PHILADELPHIA - Penn plays three games in the Philadelphia Big 5 during this two-week stretch; on Saturday, the Quakers get away from the city for a day trip to North Jersey to take on NJIT. The Red and Blue are looking to shake off a loss to Temple from Wednesday, and instead regain the form they had found in wins against Campbell and Lafayette in the two games prior to their meeting with the Owls.
GAME 12 PENN (3-8) at NJIT (0-17)
Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009 * 2 p.m.
Fleisher Athletic Center * Newark, N.J.
Radio: ESPN 950 AM (Brian Seltzer, Vince Curran)
The eight teams Penn has lost to this season entered the weekend a combined 91-40, a 69.5 winning percentage (UNC 15-2, Drexel 7-8, Penn State 13-5, Albany 11-6, Villanova 13-3, Navy 13-4, UCF 10-6, Temple 9-6).
Through 11 games, Penn has had six different players lead in scoring in a game (Tyler Bernardini, Kevin Egee, Jack Eggleston, Harrison Gaines, Brennan Votel and Zack Rosen) and five different players lead in rebounding (Eggleston, Votel, Rosen, Conor Turley and Cameron Lewis).
Penn has played just one game this season that has ended with a single-digit margin (Drexel, a 66-64 loss for the Quakers).
Penn has shot 78.6 percent from the foul line the last four games (66-of-84); prior to the UCF Holiday Classic, the Quakers were 65.5 percent for the season.
Rosen, a freshman, leads the Ivy League in assist/turnover ratio (2.48) and is second in assists per game (4.8). He has also scored 39 points in the last three games. In his first four collegiate games, Rosen had 25 assists and just three turnovers (all against No. 1 UNC).
Eggleston, a sophomore, has scored in double figures in six of the last eight games, averaging 12.8 ppg during that stretch; he earned all-tournament at the UCF Holiday Classic after leading the Quakers in scoring in both games.
Senior Brennan Votel had scored in double figures in three of four games (averaging 12.5 ppg) before being held to eight points vs. Temple; after scoring in double figures just once in his first three seasons at Penn, Votel has five such games as a senior.
Freshman Rob Belcore has started each of the last four games and played 108 minutes in those contests after seeing just 30 minutes of action in Penn’s first seven games; he has scored 11 points in each of the last two games, and had seven assists without a turnover against Campbell.
Penn vs. NJIT
This will be the second meeting between the Quakers and the Highlanders in men’s basketball; Penn won last year’s meeting at The Palestra in Philadelphia, 79-68.
In last year’s contest, Brian Grandieri led Penn with 22 points; however, Cameron Lewis was the star, with 15 points, nine rebounds and five steals. Tyler Bernardini had 14 points, six boards and five assists, while Harrison Gaines had eight assists.
Today’s game is the only one in a four-game stretch that is not a Philadelphia Big 5 game for Penn. The Quakers lost to Temple Wednesday night; next week, they are at La Salle on Wednesday and then play Saint Joseph’s at The Palestra on Saturday night.
If you like to play the comparison game, Penn and NJIT have one common opponent from this season...
Penn State - Penn 73-85 L, NJIT 47-74 L
NJIT has played two other Ivy League teams recently, losing to Yale on January 7 (80-51) and Columbia on January 9 (73-50).
Penn will have only one game this year that tips off earlier than today’s 2 p.m. contest; that was the Quakers’ Nov. 18 game at Drexel, which was a 10 a.m. start (see below).
I Know You!
A familiar face to Penn fans will be on the home bench today at the Fleisher Athletic Center -- Ira Bowman is an assistant coach with the Highlanders. A two-year letterwinner after transferring to Penn from Providence College, he was the 1996 Ivy League Player of the Year and helped the Quakers to a pair of Ivy League titles.
Notemeal From Temple...
Freshman Zack Rosen became the sixth different player to lead Penn in scoring in a game this season, with 12 points.
Freshman Rob Belcore had his second straight 11-point outing
Freshman Mike Howlett saw his first action since the season opener, playing six minutes and getting two steals. He had missed nine games due to injury.
Notemeal From Lafayette...
For the first time this season, Penn outrebounded its opponent (41-28).
Penn went 21-of-24 (87.5 percent) at the foul line, a season high.
For the second straight game, Penn had five playersall five starters, in factscore in double figures (Tyler Bernardini 18, Rosen 17, Brennan Votel 16, Jack Eggleston 14, Belcore 11). Prior to the previous game, the last time the Quakers had five players scored 10 or more points was December 7, 2006.
Belcore’s 11-point night marked his first double-figure scoring game as a collegian.
Eggleston finished one rebound shy of a double-double, and also had four assists.
Both Rosen and Bernardini tied their career highs for assistsRosen had eight, while Bernardini had five.
Senior Cameron Lewis played 10 minutes off the bench and had eight rebounds.