Penn basketball falls to Duke to begin New Year
Quakers go 0-2 on North Carolina road trip
January 1, 2012, 8:23 pm · Updated January 2, 2012, 9:02 pm·
2012 did not start out the way the Quakers would have liked.
Penn lost to No. 7 Duke, 85-55, on New Year’s Day in a game that they were never really in.
The Blue Devils (12-1) opened the game with a 20-4 run and the Quakers (6-8) could never catch up.
“We didn’t come out with the same intensity, the same level of enthusiasm and aggressiveness,” Penn coach Jerome Allen said.
Senior Zack Rosen led Penn with 11 points. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, like so many coaches this year, had nothing but praise for the point guard.
“Rosen has been an All-Ivy first-team guy for three years and is a player of the year candidate and Cousy Award nominee,” he said.
“I think they’re a good team and they were not able to run offense the way their normally do,” he added about the Quakers.
Krzyzewski said his game plan going into the matchup was to focus on Rosen and senior Tyler Bernardini, “two of the better guards” the Blue Devils have played, he said.
The duo managed just 18 points together, well short of their season average of 35.4 points per game combined.
“We came out really aggressive on the offensive and defensive end, and we took them out of their plays early,” Duke junior Seth Curry said.
The Quakers were clearly outsized by Duke and struggled on the boards. They were outrebounded, 47 to 29, and Duke had 21 second-chance points to Penn’s nine.
“It’s tough to win on the road anywhere when you don’t get stops defensively,” Allen said. “And when we did get stops, we didn’t come up with the defensive rebound. When you don’t finish possessions, you put yourself in a hole.”
The Red and Blue knew that it would be a challenge to get a win against a top-10 team, but Allen said he doesn’t believe in moral victories.
He did, however, acknowledge some important takeaways from the loss.
“The positive is that we can take the film and learn from it and get back to showing our guys how they can connect with the words,” Allen said.
Penn sophomore Miles Cartwright was more blunt about the 30-point defeat.
“We expected to win, so that’s the main negative right there,” he said. “We missed a lot of defensive assignments.”
The Quakers head home from North Carolina having gone 0-2 on the road trip after a loss to Davidson on Thursday — certainly not the outcome they were looking for.
Allen and Cartwright made it clear that the team always comes to win, and regardless of the talent of their opponents, the losses were a disappointment.
“It’s not necessarily about the size of the dog,” Allen said. “It’s the size of the fight in the dog. You can’t expect to go on the road, whether it be Duke or any other place, and hope that teams give you opportunities to win. You got to come with the mentality that you’re going to take whatever is given. You got to throw the first punch in the fight.”
The Quakers certainly didn’t do so against Duke, but they can now look forward to their two remaining non-conference games before the Ivy season begins.
“We use the games as a teaching tool to help us get better,” Allen said. “Hopefully we can respond on the floor against Lafayette.”