Five games into the 2015-16 season, it seems like Penn basketball is a slam dunk — particularly after Darien Nelson-Henry’s performance last night — to be much better than last season’s iteration. The Quakers are off to a 4-1 start for the first time since 2001-02.
Without further ado, here’s all of the record-breaking and interesting facts from Wednesday's win over La Salle. First up, Nelson-Henry, the big man from Kirkland, Wash.
— Nelson-Henry posted 31 points and 14 rebounds, besting his previous career high point total — 20 points vs. Brown his sophomore year — and his highest career rebounding total of 11. His best scoring output last year was 18 points at Princeton.
— This is the third time in his career with five consecutive double-digit scoring efforts in a row. He accomplished the feat once early last season and did it in seven straight games early in his freshman year.
— The 30+ point, 10+ rebound effort was a first for a Penn player since Fran Dougherty did so vs. Fairfield in 2012. Not bad company as Dougherty was another player who rapidly improved as an upperclassmen.
— The senior center’s 14 rebounds were the most by a Penn player since Jack Eggleston had 15 in a game against St. Joseph’s in 2011.
— This was DNH’s second double-double this season. He had four in his career before this year and only one last year.
Now for the rest of the team...
— Penn had not beaten La Salle since 2007. The win breaks an eight-game losing streak to the Explorers, which was the longest in rivalry history (Penn leads 39-30 all-time). The skid was tied for their second longest active losing streak alongside Temple. The Quakers have lost 12 straight to Villanova as well.
— Last time Penn won its first Big 5 game of the year: Dec. 4, 2004, also at home vs. La Salle. Coincidentally, also a career-high night by a senior as Tim Begley poured in 29 points against the Explorers.
— Steve Donahue is the first Penn coach since Tom Schneider in 1985-86 to win his first game against La Salle. Craig Littlepage, Bob Weinhauer and Chuck Daly are the only other three coaches to accomplish that feat.
— First Penn coach to win his first Big 5 game in a while. Last person to do it? Littlepage in 1982 against Villanova.
— Only the second coach in Penn history to have his first Big 5 game come against La Salle (Dick Harter).
— The 16-point win was Penn’s fifth-highest margin of victory ever in a Big 5 contest.
— The team as a whole is on pace for 700 three-pointers attempted this season, which would be a program record.
— The team is also on pace for 459 assists this season, which would rank fifth in Penn history.
— First time the Red and Blue have started 3-0 at home since 2004-2005 (when they started 4-0 with the fourth win coming against La Salle).
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