Men's Basketball Hosts #5 Villanova Saturday

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PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team hits the midway point of a five-games-in-14-days stretch -- after playing just twice in 31 days --and meets arguably its most daunting task of the 2014-15 season on Saturday. Fifth-ranked Villanova comes to a sold-out Palestra to face a Quakers team that went to Niagara and defeated the Purple Eagles, 67-56, on Tuesday night in its most recent action.

GAME 13 – PENN (4-8) vs. #5/5 VILLANOVA (16-1)
Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 * 7 p.m.
Philadelphia (The Palestra)

The Series
*The Wildcats hold a 43-18 lead in the series and have won 11 in a row since Penn won back-to-back matchups in 2001 and 2002.

*Villanova won last year’s meeting, 77-54, despite 12 points from junior Darien Nelson-Henry.

*Penn has a 32-61 all-time record against programs that currently play in the Big East; as you might imagine, a majority of those results come from the nearly annual series with Villanova.

Penn vs. Ranked Opponents
Villanova entered the week ranked fifth in this week’s Associated Press (AP) national media poll...

*Penn is 19-83 all-time against teams that were ranked in the AP poll at the time of their meeting with the Quakers. That includes a 14-35 mark at The Palestra.

*Penn has beaten a Top 5 team just once: on December 28, 1971, the Quakers -- themselves ranked 14th at the time -- knocked off No. 5 USC, 88-87, at the Kodak Classic in Rochester, N.Y.; overall, the Red and Blue are 1-22 against AP Top 5 teams.

*This is the highest-ranked opponent Penn has faced since November 27, 2010, when the Quakers travelled to No. 5 Pitt and lost to the Panthers, 82-58.

Quaker Notemeal of Note
*Penn has shot better than 50 percent from the field in two of the last three games; three of the last six contests; and five times in its last 10 outings.

*Penn has outrebounded nine of its 12 opponents this season.

*Junior guard Tony Hicks has scored in double figures in four straight games; six of the last seven; and 10 of the Quakers’ 12 contests this season.

*Sophomore guard Matt Howard has scored 11 points each in three of Penn’s last four games; in the lone game that he didn’t reach double digits, he had nine points.

*Junior center Darien Nelson-Henry had a two-game double-digit scoring streak snapped Tuesday at Niagara, but nearly had his second double-double of the season (9 points, 9 rebounds).

*Senior forward Greg Louis has shot 76.9 percent from the field (10 of 13) over the last three games.

Notemeal at Niagara
*For the first time this season, Penn won a game in which it trailed at halftime.

*Penn improved to 3-1 in games when the Quakers make more free throws than their opponent.

*Penn is 26-6 under Coach Allen when holding its opponent under 60 points.

*Penn made a season-high 23 free throws and shot a season-best 82.1 percent from the foul line (23 of 29).

*Niagara had four assists, tied for an opponent low in that category in the Jerome Allen coaching era at Penn.

*Junior Tony Hicks led Penn in scoring for the seventh time this season, with 18 points; 16 of Hicks’ 18 points came after halftime.

*Freshman Mike Auger set a season/career high with two steals.

Download: MBB Notes 201415 Penn.pdf