Freshman forward Mike Auger was a bright spot for Penn basketball on Saturday, notching a team-high 18 points and nine rebounds off the bench. -
Penn (0-3) fell behind early against a polished Lafayette squad and entered halftime facing a 15-point deficit. However, the Quakers surged back in the second frame and got the lead within two points midway through the half before ultimately squandering an opportunity to secure its first win of the season against the Leopards (3-1). A couple of impressive individual performances for the Red and Blue provided a silver lining in a game featuring far too many defensive breakdowns.
Tony Hicks looked uncharacteristically like a younger Steve Nash tonight, racking up 13 assists and just two turnovers on his way to tying the program record for assists in a single game. The entire offense ran through Hicks, and his willingness to be a playmaker allowed Penn to mount a valiant comeback in the second half, even if it fell short.
THE ALSO GOOD
Freshman forward Mike Auger played like anything but a rookie as he took apart the Lafayette defense by cutting to the basket and pulling down five offensive rebounds. Auger finished with 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting and hit all four of his free throw attempts. If that weren’t enough, he gave the Palestra the biggest thrill of the season thus far when he stole the ball and finished with a vicious one-handed slam that cut the Lafayette lead to just two points with 9:28 remaining in game.
Penn already ranked dead last in the Ivy League in points allowed per game after conceding 77 and 73 points in its first two games, and giving up 83 points to Lafayette doesn’t help its case. It probably won’t matter how many assists Hicks dishes out or offensive rebounds Auger brings down if the Quakers continue to give up 77.7 points per game this season.
The Red and Blue also sit at last in the Ancient Eight in free throw percentage at 56.6 percent. Only two Ivy League squads have shot worse than 70 percent this season, and only Penn shoots less than 60 percent. Tonight the Quakers finished the night at 7-for-14, or 50 percent. To make matters worse, free throw shooters not named Mike Auger shot 3-for-10. If it plans on adding to the win column, Penn can’t afford to miss out on points at the charity stripe any longer.
Welcome back to the Palestra for the end of a three-game homestand to start Penn basketball's season. The Quakers will take on Lafayette, which is coming off a big win over Princeton earlier in the week. Seamus Powers, Kenny Kasper and I will bring you all the action
It's the grand fin-Al-e for legendary Penn football coach Al Bagnoli after 23 years at the helm of Penn football. Can the Quakers send their leader off with a victory? Join me and fellow Sports Editor Holden McGinnis as we give you all the action:
What is the rest of the Ivy League up to in men's hoops so far? We take a look at how each Ancient Eight squad started out the week.
The Crimson easily dispatched Florida Atlantic on Thursday night despite a miserable shooting night from Siyani Chambers (two points). Wesley Saunders led the way with 19 as Harvard won by a score of 71-49, easily overcoming the disappointing Holy Cross result from last week.
Yale absolutely destroyed Newbury on Monday, holding the Nighthawks to just 51 points on 27 percent shooting en route to a 97-51 victory. Jack Montague and Sam Downey each had 18 points in a game in which Yale was able to get its starters out early.
Columbia started out strong against Wagner on Tuesday night and never looked back, earning a 70-56 win in the Big Apple. Kyle Castlin had 18 points, and the Lions shot 87 percent as a team from the stripe.
Alex Mitola had 16 for the Big Green, but it wasn't enough, as Dartmouth dropped a close game at Hartford, losing 53-48 on Wednesday.
The Tigers got 19 points from Spencer Weisz and 17 from Hans Brace, but couldn't hang with Lafayette in the second half, scoring just 22 points after the intermission on their way to an 83-66 loss.
Cornell got itself a nice 58-52 win against Colgate on Tuesday behind 21 points from Devin Cherry, but were run off the court by South Carolina, losing 69-45 in Charleston on Thursday.
Cedric Kuakumensah struggled on Monday, as the Bears lost to Northwestern at home, 69-56. He played very well on Wednesday (20 points), as did Leland King (25), but Brown was defeated once again, falling 80-65 on the road to Holy Cross.
In preparation for Penn basketball game against Lafayette on Saturday, I had the opportunity to speak with Leopards captain, forward Seth Hinrichs. As a senior, Hinrichs has played at the Palestra before and knows that defeating Penn at that venue will be a tough task but believes his team has the right game plan. Lafayette is coming off a win over Princeton on Wednesday.
Daily Pennsylvanian: This is the beginning of a three game road trip for Lafayette. How are you guys planning to stop Penn on Saturday and start this road trip on the right foot?
Seth Hinrichs: I think being good defensively. In that game [on Wednesday] against Princeton, we came out and gave up too many wide open shots so it’s just limiting Penn’s shooters and contesting shots and that will get us on the right track hopefully.
DP: You guys have been out-shooting your opponents. The team has a shooting percentage of .500 and the opposition converts only 37 percent shooting. How much of that is credited to the defense?
SH: The first two games we played we used zone against Robert Morris and West Virginia. … [On Wednesday] Princeton shot about 50 percent when we played man so I think we need to shore up our man defense and prove that a little bit going forward so we can continue to get better.
