PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team has its longest non-conference winning streak in more than seven years, so fall-term exams probably hit at a bad time. After a 13-day layoff from game action, the Quakers will look to get the momentum started back up again with a daunting task, as they make the trip to Nashville to face SEC opponent Vanderbilt on Monday night.
GAME 9 – PENN (3-5) at VANDERBILT (7-3)
Monday, Dec. 22, 2014 * 7 p.m. (8:00 in Philadelphia)
Nashville, Tenn. (Memorial Gym)
*The Commodores lead the series, 2-1, but these teams have not played since the 1986-87 season. (12/15/1962 - at Penn 74, Vanderbilt 70; 12/14/1985 - at Vanderbilt 89, Penn 76; 12/13/1986 - Vanderbilt 71, at Penn 70)
*This is Penn’s first trip to Nashville to play the Commodores since 1985; however, the Red and Blue most recently played in Nashville in 1991, in the Music City Invitational. Coincidentally, current Penn head coach Jerome Allen was a freshman on that 1991-92Quakers squad.
*Penn is 6-16 all-time against programs that currently play in the Southeastern Conference, with the most recent meeting coming January 3, 2011 (an 86-62 loss at Kentucky).
The Commodores fell at Georgia Tech on Saturday, 65-60, and are 3-3 in their last six games after a 4-0 start. Damian Jones-- who had 12 points and seven rebounds on Saturday-- leads Vandy in scoring (16.7 ppg) and rebounding (7.2 rpg), while Riley LaChance is averaging 13.2 points per contest. James Siakam (9.7 ppg) and Luke Kornet (9.6 ppg) are nearly in double figures in the scoring column, while Wade Baldwin IV leads the Commodores in assists (50) and steals (14) and averages 7.6 points per outing.
Six of the 15 active players on Penn's roster are freshmen.
After Tony Hicks (1,464 career minutes) and Darien Nelson-Henry (1,017), the other five returnees expected to dress tonight entered the season with a combined 1,408 career minutes of action. (Senior Camryn Crocker, 621; senior Greg Louis, 537; sophomore Matt Howard, 113; sophomore Dylane Jones, 130; sophomore Matt Poplawski, 7).
The Youth Getting Experience
Penn’ssix newcomershave played 674 of the team’s 1,625 minutes this season (41.5 percent).
The Quaker Notemeal of Note
*Penn has had four different freshmen win Ivy League Rookie of the Week in a five-week span already this season (Antonio Woods, Nov. 17; Mike Auger, Nov. 24; Darnell Foreman, Dec. 8; Sam Jones, Dec. 15); according to the Ivy League’s basketball media guide, this is the first time a team has had four different players earn the Rookie of the Week award in the same season (dating back to 1984-85).
*Penn has won three in a row for the first time since the Quakers won seven in a row near the end of the 2011-12 season.
*Penn has won three non-conference games in a row for the first time since winning four such games near the start of the 2006-07 season.
*Penn has won two straight non-conference road games for the first time since the 2006-07 season (January 6 at Elon, January 18 at La Salle).
*Penn has led for all but 2:01 in the last three games, and has not trailed in its last 109:17 of game action.
*Penn has outrebounded its last six opponents and seven of eight this season; the Quakers’ +14 rebound margin against Marist on December 9 was a season high.