Men's Basketball Heads North For Ivy Pair

MEN'S BASKETBALL GAMES 26/27

PENN AT HARVARD
Friday, Feb. 23 * 7 p.m.
Lavietes Pavilion * Cambridge, Mass.
PENN AT DARTMOUTH
Saturday, Feb. 24 * 7 p.m.
Leede Arena * Hanover, N.H.

Radio/Internet: WXPN (88.5 FM) / PennAthletics.com (Brian Seltzer, Vince Curran)
TV: None

Penn Game Notes in PDF Format

PHILADELPHIA - Penn enters the home stretch of the Ivy League race still in first place, having won all five of its home games during an eight-day stretch that ended last weekend. That five-game run began with Dartmouth and Harvard; this weekend, the tables are turned as the Quakers hit the road to face the Crimson and then the Big Green.

At 8-1, Penn is still in the driver’s seat in the Ivy League title race, as the Quakers gun for their third championship in a row, their fifth this century and their 11th since 1993. The catch, of course, is that three of the last five games will take place on the road. There will also be plenty of scoreboard watching Friday, as second-place Yale and third-place Cornell meet in New Haven in arguably the weekend’s key game.

For Penn, last weekend’s sweep of Columbia and Cornell punctuated a superb five-game homestand that saw the Quakers’ average margin of victory be 15.6 points. If you are counting at home, Penn has won five in a row, six of its last seven, and 11 of its last 13 games.

Zoller Earns Ivy Weekly Honor
Mark Zoller earned Ivy League Player of the Week for the second time this season and fourth time in his career after leading Penn to three wins last week. The senior forward averaged 18.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in the win, shot 20-of-33 (60.6 percent) from the floor, dished out 10 assists and had 12 steals.

Ivy Domination
Penn began the 2003-04 Ivy League season with a pair of losses at Yale and Brown. Since then, the Quakers have gone 43-6 in league play (24-2 at home, 19-4 on the road). Beyond that, all but two of the six losses could have gone either way. They were: 78-74 to Brown (2/20/04); 76-70 in OT to Princeton (3/9/04); 78-60 at Yale (2/19/05); 59-57 at Columbia (2/17/06); 60-59 in OT at Princeton (3/7/06); and 77-68 at Yale (2/3/07).

Surveying the Opponents
• Friday’s meeting between Penn and Harvard is the 152nd; the Quakers lead the series, 124-27, and have won 10 in a row (by an average of 17.5 points).

• Penn has won four in a row over the Crimson here in Cambridge, with the average margin of victory being 15.8 points. None of the four games have been closer than 13 points.

• Saturday’s meeting between Penn and Dartmouth is the 193rd; the Quakers lead the series, 138-54, and have won 20 in a row (by an average of 18.7 points).

• Penn lost here in Hanover, 54-53, on February 9, 1996 -- ending the longest winning streak in Ivy League history at 48 games. The Quakers have not lost here since, going 10-0 with the average margin of victory being 17.3 points; aside from a three-point win in 1997, every other game has had a margin of at least 13 points.

• Penn has made the trip to the northernmost Ivies 50 previous times, or every year since 1956-57; the Quakers have swept this trip the last four years, seven of the last nine years, and 10 of the last 14 years. Overall, Penn has swept this trip 32 times, split it 13 times, and been swept five times (the Quakers have not been swept since 1987-88).

Tough Schedule!
• Penn began the Ivy League season with four road games, but is now in a span of playing seven of nine Ivy games at home (including five in an eight-day span from Feb. 9-17).

Scheduling Tough!
• The seven non-Ivy teams to beat Penn this year -- UTEP, Syracuse, Villanova, Fordham, Seton Hall, No. 5 North Carolina and Saint Joseph’s -- entered the week with a combined record of 117-69 (.629 win percentage). All but one of the teams are over .500.

Veteran Leadership
• Ibrahim Jaaber has started all 83 games played by Penn the last three seasons, while Steve Danley has started 81 of the 82 games he has played in that span (he came off the bench for Senior Night in 2004-05, and missed a game to injury in 2005-06). Mark Zoller, meanwhile, has 88 career starts.

