No Rest For Men's Basketball, as Fordham Comes Calling

Penn vs. Fordham
Saturday, Dec.9*7 p.m.
The Palestra (8,722)
WXPN (88.5 FM)/ (Brian Seltzer, Vince Curran)
TV: None
Penn Game Notes in PDF Format

PHILADELPHIA - The Penn men’s basketball team concludes a busy first month of the 2006-07 season with Fordham, but after Saturday’s game the Quakers are off for 12 days with the University’s reading period and final exams. The question is, do they want the break? There is no denying that the team, especially the starting five, have been playing at a high level.

Penn kept things going against Thursday night, traveling to Navy—on Pearl Harbor Day, of all days—and gaining a 21-point win over a Midshipmen team that was 7-2 and had won six of its last seven. It was Penn’s fifth win in six games, and the Quakers’ play in those victories has been noteworthy for a number of reasons:

• Penn has outscored its opponents by an average score of 82.0-60.6 (+21.4), with the closest margin of victory being 14 points (80-66 over Monmouth).

• Penn has trailed a total of just 4 minutes and 31 seconds (out of 200 minutes), and the latest point in a game that the Quakers were behind an opponent was with 4:35 left in the first half (against Florida Gulf Coast).

• Penn has shot 52.8 percent from the field (143-of-271), held its opponents to 39.5 percent shooting (105-of-266), and shot 44.3 percent from three-point land (39-of-88).

• Penn has had 111 assists on its 143 baskets (.776 ratio), a 1.39 assist/turnover ratio (111 assists/80 turnovers), and a +4.20 turnover margin (Penn 80 turnovers/opponents 101).

• Penn has had 60 steals, an average of 12 per game.

In Thursday’s win, Michael Kach was the story on a night when the other usual suspects -- Mark Zoller, Ibrahim Jaaber, Steve Danley and Brian Grandieri -- scored in double figures. The junior played his first significant minutes since he left the team after the sixth game of the 2004-05 season, starting in place of an injured Tommy McMahon, and finished with 12 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals in 33 minutes. If he was feeling any pressure, he certainly did not show it -- rather, he began the game by draining a three-pointer on Penn’s first possession.

Surveying the Opponent
• Penn and Fordham are meeting for the eighth time in men’s basketball; the Rams hold a 5-2 lead in the series after last year’s 78-63 win at Rose Hill Gym in Bronx, N.Y.

• Only one team beat Penn worse than Fordham last year, and that was Colorado (78-60).

• Penn’s last win in the series came on Dec. 27, 1973, a 97-66 decision in the Quaker City Tournament at The Palestra.

• Penn is 104-120 all-time against teams from the Atlantic 10.
G. Washington0-1
La Salle37-22
Rhode Island1-1
St. Bonaventure2-1
Saint Joseph’s33-42
Saint Louis0-1

• Fordham went .500 overall last year, 9-7 in the Atlantic 10. Four starters are back for 2006-07. Where some of the preseason publications picked the Rams for 2006-07...
USA Today: 5th in the Atlantic 10
Blue Ribbon: 5th
Street & Smith: 6th
Athlon: 6th
The Sporting News: 7th

Quaker Notemeal
• As of Dec. 9, the three teams who have beaten Penn this year—UTEP, Syracuse and Villanova—have a combined record of 18-6.

• Penn has shot 53.5 percent (169-of-316) from the field, including 47.1 percent (49-of-104) from three-point land, the last six games.

• Penn has shot 74.0 percent (74-of-100) from the foul line the last three games.

• Penn has scored at least 80 points four times in the last six games, and reached 79 on one of the other occasions; the Quakers have scored 80 or more points four times in a five-game span only twice since 1994-95—last year (from Jan. 4-16) and 1998-99 (from Feb. 19-27).

Penn’s Personnel...
• Ibrahim Jaaber entered the season with a career high of eight assists; he has already matched that number twice (11/12 vs. St. Francis; 11/18 vs. Florida Gulf Coast) and bested it once (11/28 vs. Monmouth). Against Villanova, he had seven assists.

