Men's Basketball Meets Monmouth Tuesday at The Palestra

MEN'S BASKETBALL GAME 6
Penn vs. Monmouth
Tuesday, Nov. 28 *7 p.m.
The Palestra (cap. 8,722)
Radio/Internet:
WXPN (88.5 FM)/PennAthletics.com
(Brian Seltzer, Vince Curran)
TV: None
Penn Game Notes in PDF Format

PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania entered the season as a unanimous pick to once again win the Ivy League title, after winning the last two and four of the last five. Every preseason publication picked the Quakers to dominate the Ancient Eight, and when the conference-sponsored media poll came out they were unanimous in choosing Penn.

Monmouth faces similar expectations after sneaking away with the Northeast Conference tournament title last year and playing in its third NCAA Tournament in the last six years. The Hawks returned three starters from that team, which won the NCAA play-in game before falling to Villanova at the Wachovia Center in the first round.

Penn (3-2) boasts Ibrahim Jaaber, the 2005-06 Ivy League Player of the Year who happened to set the school’s single-season and career steals records last year.

Monmouth (2-4) can turn to Whitney Coleman, an NEC All-Rookie pick last year who had 35 steals and led the Hawks in three-point shooting percentage.

Up front, Penn has Mark Zoller averaging nearly 20 points a game this year after earning first-team All-Ivy and second-team All-Big 5 in 2005-06. He already has two double-doubles on the young season.

Monmouth counteracts with Marques Alston and Deki Delic. Alston was a second-team All-NEC selection last year and then took MVP honors at the NEC Tournament; he led the Hawks in rebounding and was second in scoring last year, behind Delic who averaged 12.3 ppg.

On the blocks, Penn looks to Steve Danley, an honorable mention All-Ivy pick the last two years who is averaging 11.4 points and 4.2 boards this season, and has eight blocked shots.

However, he will be dwarfed by Monmouth’s big man -- John Bunch goes 7-foot-2, 320 pounds. He made quite an impression in his first year with the Hawks by setting the program’s single-season mark with 74 blocked shots. This year, he has 23 after six games.

While Penn has had a week to prepare for tonight’s game, Monmouth comes to The Palestra for the first time off an emotional, 52-51 win over St. Peter’s Saturday afternoon.

Surveying the Opponent
• Penn and Monmouth have met just one time prior to tonight; that came on Jan. 18, 2003 when the Quakers rolled to a 98-54 victory at the Asbury Park (N.J.) Convention Center.

• Penn is a perfect 9-0 against the teams that currently make up the Northeast Conference, including its 86-56 win over St. Francis (N.Y.) earlier this season at the BCA Invitational.
Fairleigh Dickinson ... 2-0
Monmouth ... 1-0
St. Francis (N.Y.) ... 1-0
St. Francis (Pa.) ... 5-0

• Beyond Penn’s record against the NEC, the last four games the Quakers have played against Northeast Conference teams have resulted in an average victory of 29.75 points (+15 at FDU, +30 vs. FDU, +44 vs. Monmouth, +30 vs. SFNY).

Quaker Notemeal
• Penn enters tonight’s game having won its last three games by a combined 72 points, having shot 86-of-155 (.555) from the field -- including 25-of-54 (.463) from three-point land -- and dishing out 69 assists against 46 turnovers (a 1.50 assist /turnover ratio).

• Since Penn’s opening game, when he scored just five points before fouling out in 23 minutes, senior guard Ibrahim Jaaber has averaged 16.8 ppg (shooting .644 from the field) and come up with 21 assists -- tying his career high of eight dishes on two occasions -- and 10 steals.

• In the last two games, junior guard Brian Grandieri has racked up 31 points, 15 rebounds, 17 assists (against five turnovers) and nine steals.

• Senior center Steve Danley has hit double digits in scoring three-straight games and four times in five contests this season; he is averaging 13.0 ppg the last three contests.

The Goods From Drexel...
• Ibrahim Jaaber scored a game-high 22 points, including 16 of Penn’s first 22 points of the game as he hit his first six shots from the field; since Penn’s opening game, when he scored just five points before fouling out in 23 minutes, Jaaber has averaged 16.8 ppg (shooting .644 from the field) and come up with 21 assists and 10 steals.

• Mark Zoller had his second double-double of the season and the 14th of his career with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

• Brian Grandieri nearly had a triple-double with 12 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. In the last two games the junior has racked up 31 points, 15 rebounds, 17 assists (against five turnovers) and nine steals.

• Steve Danley hit double digits in scoring for the third-straight game and the fourth time in five contests this season; he is averaging 13.0 ppg the last three contests.

• All 68 of Penn’s points came from its starters, the first time this season that has happened.

The Goods on Penn
• Jaaber enters tonight’s game needing 19 steals to become the Ivy League’s all-time leader; he has 224 in his career. Harvard’s Andrew Gellert hold the mark at 242.

• Jaaber enters tonight’s game with 1,098 points in his career; he became the 33rd player in Penn history to pass the 1,000-point mark last year, and he is currently 27th on Penn’s all-time scoring list. His next target? Current Penn Director of Athletics Steve Bilsky (1,108 points).

• Zoller is a good bet to be the 34th player to reach the milestone; he enters the Monmouth game needing 38 points to reach 1,000.

Download: 0607 Notes 06 (Monmouth).pdf