Penn’s Personnel...
• Ibrahim Jaaber entered the season with a career high of eight assists; he has already bested that number four times (10 vs. Monmouth on 11/28; nine vs. UIC on 12/21; nine at La Salle on 1/18; nine at Brown on 2/2), matched it four times (11/12 vs. St. Francis; 11/18 vs. Florida Gulf Coast; 1/3 at North Carolina; 1/27 vs. Saint Joseph’s), and had seven assists against Villanova, Temple and Columbia.

• Jaaber already has 137 assists this season; he entered the season with 159 for his career.

• Jaaber’s first steal against UIC (12/21) made him the Ivy League’s all-time leader in that category. With 290 for his career, Jaaber has passed Harvard graduate Andrew Gellert’s total of 242.

• According to Stats, Inc., Jaaber leads all active NCAA Division I players in career thefts. The top five (through games of February 14):
Ibrahim Jaaber, Penn - 290
D.J. Thompson, Appalachian State - 276
Carl Elliott, George Washington - 265
Jamon Gordon, Virginia Tech - 264
Torey Thomas, Holy Cross - 256

• Jaaber has 258 steals in Penn’s last 83 games, dating back to the start of 2004-05 season. That is an average of 3.11 per game; in Ivy play, Jaaber has 127 steals in the last 37 games, an average of 3.43 per contest.

• Jaaber had 22 steals in Penn’s five-game homestand, including six against both Harvard and Princeton.

• Jaaber has 1,416 career points, good for ninth place on Penn’s all-time scoring list; he enters the weekend needing 28 to pass Bruce Lefkowitz (1984-87) for eighth place.

• Jaaber has shot 50 percent or better from the field in 13 of Penn’s 25 games, better than 60 percent 10 times, and 70 percent or better twice.

• Mark Zoller entered the season with a career high of 26 points; he has already surpassed that number three times (29 vs. Monmouth on 11/28; 33 vs. Villanova on 12/2; 28 at La Salle on 1/18) and matched it once (11/18 vs. Fla. Gulf Coast).

• Zoller has hit double figures in scoring each of the last five games (18.2 average) and 28 of Penn’s last 31 games, dating back to last season; his non-double digit games during that stretch were eight-point outings at UNC (1/3), at Elon (1/6) and at Yale (2/3).

• Zoller scored 96 points in Penn’s four Big 5 games this season, a 24.0 average.

• Zoller has shot 50 percent or better 19 times in 25 games this season, including 11 of Penn’s last 12 games (.548 during that span).

• Zoller entered the season with five games of 20 or more points in his collegiate career; he has nine such games already this season, and two others where he scored 19 points.

• Zoller missed the first nine three-pointers he took this year, stretching into Penn’s third game; he has shot 41.7 percent (35-of-84) from beyond the arc since then.

• Zoller enters the weekend with 1,321 points, good for 13th place on Penn’s all-time list. He needs two to pass Tony Price (1977-79) for 12th, 13 to pass Herb Lyon (1946, 48-50) for 11th, and 61 to pass Bob Morse (1970-72) and crack the Top 10. (see page 9 for leaders of all-time scoring list)

• Brian Grandieri entered the season with a career high of 17 points; he has already surpassed that six times in 2006-07 (23 vs. Saint Joseph’s on 1/27; 19 against Florida Gulf Coast on 11/18, Monmouth on 11/28 and UIC on 12/21; 18 vs. Cornell on 1/12; 18 at La Salle on 1/18).

• Grandieri has scored in double figures three of the last four games (11.5 ppg). He has had two six-game double-figure scoring streaks this season, and has reached the 10-point mark 17 times overall in 2006-07.

• Grandieri has been consistently filling the box score this season -- in Penn’s 17 wins he has averaged 14.2 points and 6.0 rebounds, and has accumulated 48 assists and 26 steals.

• Senior center Steve Danley had 15 points and a career-high nine rebounds in the first meeting with Dartmouth, then came back with 10 points and four boards the next night vs. Harvard; he shot 10-of-15 (66.7 percent) from the field in the games.

• Danley is averaging 10.3 points and 5.7 boards in Penn’s last six games; he has three double-figure scoring games during that stretch, two other games with nine points, and one with eight.

• Freshman guard Darren Smith has made his first collegiate starts in Penn’s last five games; in his first start, vs. Dartmouth, he had 10 points.

Download: 0607 Notes 26-27 (@H-D).pdf