Despite scoring a season-high 87 points and shooting 49 percent from field goal range, it was not these offensive statistics that stood out at the end of the Penn men's basketball game tonight at the Palestra. Instead, the main factor in the Quakers' 13-point victory over Lehigh was Penn's 17 offensive rebounds. "I thought the key to the game was the offensive boards," Lehigh coach Sal Mentesana said. "People haven't done that to us all season, but we haven't played a team of this caliber either." The Quakers bested the Engineers in total boards 37-30, as Lehigh actually pulled down one more defensive rebound than Penn. But the 17-9 advantage the Quakers held in offensive boards was the outstanding statistic. Not only did the Quakers outrebound the Engineers by eight on the offensive side, but the boards came at key points in the game. With 10:55 left in the contest, the score was 49-45 in Lehigh's favor, as the Quakers had squandered a 10-point halftime lead and were trading baskets with the Engineers. Lehigh then fouled Penn guard Duane King, and the Quakers sophomore made his first free throw. King missed his second shot, but Koko Archibong fought for position under the basket, grabbed the rebound and made a lay-up. From there, the Quakers scored on their next 15 possessions down the court, putting the game out of reach. Adam Chubb also played a key role in keeping Penn in the game by pulling down rebounds. On one of the Quakers early possessions, Lamar Plummer drove down the court and missed a shot. Chubb grabbed the rebound and dunked the ball into the basket, igniting the crowd and adding to a 7-0 Penn run. "Koko had a couple of rebounds off of missed free throws," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "And Adam's going to be a real good player, but he's got to rebound better, although he had some key boards tonight." Duane King was the other leader in offensive boards. In fact, Chubb, Archibong and King all grabbed more offensive rebounds than defensive ones. King's most impressive offensive board came in the first half when, in leading a fast break, he missed his initial lay-up try but grabbed the rebound and succeeded on his second attempt. Not surprisingly, when the Quakers failed to grab offensive boards, the team did not score. After shooting over 45 percent from field goal range in the first half, the Quakers came out flat in the second stanza, missing all of their shots in the first four minutes. In that period, the Engineers managed to grab four of their 21 total defensive rebounds. They rallied to tie the score at 37 and eventually took a lead. But the Red and Blue rebounded, literally and figuratively, to pull out the win. "They are a very good rebounding team," Mentesana said. "They're stronger than us. It wasn't that we didn't box out, it was that they were very good at it." The impressive number of offensive boards overshadowed the Quakers' shortcomings at the line. Missed free throws -- which have been Penn's achilles heel all season -- did not hurt the team tonight, although the Red and Blue shot only 64 percent from the charity stripe in the second half. On more than two occasions, however, when a Penn player missed the second of two free throws, the Quakers were able to grab the rebound and make the second attempt. While consistent play has so far eluded the Red and Blue, Penn's aggressiveness in grabbing boards has resulted in needed scoring opportunities for the up-and-down Quakers.Comments powered by Disqus
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