palestra, which opened in 1927. In an informal survey of the other NCAA Division I programs, only Washington (932 wins at Hec Edmundson Pavilion) and Butler (826 wins at Hinkle Fieldhouse) boast more wins in their current home than the Quakers. The Edmundson Pavilion was opened in 1927, while the Bulldogs opened Hinkle in 1928.
Quaker Notemeal of Note
*Penn had shot better than 50 percent in two straight games, going a combined 62-of-117 against Niagara (34-62, .548) and Lafayette (28-55, .509), before shooting a season-low 33.9 percent (21-62) at Villanova.
*After being outrebounded in each of its first four games, Penn has outrebounded its last three opponents (43-30 vs. Niagara, 33-32 vs. Lafayette, 42-40 vs. Villanova).
*Penn is 2-0 on Tuesdays (0-5 all other days) and 2-0 against MAAC schools (0-5 against all others) so far in this young season.
*In Penn’s seven games so far, head coach Jerome Allen has played 15 players once this season, 14 players four times, and 13 players twice.
*Penn has three players averaging double figures in scoring, and a fourth averaging 9.9 ppg, but has not had more than three double-figure scorers in any game so far this season.
*Through the first seven games, four different players have led Penn in scoring (Fran Dougherty, Miles Jackson-Cartwright, Tony Hicks, Darien Nelson-Henry) and all four have had at least one 20-point game.
*After recording 14 rebounds combined in Penn’s first four games, Dougherty has 26 in the last three contests.
*After playing only 19 minutes in Penn’s first six games -- just five in the last three games combined -- freshman guard Tony Bagtas started at Villanova on Wednesday and played 36 minutes, dishing off nine assists, scoring seven points and grabbing six rebounds.