Penn (4-7) at Florida Gulf Coast (3-9)
Dec. 29, 2007 * 7 p.m.
Alico Arena (Fort Myers, Fla.)
Radio: WXPN (88.5 FM) / PennAthletics.com - Brian Seltzer, Vince Curran
Penn Game Notes (PDF)
PHILADELPHIA - A youthful Penn team played 10 games between November 9 and December 8; however, between the University’s exam period and the Christmas holiday, when the Quakers tip off with the Eagles it will mark just the second game Penn has played in a 21-day period.
This trip figures to be a good chance for the Quakers to gain in maturity. Winners of two straight but with just a 1-3 road record, Penn is bolstered by the fact that it won its last game away from home (a 69-61 decision at Monmouth on Dec. 8). However, this is the team’s first extended road trip of 2007-08 -- in fact, believe it or not, this is just the second overnight trip for the Quakers, even though the season is nearly two months old. The first came the very first weekend of the season, when Penn went to Baltimore to face Loyola (Md.).
Penn has had nine different players reach double figures in scoring in at least one game already this year, including four freshmen.
Penn has played three ranked teams this season -- then-#23 Virginia, at then-#21 Villanova, and current #1 North Carolina -- with another, at the University of Miami (#19), on the horizon during this trip.
Senior Brian Grandieri, a second-team All-Ivy pick a year ago, is the only Penn player to start all 11 games this season; overall, head coach Glen Miller has started 10 different players.
Freshmen Tyler Bernardini, Jack Eggleston and Harrison Gaines have swept the Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors all five times it has been given this season, with Bernardini winning it three times, Eggleston once and Gaines once.
Bernardini has scored 83 points in the last four games, including 21 against Villanova, 26 vs. North Carolina and 23 vs. Elon. He has averaged 17.0 ppg in the last eight games, with seven double-figure outings.
Eggleston has only two games in double figures; however, he has scored at least seven points in all but two games this season and is averaging 7.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest.
Sophomore Justin Reilly has scored 50 points in the last six gameshitting double digits three times in that stretchand started each of the last five.
Junior Aron Cohen has started the last two games; they are just the second and third starts of his collegiate career.
The Series With FGCU
Penn and Florida Gulf Coast are playing each other for the second-consecutive year, and the second time overall.
In last year’s game, Penn was able to pull away down the stretch and dispatch FGCU in Head Coach Glen Miller’s first home game as the Penn mentor. The Quakers used a 19-3 run late in the first half to take a 39-26 lead, but the Eagles responded with the last nine points of the stanza to pull within 39-35 by halftime. Penn built its lead back up to double digits within the first five minutes of the second half, and that advantage fluctuated between single and double digits for several minutes afterward. FGCU got within nine points (80-71) with 4:46 to play, but after that it was all Penn -- the Quakers scored 17 of the game’s last 20 points to clinch the victory. Penn finished with 31 assists on its 36 baskets, and five players hit double figures in the scoring column.
Florida Gulf Coast is in its first year as a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference; however, as a re-classifying Division I program, the Eagles are ineligible to participate in the Atlantic Sun’s postseason tournament and the NCAA Tournament this season.
Penn has already had three different freshmen earn Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors a total of five times -- coincidentally, the honor has only been given five times so far this season. The only time Penn did not win the honor was Dec. 17, after the Quakers did not play the previous week, and in fact nobody was given the award. Jack Eggleston was the first recipient, on Nov. 19; Harrison Gaines was next, sharing the honor with Brown’s Pete Sullivan on Nov. 26; and most recently Tyler Bernardini has won it Dec. 3, Dec. 10 and Dec. 24 for his efforts against Villanova, North Carolina, Monmouth and Elon.
Tyler Bernardini (#3)
Ivy League Rookie of the Week (12/24)
Ivy League Rookie of the Week (12/10)
Ivy League Rookie of the Week (12/3)
Jack Eggleston (#24)
Ivy League Rookie of the Week (11/19)
Harrison Gaines (#22)
Co-Ivy League Rookie of the Week (11/26)
Settling on Starters
Just when it seemed like Penn head coach Glen Miller might be settling on his starting five, he changed it up by going with junior Aron Cohen ahead of freshman Harrison Gaines each of the last two games. Miller has started 10 different players through 11 games this season. However, for the ninth-straight game, three of the starters were senior Brian Grandieri and freshmen Tyler Bernardini and Jack Eggleston; in the last five games, sophomore Justin Reilly has also gotten the nod.
A Bad Break (Literally!)
Sophomore Darren Smith, one of just two returning starters for this year’s team, was lost for the season after he fractured his patella (right knee) in the first half of the season opener against Drexel.
Smith’s injury is actually the second this season to knock the Quakers for a loop; prior to the season, junior Tommy McMahon had surgery which is forcing him to miss the 2007-08 season. He has been plagued by back problems during his first two seasons at Penn, but was expected to be a major contributor.
Notes From Elon
If Quaker fans were feeling deja vu from Penn’s 67-64 win over the Phoenix, that’s probably because last year the Quakers edged Elon, 66-64 -- a one-point difference.
Bernardini had his fourth-straight double-figure scoring game, and his third 20-point outing in the last four contests, with a game-high 23 points.
Bernardini also scored the last nine points of the game for the Quakers, with a three-point basket and six free throws down the stretch.
Cohen set a career high with five assists, and also grabbed three rebounds in his second-consecutive start.
Notes From Monmouth
With the win, Penn remained not only unbeaten against Monmouth, but improved to 12-0 all-time against schools that currently make up the Northeast Conference.
Penn improved to 3-0 this season when shooting a better field-goal percentage than its opponent. (see page 8)
Cohen made just his second collegiate start -- the other came November 11 at Loyola (Md.) -- and his only field goal in the game kicked off a 10-0 Penn run that turned a 52-51 lead into an 11-point advantage that Monmouth could not overcome.
Grandieri had a game-high 21 points, marking the fifth time he has led Penn in scoring in a game this season. It was also Grandieri’s third 20-point game this season and fourth of his college career.
Reilly scored 12 points, his third time reaching double figures in the last five games (9.6 ppg during that stretch).
Notes From UNC
For the first time in program history, Penn hosted the Associated Press’ top-ranked team at The Palestra. In fact, it marked just the third time the Quakers have even played the top-ranked team.
Freshman Tyler Bernardini hit a career high for the second-straight game, scoring 26 points. That marked the most points by a Penn freshman in a game since Jerome Allen dropped 31 on Cornell in the 1991-92 season finale (March 7, 1992).
Download: 0708 Notes 12 (@FGCU).pdf