PHILADELPHIA - A young Penn men’s basketball team has had a long time to contemplate the direction of this season -- a school-record 24 days, in fact. An ambitious early-season slate did nothing for the team’s confidence, as a series of hot teams put the Quakers at 1-6 heading into the exam break. Penn looks to regain some of its swagger this week at the UCF Holiday Classic, but it won’t be easy as the Quakers open the tournament with the host Knights from out of Conference USA.
GAME 8 Penn (1-6) at UCF (6-4)
UCF Holiday Classic 1st Round
Monday, Dec. 29, 2008 * 7 p.m.
Radio: WXPN 88.5 FM (Brian Seltzer, Vince Curran)
Penn Game Notes (PDF)
UCF Game Notes (PDF)
The six teams Penn has lost to this season are a combined 52-17, a 75.0 winning percentage (UNC 11-0, Drexel 3-6, Penn State 11-2, Albany 8-4, Villanova 11-1, Navy 8-4).
Penn has five players among the top 17 scorers in the Ivy League;; no other team has more than four in the top 20 (Brown 4, Cornell 3, Dartmouth 3, Yale 3, Harvard 1, Princeton 1).
Through seven games, Penn has had five different players lead it in scoring (Tyler Bernardini vs. UNC, Monmouth and Albany; Kevin Egee vs. Drexel; Jack Eggleston vs. Penn State; Harrison Gaines vs. Villanova; Brennan Votel vs. Navy) and four different players lead in rebounding (Eggleston vs. UNC, Penn State, Villanova and Navy; Votel vs. Drexel and Villanova; Conor Turley vs. Monmouth; Zack Rosen vs. Albany).
Bernardini has reached the 20-point mark twice this season, giving the sophomore eight such games for his career. He leads Penn with five double-figure scoring games so far this season.
Rosen, a freshman, leads the Ivy League in assists per game (5.60) and assist/turnover ratio (3.55); he is seventh nationally in assist/turnover ratio. In his first four collegiate games, Rosen had 25 assists and just three turnovers (all against No. 1 UNC).
Sophomores Eggleston and Gaines have scored in double figures in three of Penn’s last four games, averaging 12.8 and 11.5 ppg, respectively, during that span.
Votel, a senior, entered this season with one double-figure scoring game as a collegian; he has three such games already this season, with 17 points at Drexel and 14 against both Monmouth and Navy. He also fell one rebound shy of a double-double against both Drexel and Navy.
After scoring in double figures in each of Penn’s first four games, Egee -- also a senior -- has been held to a combined 14 points the last three contests.
Penn vs. UCF
The Quakers and the Knights are meeting for the first time in men’s basketball.
Taking it a step further, Penn is entering uncharted waters with this entire tournament field; the Quakers have also never met either Campbell or Chicago State, the other teams in Orlando this week.
Penn has a 7-8 all-time record against the teams that currently comprise Conference USA. The last time the Quakers played a Conference USA team was the 2006-07 season opener, when they lost to UTEP 67-66 in the BCA Invitational at Syracuse, N.Y.
Marshall ... 0-1
Memphis ... 0-1
Rice ... 1-1
SMU ... 3-2
Tulane ... 3-1
Tulsa ... 0-1
UTEP ... 0-1
The Penn men’s basketball program is making its second trip to Florida in as many years; last year the Quakers came to the Sunshine State for regular-season games against Florida Gulf Coast and Miami.
Monday’s game is Penn’s first since December 5; the 24-day break was an in-season record for the program, which dates games to 1897.
Notemeal From Navy...
The loss snapped a seven-game win streak Penn had over the Midshipmen, dating back to the 1989-90 season.
The game was played at The Palestra on the eve of the Army-Navy football game, which took place this season at Lincoln Financial Field (home of the Philadelphia Eagles).
Senior Brennan Votel became the fifth different player to lead Penn in scoring in a game, with 14 points; he also had nine rebounds, nearly getting his first collegiate double-double.
Notemeal From Villanova...
Sophomore Harrison Gaines became the fourth different player to lead Penn in scoring in a game, with 14 points.
Sophomore Remy Cofield made his first start of the season, and just the second of his collegiate career.
After missing the first five games due to a shoulder injury, junior Andreas Schreiber saw his first game action of 2008-09; he had two points, a rebound, a steal and an assist in 14 minutes.
Download: UCF vs. Penn Game Notes.pdf