DP: Defensively, the team has had a lot of trouble grabbing rebounds. For every 3 defensive rebounds that they get, they let up 2 offensive rebounds. How do you change that?
SH: We’ve been emphasizing defensive rebounding and defense as a whole all preseason. And going forward from the first few games here, we know that we need to keep it up defensively so I think emphasizing it in practice, continuing to work on it and getting better each day. I think we made some strides, but we need to get better in that area.
DP: On offense, the points have been coming from the entire starting five. How important is that going up against a good defensive team like Penn?
SH: We need to continue to move the ball. We know we have a lot of capable scorers. And we know how tough Penn is and how tough it is to play at the Palestra. We need to move the ball and not take a good shot but a great shot, whether it’s a wide open three or a layup or whatever it may be we need to work all around the court on offense.
DP: How important has sophomore Nick Lindner been to this team’s success? He leads the team in minutes and is in second for points per game.
SH: He’s huge. We kind of go as he goes … He hasn’t really had as much pressure on him this year and it’s really showing. He’s playing more relaxed out there. His leadership has gotten a lot better too. And his play has shown, as a result, how well he’s done so far.
DP: Penn’s top scorer and hot hand at the moment is guard Tony Hicks. How is the team planning on stopping him?
SH: I think it’s going to be a team effort. We know Tony Hicks from the past few years. He’s been a really solid guard for Penn. … Whether we start [Joey ] or [Bryce ] on him we’ll just kind of rotate and then Zach Rupprecht coming off the bench as well and [Nick Lindner] is very capable of guarding him as well. We’ll throw a lot of different guys at him and try to corral him. [We need to be] a unit defensively because we know one guy will not be able to guard him by himself. So we’ll try and help and limit his good looks.
DP: Penn is just recovering from a two-game losing streak and finishes their home stand against you guys. Do you expect to see a lot of fire from this Penn team?
SH: Every time we play Penn it’s a close game. Last year it was a two-point game and the year before that they had a really good comeback and made it a really close game at the Palestra. And we know playing at the Palestra is tough. For the juniors and seniors, two years ago we had to play there so we know the challenge there. Now, if we can play good defense and limit Hicks and get good offensive looks, we’ll have a good gameplan.
DP: What about Penn’s team concerns you the most heading into Saturday?
SH: We know Tony Hicks is kind of their firepower, but they also have a couple capable guards that can make plays and that big guy inside [junior center Darien Nelson-Henry] is a force to be reckoned with, so we know that they’re a really well-rounded team. They move the ball and get good shots like we do. We know it’s a tough task with a team that has a lot of firepower and potential so we know we gotta go out there and play well defensively.
Palestra basketball never sleeps! Penn basketball takes on Rider in a matchup of 0-1 squads looking for their first win of the season. Is it the Quakers' time? Ian Wenik and I will bring you action as we find out together.
Star Harvard guard Siyani Chambers struggled against Holy Cross over the weekend, scoring just one point and committing an uncharacteristic nine turnovers. -
The first Ivy League team to claim a top 25 spot in the preseason polls in 39 years opened up its season with a 73-52 victory against crosstown rival MIT. Although these schools may be more used to competing in the academic world, both teams showed they could compete on the court as well. Senior guard Wesley Saunders led the way for the No. 25 Crimson (1-1) to pick up the victory with 15 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two steals. However, Harvard could not follow up its performance on Sunday, falling to Holy Cross in a close battle, 58-57. With the loss, Harvard’s days in the top 25 are numbered.
In the first ever meeting between Dartmouth (0-1) and St. Bonaventure, the Big Green fell, 77-57. The loss didn’t come as much of a surprise as Dartmouth has failed to win an opener away from Hanover since 1999. Dartmouth stayed in the game in the first half, facing only a one-point deficit at the beginning of the second half, but the Bonnies ran away with it, forcing a total of 19 turnovers on the night.
Yale (0-1) opened its season with a thrilling yet disappointing double-overtime loss to Quinnipiac, 88-85. The game ultimately came down to rebounding as Quinnipiac dominated on the boards, finishing with 54 rebounds including 22 on the offensive end while the Bulldogs only had 38 on the night. Despite the loss, senior guard Javier Duren notched 26 points while junior forward Justin Sears posted a double-double.
Princeton (1-1) split the games on its opening weekend, beating Rider 64-58 on Friday but falling to George Mason 63-60 on Sunday. Overall, the team showed perseverance, overcoming a nine-point deficit against Rider to tie the game at 43 and go ahead with three minutes left. However, on Sunday, a cold first half in which the Tigers went 2-for-17 on field goal attempts spoiled the chance of a weekend sweep.
Brown (1-0) was the only Ivy League team to escape the weekend with an undefeated record, beating St. Peter’s, 70-58, at home. Junior forward Cedric Kuakumensah had a stellar performance on both ends of the court, shooting 7-for-9 from the field and blocking three shots, pulling him just one block shy of the Brown record.
