Coming off of one of the biggest games in his tenure as Penn’s head coach, Jerome Allen spoke on the Ivy League mid-season teleconference about the struggles his team has had with turnovers and the balance his team has.
Penn leads the Ancient Eight in turnovers, averaging 17.2 per game. The second worst team, Brown, averages 2.5 less than Penn. Princeton only coughs up the rock 10.4 times a game, a large reason why the Tigers have performed so well this season.
“I think our biggest issue is the unforced turnovers,” Allen said. “They’ve really killed us. We’ve played in games that have come down to the last possession, but really, there were eight or nine careless turnovers that, had they been valued a little better, maybe we wouldn’t be in that position.
“I don’t care who you play against at this level, if you’re consistently getting beaten on the offensive glass, giving teams extra possessions, you’d be hard pressed to get a win.”
While Penn is still working to clean up the turnovers, avoid offensive rebounds and close out on defenders, the Quakers do have potentially the most balanced roster during Allen’s time in terms of scoring.
Four players average more than 10 points per game for Penn, with sophomores Tony Hicks and Darien Nelson-Henry standing at first and second on the team while seniors Fran Dougherty and Miles Jackson-Cartwright round out the top four.
But Allen couldn’t acknowledge the success on offense if the team is still struggling on defense.
“I guess in terms of scoring the ball, this team is the most balanced. But we just try and focus in defensively, and we haven’t been,” Allen said. “We haven’t had consistent effort over the course of forty minutes from any group we put out on the floor, but that balance is good, and it just highlights that they’re sharing the ball, and screening for one another, and being where they’re supposed to be.
“We give everyone the opportunity to score the ball. I think it’s our job as a staff to make them into more consistent defenders.”