Penn basketball hopes grass is greener in Jersey
Quakers move past Temple loss and focus on Rider, looking to get Bernardini and Cartwright going
November 16, 2011, 11:20 pm·
Megan Falls | DP
Zack Rosen does a lot of things for the Penn basketball program. Heck, he may even be the face of Penn’s athletic community. One thing the Quakers don’t want him to be, however, is their only go-to scorer.
Thus far, the senior point guard has shouldered much of the offensive burden — perhaps more than his coaches would like.
“As a staff, we have to do a better job of putting some things together to create spacing and timing for guys to use the skill sets that they have,” coach Jerome Allen said after Rosen scored 27 of Penn’s 67 points against Temple.
Two players who have proven they can tickle the twine are senior Tyler Bernardini and sophomore Miles Cartwright. But through the first two games, they have combined to shoot just 29 percent (11-for-38) from the field in Penn’s first two games, including 1-for-16 from three-point range.
“We all have responsibility on this team,” Bernardini said. “One of the responsibilities for me is to put points on the board and play well every night. It’s just unfortunate that some of my shots didn’t drop [against Temple].”
Among those shots that didn’t drop for the 6-foot-6 wing was the possible game-winner in regulation against the Owls Monday. But the senior has already moved on from the potentially crushing 73-67 overtime loss on Monday night by preaching perspective.
“We’re [young] kids. … We lost a basketball game,” he said. “I don’t know if you want to count, but I’ve lost a lot of games here and surprisingly I’m still alive. I’m fine, I’m going to graduate and I’m going to have an Ivy League degree. When you’re able to put that in perspective, you realize it’s alright. We fought hard, and we’re ready to go out and get another win [Thursday].”
When Bernardini gets hot, he has the potential to be an X-factor for Penn. His 12.9 points per game last season were good for third on the team. If the former Big 5 Rookie of the Year gets rolling, so too might the Quakers.
The same can be said of last year’s freshman sensation, the 6-3 Cartwright. After a stellar freshman campaign, Cartwright is looking to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump.
“This season is a lot different,” the sophomore guard pointed out. “Teams are playing us based off of how me and Zack played last year. I just try and do whatever the coaches tell me, try and find open spots and try to take advantage of the opportunities that I do get.”
Cartwright has been bothered in the early going by an ankle injury he sustained in a preseason practice.
“The ankle wasn’t bothering me before the game. I tweaked it on a steal and fastbreak that I had early in the first half and then I re-tweaked it early in the second half,” he explained. “But it’s feeling fine and it’s getting better every day.”
Allen added, “I have the utmost confidence in Miles, and he’s going to be fine.”
Bernardini and Cartwright’s next chance to display their scoring prowess comes Thursday at Rider.
The Broncs are 0-3 on the year, including an 18-point loss to Drexel early Tuesday morning. They did, however, travel to 10th-ranked Pitt and gave the Panthers a scare on Nov. 13.
After graduating two of its top three scorers, Rider has received breakout performances from sophomores Anthony Myles and Daniel Stewart. Four Broncs are scoring in double digits through the first three games.
But with no true point guard, Rider has struggled to take care of the ball, currently averaging 15 turnovers and just 10 assists per game.
“I think it’s a well-coached team. They have some talented players,” Allen said. “It’s unfortunate that they’ve hit a rough spot, but I expect for them to come out swinging tomorrow.”