Cornell (1-1) accomplished what Princeton couldn’t this weekend, taking down George Mason, 68-60, with an impressive defensive showing. Senior forward Shonn Miller, who missed all of last season, led the Big Red with a double-double while senior guard Devin Cherry nearly posted a triple-double. However, Cornell could not keep up the momentum on Sunday as it fell to Loyola (Md.), 76-71.
Columbia (0-1) joined the list of other Ivy teams that fell by a slim margin this weekend with a tough 57-56 loss to Stony Brook in its season opener. Stony Brook scored the go-ahead basket with only seven seconds remaining. However, there were several bright spots for the Lions, who shot 50 percent from floor in the first half and 43.8 percent for the game.
Penn football celebrated with cigars after its Ivy title clinching win over Cornell in 2012. -
It’s no secret that things have not gone Penn football’s way this year, but for the man at the helm of the program — coach Al Bagnoli — this season has been the outlier, not the norm.
Over his career, Bagnoli has led the team to nine outright Ivy championships and became the winningest coach in program history.
In preparation for the Quakers’ season ending matchup with Cornell and — more importantly — Bagnoli’s final game on the Penn sidelines, let’s turn back the clock two years to another significant matchup with the Big Red.
On Nov. 17, 2012, the Red and Blue traveled to Ithaca, N.Y. with one thing on their minds: an Ivy championship.
At 5-1 in the league and a game up on second-place Harvard, Penn needed only a win to clinch its third outright Ivy title in four years — a dynasty in the eyes of many onlookers.
Matched up against a Cornell squad that sat at 2-4 in the league, the Red and Blue were clear favorites. But the Quakers were a man down.
Then-senior quarterback Billy Ragone was out with an injury, forcing senior Andrew Holland to make his first start in the final game of his career.
However, the Quakers had faced adversity all year. Over the course of the season, the Red and Blue never won by more than nine points, and a mid-season loss to Yale did not bode well for their title hopes.
They were able to fight through each time, and they entered the game against Cornell with the same attitude, full of confidence.
“I’ve been so blessed to be a part of this class and have the opportunity to win three championships,” Holland said. “It’s a special group.”
The Quakers came out slow, falling behind 13-7 early in the game, but it didn’t take long for them to gain control.
Led by the efficient play of Holland — who completed 18 of his 22 attempts for 255 yards on the game — and an explosive 55-yard third quarter touchdown run by then-senior running back Lyle March, Penn scored 21 unanswered points.
The Quakers took the 15-point lead into the fourth quarter, but they would not be able to coast to victory.
“It wouldn’t be us if we didn’t make it interesting,” senior defensive lineman Brandon Copeland said.
Cornell brought it within eight, and after converting 4th-and-10 and a Penn pick-six negated by a penalty, the Big Red were able to tie it up with 2:57 to go on a score and two-point conversion.
“They scared the living hell out of you,” Bagnoli said.
However, after getting good field position from a short Cornell squib kick, the Quakers were able to keep their cool.
“We were actually pretty calm in the huddle,” Holland said.
Holland overcame his inexperience and marched Penn down the field, leading to a three-yard score by then-sophomore running back Spencer Kulscar.
The defense was able to hold on and earn Bagnoli his ninth — and final — Ivy title.
“It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t perfect or pretty at all,” Copeland said, summing up Bagnoli’s brand of winning football. “We all stayed together.”
After an up-and-down season for Penn field hockey, the team saw two players named to the Mid-Atlantic All-Region second-team. Senior Emily Corcoran and freshman Alexa Hoover were honored after combining for 23 goals and 55 points.
Hoover put together one of the best freshman seasons in Penn's history, claiming the Ivy League scoring title, Ivy League Rookie of the Year and first-team All-Ivy honors.
Corcoran earned All-Region honors for the second time, having previously earned second-team recognition during her junior season.
Hoover will be looked upon to continue her high-scoring ways next fall as the Quakers hope to improve on their 8-9, 3-4 Ivy season. Penn will graduate their starting goalkeeper Allison Weisenfels, along with two of its top scorers in Corcoran and Alex Iqbal.
Earlier today, freshman guard Antonio Woods was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week after putting up 11 points against Delaware State on Saturday.
Coming off the bench in his collegiate debut, Woods played 36 minutes while also adding four rebounds and two assists. The freshman figures to be a large part of the Quakers' gameplan moving forward.
Woods wasn't the only Penn basketball player to receive weekly honors though, as junior guard Tony Hicks earned Big Five Player of the Week recognition for his 31-point effort. Hicks, one of the team's captains this year, will be looked on to carry a heavy offensive load all season and it was certainly apparent in the first game.
Hicks reinvented himself over the offseason, switching his jersey number to 11 because he chose number 1 for all the wrong reasons.
If you missed saturday's game, catch up with our recap and why sports editor Colin Henderson saw something old and something new out of the Quakers in their opener.
And in case you missed it, we're pretty outraged that the most stylish coach at Penn was left off of ESPN's ranking of best-dressed basketball coaches. #JeromeAllenSuitWatch