Men's Basketball Heads to Villanova

Penn at Villanova
Dec. 1, 2007 * 7 p.m.
The Pavilion (Villanova, Pa.)
None (can be seen on your computer at ESPN360)
Radio: - Brian Seltzer, Vince Curran
(Villanova broadcast will be on WPEN 950 AM)

Penn Game Notes

Coming off a loss at Lafayette Wednesday night, the Quakers enter arguably their toughest two-game set of the season -- a Villanova squad that is on the cusp of a national ranking, and then the No. 1 team in the land, North Carolina.

Penn is certainly not entering the 2007-08 season quietly --with a young, inexperienced roster, the Quakers played seven games in the month of November, and on the day they turn the calendar to December they play their eighth contest. Compare that to just 11 years ago, the 1996-97 season, when Penn did not open the season until Dec. 3.

Tonight marks the Quakers’ third road game, and second in a row. The first two have been a struggle for this young squad -- an 89-68 loss at Loyola (Md.) that was not that close, and then Wednesday night’s 12-point loss to the Leopards.

Quaker Notemeal
• Penn has had nine different players reach double figures in scoring in at least one game already this year, including four freshmen.

• Senior Brian Grandieri, a second-team All-Ivy pick a year ago, is the only Penn player to start all seven games this season; overall, Miller has started 10 different players.

• Grandieri has led Penn in scoring and rebounding four times each out of seven games this season; he has scored in double figures in six of the Quakers’ seven games.

• Senior Michael Kach had 17 points to lead Penn in scoring Wednesday at Lafayette; the week before that, against The Citadel, he set a new career high with 19 points.

• Kach is 13-of-14 (.929) from the foul line the last two games; he was 8-of-8 at Lafayette.

• Freshman Tyler Bernardini has scored 53 points in the last four games (13.3 ppg) including three double-figure scoring games (18 against The Citadel, 13 vs. Virginia, 15 against Navy).

• His classmate and roommate, Harrison Gaines, has dished out 23 assists in the last four games; he had 12 -- one shy of the Penn school record -- in the Quakers’ win over The Citadel.

• Freshman Jack Eggleston has only two games in double figures, but has scored at least seven points in all seven games this season.

The Series With Villanova
• Tonight’s Philadelphia Big 5 meeting represents the 55th between Penn and Villanova in men’s basketball; the Wildcats lead the series, 36-18, after last year’s riveting, 99-89 win at The Palestra.

• Villanova has won each of the last four games in this series, but prior to that Penn bested the ‘Cats on a pair of occasions. On Dec. 5, 2001, the Quakers won 75-74 in overtime; on Dec. 10, 2002, Penn dropped Villanova, 72-58.

• Penn is 81-111 against the teams that currently make up the Big East Conference.
Notre Dame2-20
St. John’s5-4
Seton Hall1-2
West Virginia1-1

• Penn has won its Big 5 opener 18 times in the 51-year history of the intracity rivalry; of those 18, nine have led to the Quakers winning at least a share of the Big 5 title.

Defending Their Honor
Penn can keep one of its proudest legacies alive with a win Saturday --if Villanova wins, it will be the Wildcats’ 12th straight Big 5 victory. That will tie the long-standing record held by the Quakers, who won 12 in a row from Jan. 19, 1972 to Jan. 18, 1975.

Ivy League Honors
Freshman Harrison Gaines became the second Penn player in two weeks to earn Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors (he shared it with Peter Sullivan of Brown). Gaines scored 11.0 points per game, grabbed 3.3 rebounds per contest, and dished out 22 assists in three games last week, helping Penn go 2-1. He had 12 assists -- one shy of the school record -- in Penn’s win over The Citadel, against just two turnovers. Against Virginia (where he was matched up with the Cavaliers’ All-America guard, Sean Singletary), Gaines had eight more assists as well as his first double-figure scoring game as a collegian with 12 points. He capped the week with another 12-point effort in the win over Navy, and snared seven rebounds.

• With Gaines’ honor, Penn is now 2-for-2 with the weekly rookie honor; Jack Eggleston won the first award this season, for the week of Nov. 19.

2007-08 Honors
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
• Penn head coach Glen Miller has started 10 different players through seven games this season, but seems to be settling on most of his starting five; against Lafayette, for the fifth-straight game, four of the starters were senior Brian Grandieri and freshmen Tyler Bernardini, Jack Eggleston and Harrison Gaines. (the fifth starter has alternated between sophomores Andreas Schreiber and Justin Reilly)

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 Lafayette
• The loss snapped an eight-game win streak the Quakers had over the Leopards, dating back to Jan. 27, 1997.

• Perhaps more impressively, Penn had won 23 in a row against Patriot League teams before this loss.

• Senior Michael Kach not only led all scorers with 17 points; he also set a career high with five assists, and matched a career best with six rebounds.

• Kach went a perfect 8-of-8 from the foul line.

Notes From Navy
• Penn and Navy had six ties and eight lead changes; prior to this game, the Quakers had seen just one lead change through their first five games (when Howard overcame Penn midway through the first half).

• It marked the first time this season Penn overcame a halftime deficit to win a game.

• Penn took 42 foul shots, one day after taking 40 against Virginia.

• Penn put four players in double figures for the third game in a row: Brian Grandieri (18), Tyler Bernardini (15), Harrison Gaines (12) and Justin Reilly (10).

Notes From Virginia
• Penn allowed 100 points to an opponent for just the second time in the Glen Miller era; the other time was also against an ACC school, when North Carolina dropped 102 on the Quakers last season.

• The last time Penn allowed an opponent to score 100 points in The Palestra was Feb. 10, 1990, when Harvard beat the Quakers, 105-97.

• The game pitted Miller against UVA head coach Dave Leitao; they were assistant coaches together under Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun at UConn from 1986-87 to 1992-93.

• Freshman Remy Cofield -- who did not score a point in Penn’s first four contests -- scored a game-high 20 points off the bench; it marked the most points by a Penn freshman since Mark Zoller scored 24 against Brown on Feb. 20, 2004. (that Brown team, of course, was coached by current Penn mentor Glen Miller)

• Gaines had his first double-figure scoring game as a collegian, with 12 points.

Notes From The Citadel
• Penn reached the 90-point mark for the fourth time in the Glen Miller era; the Quakers are 4-0 in those games.

• Penn shot season-high percentages from the field (.579), beyond the arc (.474) and at the free-throw line (.818).

• Penn had 30 assists on its 33 baskets, its best assist total in a game since the Quakers had 31 against Florida Gulf Coast almost exactly a year ago (11/18).

• Senior Michael Kach scored 19 points, a career high (previously 14 last year at Harvard).

• Bernardini (18) and freshman Jack Eggleston (13) had their first collegiate double-figure scoring games.

• Gaines finished with 12 assists, one shy of the school record and just the ninth time a Penn player has reached that mark in program history. He had just two turnovers in the contest.

Download: 0708 Notes 8 (@Villanova).pdf