After Nine-Day Layoff, Quakers Host La Salle in Big 5 Play

Penn-La Salle Game Notes in PDF Format

PHILADELPHIA -- The truth is, Penn’s most recent schedule break -- it will be nine days since the Quakers’ last game when they finally tip off Wednesday with La Salle -- could not have come at a worse time.

GAME 15 -- Penn (9-5) vs. La Salle (10-6)
Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2006 at 7:30 p.m. EST
Arena (Capacity):
The Palestra (8,722)
Television:CN8 (John Gurevich, PBP; Rob Kennedy, analyst)
Radio/Internet: WXPN (88.5 FM) and www.pennathletics.com
Brian Seltzer, PBP; Vince Curran, analyst

Why do we say that? Because the Quakers were absolutely rolling before this lull, having played three games in four nights and winning all of them by more than 30 points (a first for the program since 1995). They were crisp on offense, racking up 92 points per game and shooting 55 percent from the field including a staggering 61.8 percent against Lafayette. (Quick aside: Mark Zoller is a ridiculous 17-of-20 -- 85 percent -- from the field the last two games!) They knocked down 12 three-pointers against Columbia, then came back two nights later and hit 11 more against Lafayette. On defense, they forced 71 turnovers (23.7 per game) and came up with 38 steals (12.7 per contest).

All that Penn has to show for those wins -- aside from being one of just two unbeaten teams left in the Ivy League, with Harvard -- is eight days of squaring off against each other in practice. Junior guard Ibrahim Jaaber has been the focus of stories as he closes in on the school’s all-time steals record (he enters this game needing just five). Head coach Fran Dunphy has had to answer questions about two things he would rather not talk about -- himself, and his quest to win his 300th game as a head coach against his alma mater. In other words, some other distractions -- some other games -- would have been welcome.

Instead, Penn enters this week looking at its final two non-Ivy League games of the 2005-06 regular season. However, they are the Quakers’ final two Big 5 contests, and represent a chance for them to get back to .500 in the intracity series after losses to Temple and Villanova earlier this season. That alone should provide plenty of incentive, to say nothing of a pair of packed houses at The Palestra (Saturday’s game with Saint Joseph’s has been sold out for weeks now).

Both tonight’s game and Saturday’s contest will be televised live on CN8, as the Quakers hit the airwaves eight times the rest of the way.

The Fun Fact

With Dunphy needing just one win to reach 300 for his career, we thought you would be interested to know that his first win came Nov. 25, 1989 against Lehigh, 69-64 -- his first game as a head coach. The opposing head coach that day? None other than Dave Duke, who for the last eight seasons has graced the Penn sidelines and is Dunphy’s top assistant. The star of the game? How about current WXPN analyst Vince Curran, who had 13 points and 18 rebounds (including a staggering 13 offensive boards).

The Series with La Salle
• Wednesday’s meeting between Penn and La Salle is the 59th between these intracity rivals, with the Quakers holding a 36-22 advantage including wins in each of the last four meetings.

• Penn head coach Fran Dunphy boasts a 12-4 record against his alma mater.

• Penn enters this week with an all-time record of 105-136 against the other Big 5 schools, including losses to Temple (50-46) and Villanova (62-55) earlier this season. Dunphy is 23-37 in Big 5 action as the Quakers’ head coach.
La Salle36-22 (Dunphy 12-4)
Saint Joseph’s33-41 (5-11)
Temple18-37 (3-13)
Villanova18-35 (3-9)

• Penn enters this week’s set against a pair of Atlantic 10 teams with an all-time mark of 100-116 against teams from that conference, including losses to Temple (50-46) and Fordham (78-63) earlier this season.
Dayton0-1 (Dunphy 0-1)
Duquesne4-1
Fordham2-5 (0-2)
G. Washington0-1 (0-1)
La Salle36-22 (12-4)
Massachusetts1-3 (0-2)
Rhode Island1-1 (0-1)
Richmond3-2
St. Bonaventure2-1
Saint Joseph’s33-41 (5-11)
Saint Louis0-1 (0-1)
Temple18-37 (3-13)

Download: MBK Notes 15 (La Salle).pdf