PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team is ready to tip off the 2016-17 season. The Quakers make the trip across the Commonwealth to meet Robert Morris Friday night, start time is slated for 7 p.m.
GAME 1 – PENN (0-0) at ROBERT MORRIS (0-0)
Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 * 7 p.m.
Sewall Center (Moon Township, Pa.)
• This marks the third meeting between the Quakers and the Colonials, but the first on the Robert Morris campus. The first two were played at The Palestra in Philadelphia.
• These teams also opened with each other last year; in that game, Penn led by 17 early in the second half, lost that advantage late, then hit the winning shot with 31 seconds left for a 76-75 victory.
• The first matchup took place on November 19, 2011, when Penn knocked off Robert Morris, 66-60, as part of the Philly Hoop Group Classic.
Greetings, Old Friend!
Friday’s season opener pits Penn against a former Quakers player, as Robert Morris is coached by 2003 graduate Andrew Toole. A transfer from Elon College, Toole was a first-team All-Ivy pick in 2001-02 and second-team All-Ivy in 2002-03 as Penn won the Ivy League title both years.
Penn vs. The NEC
After opening last year with wins over RMU and Central Connecticut State, the Quakers are 11-4 all-time against Northeast Conference teams. (1-0 vs. CCSU, 2-0 vs. FDU, 2-0 vs. Robert Morris, 1-0 vs. St. Francis Brooklyn, 5-0 vs. Saint Francis [Pa.], 0-4 vs. Wagner.)
Penn by the Numbers
0 • Ivy League Tournaments held prior to this season; instead, the regular-season champion earned the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. That will end this year, when the Ivy League hosts its inaugural Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments March 11-12 at The Palestra on Penn’s campus.
2 • This is the second season for Penn’s John R. Rockwell Head Coach of Men’s Basketball, Steve Donahue. Prior to his return to University City, Donahue was head at Cornell and Boston College. Before that, he spent 10 years as an assistant coach for Fran Dunphy at Penn, winning six Ivy League titles during that time.
3 • Newcomers who figure to be in the starting lineup on Friday night: juniors Caleb Wood and Matt MacDonald—both transfers—and freshman AJ Brodeur.
9.0 • Points-per-game average by MacDonald in 2014-15 at Fairleigh Dickinson, like Robert Morris an NEC member. He was a member of the 2013-14 NEC All-Rookie Team.
23.2 • Points-per-game average last year for Wood at Lassen Community College in California; he also averaged 5.4 rebounds and 4.7 assists per contest.
78.8 • The percentage of points from a year ago that return to Penn’s lineup. The returning players totaled 1,506 of the team’s 1,911 points last season.
• Senior Matt Howard was the only player to start all 28 games last year, averaging 12.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. He was second on the team in all three categories as well as steals (25). Howard finished the season with 18 double-figure scoring games—including four with 20 or more points—and had three double-doubles.
• Sophomore Jackson Donahue averaged 9.7 points per game last year and was the Quakers’ top three-point shooter, knocking down 62 treys. He had 14 double-figure scoring games, third on the team, and led Penn in scoring three times. Donahue led the Ivy League in three-point field goals per game in league play last year (2.9) and was third in minutes per game (35.5).
• Sophomore Jake Silpe was the only freshman to play all 28 games last year and topped the freshmen with 20 starts. The former South Jersey Player of the Year averaged 5.0 points, 2.6 boards and 22.4 minutes per game; led Penn in assists (89) and steals (27); and had four double-figure scoring games.
• Junior Sam Jones also played in all 28 games—one of just four players to do so—including 23 starts. He averaged 8.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 24.8 minutes per game, and was second on the team with 58 three-point baskets. Jones had 11 double-figure scoring games.
• Junior Darnell Foreman was the fourth player to see time in all 28 games. He averaged 5.4 points and 2.7 rebounds per game and was second on the team in assists (61) and third in steals (21).
• Sophomore Max Rothschild had three double-figure scoring games, two double-digit rebounding efforts, and one double-double last year. He led Penn in scoring once and in rebounding twice.
• Sophomore Tyler Hamilton certainly made a favorable final impression last year; he made his first collegiate start in the season finale at Princeton and recorded 11 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.
• Junior Dan Dwyer played 24 games last year (three starts) and was second on the team with 14 blocked shots.
• Sophomore Collin McManus and senior Dylan Jones will look to get more time in the frontcourt this season after appearing in nine and four games last year, respectively. (Jones missed much of last season to injury; he played in 43 games his first two years.)
• Penn has a pair of transfers this season who have two years of eligibility. Matt MacDonald came to Penn from Fairleigh Dickinson University and sat out last season, while Caleb Wood is immediately eligible after playing last year at Lassen Community College in California. (MacDonald is a captain for this year’s team, along with Howard.)
• Penn continues to pluck from the New England prep school scene in recruiting. With Ray Jerome (Cheshire Academy) and AJ Brodeur (Northfield Mount Hermon) on the roster, the Quakers now have six NEPSAC players including three from NMH and two from Cheshire.
• Brodeur helped NMH to the NEPSAC AAA title his senior year and was a first-team all-league pick.
• Locally, Coach Donahue picked up another pair of freshmen with the addition of Devon Goodman (Germantown Academy) and Ryan Betley (Downingtown West). Betley was the Daily Local Player of the Year last year, while Goodman was Inter-Ac MVP as a senior.
• Another freshman, Zack Kaminsky, helped his Pace Academy team to a Georgia state championship as a senior.