Oggie Kapetanovic has played more for Penn since improving his defense and scoring 14 points at Yale. The loudest cheers resonating from the Palestra at the Penn men's basketball games this weekend did not come from a Ugonna Onyekwe dunk. And they didn't come from a Matt Langel three-pointer either. Instead, Penn fans were the most boisterous with 1:51 left in the Columbia game on Saturday. It was at this time that Fran Dunphy subbed in Chris Ward, a junior varsity player for four years, who saw the first varsity action of his college career. Dunphy could afford to let Ward and the rest of the reserves play because the Quakers were ahead of the Lions by a whopping 28 points. The bench players made good use of this opportunity, playing good defense and preserving Penn's lead. "We look at each and every possession as being important," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "And the reserve players did just fine at the end of the game." · Another reserve, backup forward/center Oggie Kapetanovic, has been very impressive for the Quakers over the last few games. Three weeks ago, Kapetanovic, a junior transfer from Brown, scored a career-high 14 points against Yale, and in the last three games he has seen his minutes increase at a steady pace. "I'm glad I'm playing more," Kapetanovic said. "I've been concentrating on my defense in practice and been working really hard." Last week at Princeton, Kapetanovic checked in for Geoff Owens with 16:02 left in the first half after Owens picked up two quick fouls. Kapetanovic had the unenviable task of guarding 6'11" center Chris Young, and he defended him successfully. In the crucial first 20 minutes, Young managed just five points while Kapetanovic was guarding him. For the game, Kapetanovic had four rebounds, including three offensive boards, and one steal in 18 minutes of action. He repeated this effort on Friday against Cornell, pulling down four more boards and recording another steal to go along with four points in 15 minutes of play. His play improved even more on Saturday as Kapetanovic scored nine points in 16 minutes. · With the big offensive outputs in both games over the weekend, the Red and Blue now average 69 points a game, which is tops in the Ivy League. In fact, the Quakers' stats are best in most offensive and defensive categories in the Ancient Eight. The Quakers beat their opponents by an average of 19.5 points per game and hold them to a league-low 49.6 points a game. While both the Big Red and the Lions scored higher than this average, the Quakers are still safely on top of the league. · Freshman Ugonna Onyekwe was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week for the third time this season. Onyekwe averaged 12.5 points and five rebounds against Cornell and Columbia. The 6'8" forward thrilled the home crowd all weekend with rim-rattling dunks and sharp 11-of-19 shooting from the field. · This coming weekend, Penn travels to Harvard and Dartmouth. When these two foes visited the Palestra two weeks ago, the Quakers won both games easily, beating the Crimson 75-52 and the Big Green 75-61. The key to Penn's success against Harvard was their containment of Dan Clemente, the Crimson's star forward. Against the Quakers, Clemente had a horrible night, hitting on 1-of-9 field goal attempts and scoring only two points. Dartmouth's stars had it a little better. Greg Buth, who is third in the league in scoring, had 18 points against the Red and Blue. Big Green forward Shaun Gee had 13. The Quakers know they must defend these players better or they could face big trouble in Hanover. "For both Buth and Gee, we have to limit their shot opportunities," co-captain Langel said. "They are both very talented players and we have to do our best to limit the amount of touches they get on the ball." · With his 1,506th point on Saturday, Michael Jordan became the fifth leading scorer in Quakers history. He passed Stan Pawlak for this achievement and needs only 12 points to surpass Jerome Allen for fourth place. Ironically, Jordan tied a career-low for minutes played with 20 against Columbia. He received his fourth personal foul on a technical foul with just 12 minutes to go in the second half and did not re-enter the game as Dunphy emptied his bench. Jordan has played 20 minutes only two other times in his career at Penn. One was the second game of his freshman year and the other was on Valentine's Day, 1997.Comments powered by Disqus
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