While the defensive ingredients differed in games against Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend for the Penn men's basketball team, the finished product was the same both nights. The Quakers entered Friday's game against Harvard wary of junior Dan Clemente. Last weekend, after returning from a detached retina that kept him out for nearly a month, Clemente scored 24 points twice in wins over Cornell and Columbia. Penn, however, was able to shut the 6'7" forward down, holding him to just two points and forcing him into three uncharacteristic turnovers. Clemente's ineffectiveness was epitomized by the fact that he fouled out with six minutes, 39 seconds left in the game, having barely left a mark. "I think Penn did an excellent job all night long guarding and guarding tough," Harvard coach Frank Sullivan said. "For us to have our top two scorers, Clemente and [Damian] Long, not get into double figures, we're not going to win many games when they don't score." Penn coach Fran Dunphy credited freshman Ugonna Onyekwe with causing Clemente's forgettable night. Onyekwe, who is usually known to Quakers fans for his offense, was a defensive stalwart, pulling down seven rebounds and getting one steal. "I think our defense has gotten to be very good," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "We've asked [Onyekwe] to guard probably the best scorer whether it's a three man, four man or five man on the opposition over the last ten games, and he's done a terrific job at that." Onyekwe's defensive intensity against Clemente was indicative of the entire Penn squad versus Harvard. Penn forced the Crimson into 13 turnovers and a putrid 38 percent field goal percentage. The Crimson were even worse from the three-point line, connecting on only 3-of-18 attempts. "I think Penn's defensive presence was extremely strong," Sullivan said. "I don't think we've seen a group of players in the league guard the basketball and guard one pass away as well as Penn did tonight." The Quakers also dominated the Crimson on the boards, pulling down 32 defensive rebounds to Harvard's 19. Penn recorded three blocks and four steals as well, en route to the 79-52 runaway victory. While the Quakers did score a win Saturday night against Dartmouth, they had more trouble on the defensive side of the ball than they had the previous night. These problems were caused mainly by Big Green forward Shaun Gee and guard Greg Buth. While Penn was able to effectively shut down Clemente on Friday night, the Quakers had more trouble with Gee and Buth, especially Buth. "I thought we had a chance to really give us a great comfort zone a couple of times, but we chose not to do that," Dunphy said. "Shaun Gee can get his shot, and Greg Buth, we didn't do a great job on him." The 6'7" Gee battled hard on the inside to score 13 points and pull down 10 rebounds. Buth was even more damaging to the Quakers. The junior guard shot 47 percent from the field and 4-for-9 from beyond the three-point arc. Two of Buth's threes were a part of a run that pulled Dartmouth within 11 points minutes into the second half. Buth's 18-point tally is the largest point total that an Ivy opponent has hung on the Quakers all season. "I thought Greg had it going, so obviously he had the green light," Dartmouth coach Dave Faucher said. "We got some inside hoops early, but that's not our identity. We tried to get Greg some inside points, but if the three's there, we will take it." And take it they did. The Big Green shot 28 times from way outside and hit on 36 percent of their chances. Interestingly, Dartmouth's overall field goal percentage was only one point higher at 37. "Dartmouth ran good stuff, and I thought they made some really tough shots," Dunphy said. "I think our defense could certainly improve. We called a switch on one particular set and we didn't do it. We hadn't been making those mistakes in the past, so we need to tighten it up." After this weekend's action, Ivy opponents are now scoring 47 points per game against the Quakers, up five points from a week ago. By all accounts, Penn's defense is in pretty good shape at this point in the season. The Quakers will need to take it up a notch tomorrow against Princeton, however. The Tigers beat Harvard and Dartmouth by an average margin of 21.5 points this weekend. While Penn's offensive execution is no longer in question after tallying totals of 79 and 75, the Quakers must contain Princeton's scorers like they did against Clemente, as opposed to their showing against Buth and Gee.Comments powered by Disqus
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