Men's Hoops Gears Up For Saint Joseph's

Penn vs. Saint Joseph’s
Saturday, Jan. 27 * 7 p.m. * The Palestra * Philadelphia
WXPN (88.5 FM) / (Brian Seltzer, Vince Curran)
TV: None

Penn Game Notes in PDF Format

PHILADELPHIA - Wednesday night was a special one at The Palestra, for so many reasons. It allowed Penn fans to welcome back an old friend, as Fran Dunphy made his first return since taking over at Temple. That subplot soon took a backseat, though, as the Quakers and Owls engaged in a classic City Series battle that added an indelible chapter to the venerable building.

Saturday night, in the Big 5 Hall of Fame Game, can the Quakers repeat that performance against a young but talented Saint Joseph’s team?

Those who were in attendance Wednesday night will not soon forget it. Penn fell behind by 19 in the first half, still trailed by 10 at the start of the second half and was down by six with six minutes to play. Yet somehow the veteran squad was able to eke out a Big 5 victory for the second game in a row (and its fifth-straight overall).

With those wins in mind, tonight’s game takes on that much more significance. If Penn can knock off Saint Joseph’s tonight, the Quakers will finish the Big 5 season at 3-1. Then they will be cheering for the Hawks to knock off Villanova on February 6; if that happens, Penn will finish tied with the Wildcats -- and, quite possibly, the Hawks -- for the City Series title.

Penn has been led in recent games by seniors Ibrahim Jaaber and Mark Zoller and junior Brian Grandieri. Jaaber has scored 48 points and dished out 16 assists in Penn’s two most recent games, while Zoller has 80 points in three Big 5 games this season and double-doubles against La Salle and Temple. Grandieri, meanwhile, is averaging 16.5 points per game the last four contests and had 16 points, 10 boards and four assists in Wednesday’s win over the Owls.

Free Video Webcast! will offer FREE live streaming video of the Penn-Saint Joseph’s game; the event is being webcast as part of the free introduction of the Penn Sports Network, an Internet-only multimedia network covering Quaker athletics. Fans will be able to access the video stream beginning at 6:45 p.m. EST Saturday evening. Windows Media Player will be required to view the stream. Users will have to sign up, although there is no cost to view the stream. Click here to sign up!

All Big 5, All The Time: Penn is playing three Big 5 games in a row, something the Quakers have done just three other times in the 51-year history of the round-robin city series (1969-70, 1980-81, 2004-05). Looking at the schedule even closer, this run marks just the second time Penn has played three Big 5 games within a 10-day span. In 1970, the Quakers played Temple (Jan. 21), Saint Joseph’s (Jan. 24) and La Salle (Jan. 27) within the span of a week. Penn won all three of those games.

Gunning For 200: Penn’s John R. Rockwell Head Coach of Men’s Basketball, Glen Miller, is attempting to win his 200th game as a college head coach today; he went 95-58 at Division III Connecticut College and 93-99 at Brown, and is 11-6 so far at Penn.

Surveying the Opponent
• Saturday’s meeting between Penn and Saint Joseph’s is the 76th between these intracity rivals, with the Hawks holding a 42-33 advantage in the series.

• Last year, the Hawks escaped The Palestra with a 47-44 win; the year before that, Penn defeated Saint Joseph’s, 67-59.

• Penn enters this week with an all-time record of 108-137 against the other Big 5 schools, including a loss to Villanova (99-89) and wins over La Salle (93-92) and Temple (76-74) earlier this season.
La Salle38-22
Saint Joseph’s33-42

• Penn is 103-118 all-time against teams from the Atlantic 10, including a 77-60 loss to Fordham at The Palestra on December 9, last week’s 93-92 win at La Salle, and Wednesday’s 76-74 victory over Temple here at The Palestra.
G. Washington0-1
La Salle38-22
Rhode Island1-1
St. Bonaventure2-1
Saint Joseph’s33-42
Saint Louis0-1

Scheduling Tough!
• The six teams to have beaten Penn this year—UTEP, Syracuse, Villanova, Fordham, Seton Hall and No. 4 North Carolina—had a combined record of 81-35 (.698 win percentage) entering the weekend.

Home Court Advantage?
• After not playing at home for 34 days, from December 21 to January 24, Penn is playing in The Palestra for the second time since Wednesday. This is the second game in a stretch that will see the Quakers play seven of nine games between January 24 and February 17 here at The Palestra (including a brutal stretch of five Ivy League games in an eight-day span from February 9-17).

Download: 0607 Notes 18 (SJU).pdf