MBB_Princeton-Rothschild

Junior center Max Rothschild filled out the stat sheet against Princeton, with 10 points, six rebounds, and five assists.

Photo: Chase Sutton

There were plenty of conclusions to draw from Penn men's basketball's 76-70 victory over Princeton, but one stood out above the rest.

This team is flat-out fun to watch.

This iteration of the Red and Blue is probably the best squad the program has had in a decade. The Quakers play with intensity, energy, and athleticism. They've got fluid ball movement, three-point sharpshooters, and two big men who pass as well as they score. They've got a great starting five, but they also have a deep and talented bench.

The Quakers score in droves too. This season, Penn is averaging 79.2 points per game. It hasn't even averaged above 70 since 2006-2007. We've already seen some of the high-scoring highlights too: 99 points against PSU-Brandywine, 101 against Monmouth (albeit with four overtimes), and 105 against Delaware State.


Photo: Chase Sutton

And it's not like it's just one or two players who do the bulk of the scoring; on any given night, anyone can lead the team in scoring. Six different Quakers have already led the team in scoring in a game this year. It doesn't matter who does it, but someone has risen to take the mantle each game when the team's needed it the most.

We saw that against Princeton. In the first half, Ryan Betley put the team on his back, racking up 19 of Penn's 31 points. But as Princeton's defense adjusted and covered him tighter, AJ Brodeur, Max Rothschild, and Antonio Woods stepped up to fill the void.

As this game proved, the Quakers are ready to contend for the Ivy title now. They've got the experience from last year, but now they're a better, more complete team. They can hang with the best; they might even be the best.

With today's win, Penn has officially come out of the program's dark years of the past decade. It only took three years for Donahue to shape this team in his image and turn it into a legitimate contender in the conference.

Photo: Chase Sutton

There were plenty of people in the stands for the game, and it made for a great atmosphere. As the game drew to a close, the crowd roared with every basket. Understandably though, there were very few students in attendance.

So when you get back to campus after winter break, there's one thing I want you to do:

Come watch this team.

All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.