• Jaaber has 37 assists in the last six games (6.2 per game); that takes into account the Drexel win, when he had just one.

• Jaaber has 21 steals in the last five games (4.2 spg), and needs just four more to become the Ivy League’s all-time leader; he currently has 239 for his career (Andrew Gellert of Harvard holds the Ivy mark with 242).

• Jaaber has 1,140 points, good for 24th on Penn’s all-time scoring list; he needs 26 to pass Tim Begley for 23rd place.

• If you take away his 1-of-7 performance against Monmouth, Jaaber has shot 42-of-66 (63.6 percent) since the season opener.

• Jaaber has shot at least 55.6 percent from the field in five of the last seven games, and better than 63 percent four times in that stretch.

• Jaaber has had seven rebounds in each of the last two games (Navy and Villanova), leading Penn in that category both times. It is his best output in that stat since he had eight last year against...Villanova (12/13/05).

• Mark Zoller entered the season with a career high of 26 points; he has already matched that once (11/18 vs. Florida Gulf Coast) and surpassed it twice (29 points, 11/28 vs. Monmouth; 33 points, 12/2 vs. Villanova).

• Zoller has hit double figures in scoring every game this year, the only Penn player to do so; in fact, he has a 14-game double-figure scoring streak dating back to last season.

• Zoller is averaging 23.7 ppg during the last six games; during that stretch he has shot 65.3 percent (49-of-75) from the field and 85.3 percent (29-of-34) from the foul line.

• Zoller missed the first nine three-pointers he took this year, stretching into Penn’s third game; he has shot 62.5 percent (15-of-24) from beyond the arc since then.

• Zoller became the 34th player in Penn history to score 1,000 points; he did so with his ninth point last Saturday against Villanova. He enters tonight’s game with 1,040 points.

• Brian Grandieri entered the season with a career high of 17 points; he has already surpassed that twice in 2006-07 (19 points against both Florida Gulf Coast on 11/18 and Monmouth on 11/28).

• Grandieri has been consistently filling the box score this season—during Penn’s four-game winning streak he averaged 15.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.2 steals. In the loss to Villanova, he had 14 points.

• Grandieri has shot 57.6 percent (34-of-59) from the field the last five games.

• Steve Danley has hit for double figures in six-straight games, averaging 12.3 ppg; it is Danley’s best scoring streak since he had seven-straight double-figure games from Jan. 13-Feb. 4, 2005.

• Danley is 19-of-43 (44.2 percent) from the field, but 34-of-43 (79.1 percent) from the foul line the last six games; he went 11-of-16 from the charity stripe at Navy.

• Sophomore swing player Tommy McMahon missed the Navy game due to a bad back; prior to that, he had scored nine points in each of the last two games and averaged 30.6 minutes per game the last three contests.

• McMahon had a career-high four rebounds against Villanova, a career-high four assists against Monmouth, and a career-high 33 minutes vs. Drexel.

• Junior guard Michael Kach saw his first signifcant action of 2006-07 at Navy, getting the starting nod in McMahon’s place. Kach responded with 12 points (going 3-of-3 from the field), three rebounds, three assists and two steals in 33 minutes. On Penn’s first possession of that game, he swished a three-pointer.

• Prior to Navy, Kach had seen his first action of 2006-07 in the Monmouth and Villanova games, seeing five minutes in both contests. Kach left the program after playing in six games as a freshman in 2004-05, and did not play last year.

• Sophomore Brennan Votel broke out in the Monmouth game, playing a career-high 17 minutes and coming up with four points, six rebounds (he entered the game with 12 in his career), two assists and two blocked shots.

• Votel has had two offensive rebounds in four different games this year, including two of the last three contests.

• Votel played double-figure minutes in five-straight games before playing seven against Villanova and then six against Navy.

Download: 0607 Notes 09 (Fordham).pdf