PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team has followed a common trajectory through two Ivy League weekends -- win on Friday, blown out on Saturday. The Quakers are back home this weekend, and the first goal is to get that Friday victory. It will not be an easy task -- Yale comes to The Palestra tied for first in the Ivy standings and has had the Red and Blue’s number the last few years. On Saturday, Penn hosts Brown. Both games tip off at 7 p.m.
GAME 20 – PENN (7-12, 2-3 Ivy League) vs. YALE (16-7, 5-1)
Friday, Feb. 13, 2015 * 7 p.m.
Philadelphia (The Palestra)
GAME 21 – PENN vs. BROWN (10-13, 1-5)
Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 * 7 p.m.
Philadelphia (The Palestra)
The Y/B Home Weekend
Penn has hosted this weekend 55 times in Ivy League history. The Quakers have swept it 38 times; split it 16 times; and last year, for the first time, they were swept.
The Series with Yale
*Penn has a sizeable lead in the series, 146-74, but has lost four in a row and five of the last six to the Bulldogs.
*Yale has swept each of the last two seasons, including last year when the Bulldogs defeated the Quakers in New Haven (69-54) and then here at The Palestra (70-63).
*Tony Hicks had a pair of nice games last year against the Bulldogs, with 19 points in the first meeting and 15 in the second. However, Yale’s Justin Sears topped that, with a combined 49 points (25/24), while Javier Duren also hit double figures in both contests.
The Series with Brown
*Penn’s lead in this series is even bigger, at 103-23; however, after winning six in a row over the Bears, the Quakers were swept in last year’s series.
*Brown’s first win last year came in Providence, 62-55; the Bears then completed their first sweep of Penn since 2008 with a 76-67 victory here at The Palestra.
*Hicks had big games against Brown last year, with 16 and then 25, while Darien Nelson-Henry scored 20 in the first meeting up in Providence. Brown’s Cedric Kuakumensah (18 points/16) and Steven Spieth (12/19) were leaders a year ago against the Quakers. (In case you’re wondering, yes -- Spieth is in fact the younger brother of PGA golfer Jordan Spieth.)
Two members of the Brown coaching staff have strong ties to the Penn program and to Coach Allen. Bears head coach Mike Martin, of course, spent six years as an assistant at Penn and was on Coach Allen’s staff. Brown’s director of basketball operations, meanwhile, is Ted Rawlings, a 2011 Penn grad who played sprint football and lacrosse for the Quakers and also was a team manager for men’s basketball.
Closing In On 1,000
Junior guard Tony Hicks enters this weekend’s games needing 29 points to reach 1,000 for his career; he would become the 39th player in the program’s history to reach the milestone, and the first since Miles Jackson-Cartwright did it during the 2012-13 season.
Tales of Two Halves
Speaking of Hicks, here’s an interesting note: In Penn’s seven wins this season, he has totaled 22 first-half points and 83 second-half points; in the last four victories, the disparity is an even more astounding 9/60.
Quaker Notemeal of Note
*Penn is 5-0 this season when holding its opponent below 60 points, and 28-6 in such games in the Jerome Allen coaching era.
*Penn is 5-3 this season when leading at the half.
*Penn is 5-2 when making more foul shots in a game than its opponent.
*Penn is 7-2 this season when shooting a better percentage from the field than its opponent.
*Penn is 3-0 when hitting more three-point baskets than its opponent in a game.
*Penn has outrebounded 13 of its 19 opponents this season; in two of those other six games, the Quakers matched their opponent in the rebound column.
*Penn has had six different players lead the team in scoring in a game this season (juniors Tony Hicks and Darien Nelson-Henry; sophomore Matt Howard; freshmen Mike Auger, Sam Jones and Antonio Woods).
*Those six players, plus two others (senior Greg Louis and freshman Darnell Foreman), have had at least one double-figure scoring game this season.
*Penn is undefeated this season when Louis hits double figures in the scoring column (4-0).
*Sam Jones did not hit a field goal over a six-game span from December 22 (at Vanderbilt) to January 24 (Saint Joseph’s); in the last four games, he has 14 field goals, 13 of which are three-point baskets.
*Overall this season, 30 of the 36 field goals Sam Jones has hit have come from beyond the arc.
*Howard has become a reliable scorer in recent weeks, going for double figures in seven of Penn’s last 13 games; in four of those other six games, he had eight or nine points.