Bernardini torches Big 5 losing streak
Veterans lead the way against St. Joe’s as Quakers snap 16-game Big 5 losing streak
January 23, 2011, 6:35 am · Updated January 22, 2011, 12:00 am·
Tallying zero in the Big 5 win column has hung over Penn senior Jack Eggleston his whole career. Saturday night, he made sure to change that.
Led by Eggleston’s fiery, physical play, the Quakers finally ended their Big 5 losing streak at 16 games, defeating St. Joseph’s, 73-61.
“This was the most important game of the season,” Eggleston said. “I didn’t want to go out with a zero in front of my Big 5 record.”
With an announced attendance of 8,051, fans braved a bitterly cold night to watch the game and weren’t disappointed, as both teams put on a show from wire-to-wire.
It was Eggleston’s classmate Tyler Bernardini who led the Quakers’ offensive attack, finishing with 27 points while shooting 9-for-19 from the field. He hit five of his 10 shots from beyond the arc, matching the amount of threes that St. Joseph’s hit all night.
Coach Phil Martelli’s Hawks struggled to cover Penn’s potent back court threats.
“We had to pick our poison. [Zack] Rosen’s a great player too,” he said.
Indeed, Rosen was another thorn in Martelli’s side, finishing with a solid line of 17 points, five assists and four steals. Eggleston, who anchored Penn’s defense, contributed eight points and a career-high 15 rebounds. The Quakers (6-8, 1-3 Big 5) also got 11 points and two assists from freshman standout Miles Cartwright.
On the other end of the floor, Penn’s defense gave St. Joe’s guards fits for most of the 40 minutes. Stingy defensive pressure by Rosen and Bernardini — who had a combined seven steals — forced the Hawks (5-14, 0-2) into 15 turnovers which resulted in 13 points.
“The turnover number was the biggest number of the game,” Martelli said.
The Quakers constantly gave St. Joe’s different looks in the halfcourt set, shifting from zone to man schemes throughout the game.
When the Hawks went on a run at the beginning of the second half, complete with rim rattling put-back dunks and constant attacks at the basket, the Quakers were able to maintain their composure and keep the lead.
“They did a solid job of stepping up when we needed stops and making shots when we needed shots,” coach Jerome Allen said of his team.
The Red and Blue did most of the ‘little things’ right the whole game, shooting a perfect 15-for-15 from the foul line and controlling the tempo for the majority of the game. Penn also limited its turnovers to 11 and allowed just four fast-break points.
Meanwhile, St. Joseph’s was only able to convert 12 of its 20 free-throw attempts,
Defensively, veterans Rob Belcore, Rosen and Bernardini were able to corral Hawks’ leading scorer Carl Jones, forcing him to shoot just 1-for-7.
Although Jones came out of the half aggressively, “Our emphasis wasn’t to stop [Jones], our emphasis was to keep the ball out of the paint and control the perimeter, and I think we did an okay job,” Allen added.
The team’s point of emphasis now moves on to Ivy League competition, which begins for the Quakers Friday at 7 p.m. against Yale at the Palestra.