Penn (3-7) vs. Elon (6-5)
Dec. 20, 2007 * 7 p.m.
The Palestra (Philadelphia)
Radio: WPEN (950 AM) / PSN Video/Audio (PennAthletics.com) - Brian Seltzer, Vince Curran
Penn Game Notes (PDF)
Elon Game Notes (PDF)
PHILADELPHIA - At last, a break! The Quakers played 10 games between November 9 and December 8; however, with University exams taking place, tonight’s game with Elon represents Penn’s first since that 69-61 win over Monmouth 12 days ago. After this contest, the Quakers are off for another nine days, thanks to the Christmas holiday.
A young Penn team may have shown some signs that it is growing up in its last outing -- with the game hanging in the balance, the Quakers rolled up 10 unanswered points to turn a one-point lead into an 11-point advantage and effectively put away a pesky Monmouth squad.
Penn has had nine different players reach double figures in scoring in at least one game already this year, including four freshmen.
Penn has played three ranked teams in its last six games, with two of them at home -- then-#23 Virginia, at then-#21 Villanova, and current #1 North Carolina.
Senior Brian Grandieri, a second-team All-Ivy pick a year ago, is the only Penn player to start all 10 games this season; overall, head coach Glen Miller has started 10 different players.
Freshmen Tyler Bernardini, Jack Eggleston and Harrison Gaines swept the Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors the first four weeks this season, with Bernardini winning it twice, Eggleston once and Gaines once.
Bernardini has scored 60 points in the last three games, including 21 against Villanova and 26 vs. North Carolina. Beyond that, he has averaged 16.2 ppg in the last seven games, with six double-figure outings.
Eggleston has only two games in double figures; however, he has scored at least seven points in all but two games this season and is averaging 7.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per contest.
Sophomore Justin Reilly has scored 48 points in the last five games -- hitting double digits three times in that stretch -- and started each of the last four.
Junior Aron Cohen made his second collegiate start at Monmouth (the other came November 11 at Loyola); his only field goal against the Hawks was the catalyst to a 10-0 run that put the game away.
The Series With Elon
Penn and Elon are playing for the second time in program history, and in fact for the second year in a row.
Last year, the Quakers closed out a two-game trip to Tobacco Road with a 66-64 win over the Phoenix in Elon, N.C. In that game, Ibrahim Jaaber scored 14 points to lead Penn, while Steve Danley added 11.
Penn boasts a winning record all-time against the schools that currently make up the Southern Conference; the most recent game against a SoCon opponent came exactly one month ago, on Nov. 20, when the Quakers defeated The Citadel right here at The Palestra, 93-77.
The Citadel ... 5-0
Davidson ... 4-4
Elon ... 1-0
Furman ... 1-1
Stay At Home
In a marked departure from most Ivy League or mid-major schedules, Penn is already playing its seventh home game of 2007-08 (compared to just four road contests). Among the teams that have visited The Palestra this year to play the Quakers are last year’s ACC regular-season co-champions, Virginia and North Carolina.
Penn has already had three different freshmen earn Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors a total of four times -- coincidentally, the honor has only been given four times so far this season. The only time Penn did not win the honor was Monday, after the Quakers did not play the previous week, and in fact nobody from the League was given the award. Jack Eggleston was the first recipient, on Nov. 19; Harrison Gaines was next, sharing the honor with Brown’s Pete Sullivan on Nov. 26; and most recently Tyler Bernardini won it both Dec. 3 and 10 for his efforts against Villanova, North Carolina and Monmouth.
Tyler Bernardini (#3)
Ivy League Rookie of the Week (12/10)
Ivy League Rookie of the Week (12/3)
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
Just when it seemed like Penn head coach Glen Miller might be settling on his starting five, he changed it up by going with junior Aron Cohen ahead of freshman Harrison Gaines at Monmouth. Miller has started 10 different players through 10 games this season. However, for the eighth-straight game, three of the starters were senior Brian Grandieri and freshmen Tyler Bernardini and Jack Eggleston; in the last four games, sophomore Justin Reilly has also gotten the nod.
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 Monmouth
With the win, Penn remained not only unbeaten against Monmouth, but improved to 12-0 all-time against schools that currently make up the Northeast Conference.
Penn improved to 3-0 this season when shooting a better field-goal percentage than its opponent. (see page 8)
Cohen made just his second collegiate start -- the other came November 11 at Loyola (Md.) -- and his only field goal in the game kicked off a 10-0 Penn run that turned a 52-51 lead into an 11-point advantage that Monmouth could not overcome.
Grandieri had a game-high 21 points, marking the fifth time he has led Penn in scoring in a game this season. It was also Grandieri’s third 20-point game this season and fourth of his college career.
Reilly scored 12 points, his third time reaching double figures in the last five games (9.6 ppg during that stretch).
Notes From UNC
For the first time in program history, Penn hosted the Associated Press’ top-ranked team at The Palestra. In fact, it marked just the third time the Quakers have even played the top-ranked team.
Freshman Tyler Bernardini hit a career high for the second-straight game, scoring 26 points. That marked the most points by a Penn freshman in a game since Jerome Allen dropped 31 on Cornell in the 1991-92 season finale (March 7, 1992).