With five players suspended, Penn basketball falls to Delaware
Shorthanded Quakers lost to the Blue Hens for the second time this season
December 21, 2012, 8:48 pm·
NEWARK, Del. — Penn used a rotation of just seven men against Delaware as five were forbidden from floor time for violating team rules.
The adrenaline the new guys brought was enough to afford the Quakers an early 10-point advantage, but their energy faded down the stretch as the Blue Hens rolled to an 83-60 victory.
Juniors Miles Cartwright and Steve Rennard, sophomore Henry Brooks and freshmen Tony Hicks and Darien Nelson-Henry were all held out of the game.
When pressed about how long ago the decision was made, Penn coach Jerome Allen said only, “for a while.”
Allen wouldn’t blame the loss on the lack of depth on the bench, either.
“We had a game plan and we expected to go out and execute it,” he said. “It’s team sport, so whether seven guys played or 15 guys played, I expect the guys to go out and impose their will on the opposing team.”
Dau Jok, Camryn Crocker and Greg Louis all started for the first time in their respective careers. Penn’s starting lineup entering the game averaged a combined 28.4 points per contest.
Nevertheless, Penn (2-8) dominated out of the gate and led by as many as 10 points less than seven minutes in. Fran Dougherty sank his first four shots against a team which, on Nov. 12, he registered a then-career-high 21 points.
But after hitting 7-of-10 from the field to start, the Quakers shot a dismal 3-for-19 from that point to the end of the half. Delaware went into the locker room with a 32-26 advantage.
The Blue Hens (4-8) shot even worse than Penn at 15-for-45 (33 percent), including 0-for-13 from three-point range, in the first frame overall. But 14 offensive rebounds allowed them to amount 18 second-chance points.
Delaware found its stroke in the second and hit its first seven shots after the break to open up an 18-point lead. From the 12:46 mark of the first to the 16:24 mark of the second, the Blue Hens outscored the Quakers, 42-14.
“I guess we felt a little more tired in the second half,” said Dougherty, who finished with 18 points and nine boards. “In the first half we came out strong. The second half, we didn’t have our first step that we had in the first half.
“But I don’t think that was the case — it comes down to focus on defense. When teams go on runs, you can’t keep letting them push that run further and further, and I think that’s been troubling for us this season.”
The Blue Hens dominated the Quakers on the boards, winning the rebounding margin, 51-35. Combined with Penn’s 17 turnovers, it led to Delaware taking 81 shots and racking up 33 second-chance points. The Red and Blue managed just 59 and nine, respectively.
“I don’t care who you’re playing at this level, you’re not going to win too many ballgames,” Allen said of his team’s statistical woes.
Sophomore Greg Louis racked up career-high marks in points (19), rebounds (11) and minutes (35). He reached a double-double in the first half alone.
“I thought he was terrific tonight,” Delaware coach Monté Ross said. “I thought he really drove us in the first half tonight and got layups.”
The loss was the second of the season for the Quakers against the Blue Hens, who also beat them at the NIT Season Tip-Off in November. They will have a full week off before taking on Wagner in Staten Island, N.Y., on Dec. 29 at 4 p.m. Whether or not the five suspended players will return, Allen wouldn’t say.
“Right now, we’re taking it one game at a time.”