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After a pair of less-than-memorable games at the Palestra in the last week and a half, the old gym on 33rd Street should return to its usual rocking form tomorrow afternoon.

That's about the only sure thing going into the season's second meeting of the Penn men's basketball team and St. Joseph's.

"There's a lot of differences," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "There were two completely different basketball teams playing each other [in December]. A kid like [Hawks guard] Delonte West is a completely different basketball player than he was a couple of weeks ago. For us, obviously Andy [Toole] will be playing versus having not had him play."

The Hawks (12-4, 0-0 Big 5) are on a roll. They notched their sixth consecutive win on Wednesday night at Duquesne and are playing with the form that was expected on Hawk Hill when St. Joseph's was ranked as a Top 10 team in preseason polls.

Penn boasts an identical 12-4 record, but its recent performances have been far from inspiring. After dropping an overtime game two Saturdays ago at Harvard, the Quakers (2-0 Big 5) have beaten Delaware by six points and Lafayette by seven on their home floor.

"I wouldn't describe either of them as great performances," Toole said. "We've been a little lackluster. Hopefully, we'll be ready to go on Saturday and have all the intensity and energy that we need to win the game. Maybe this is what we need to turn us on and get us going for the final leg of the season."

Toole himself might be what Penn needs. The junior is the Red and Blue's leading backcourt scorer at 13.7 points per game and was sidelined with a stress fracture in his foot when the Quakers lost a 67-61 decision to St. Joseph's in December.

In Toole's absence, Dunphy used a combination of Dan Solomito, David Klatsky and Charlie Copp along with starter Tim Begley. Those four players combined for five points and eight personal fouls and had a world of trouble containing the Hawks' talented duo of Jameer Nelson and Marvin O'Connor.

"You have to respect [Nelson], because he's a great player," Copp said. "You just hope to contain him and make him shoot his jump shot."

Copp played four minutes in the Quakers' first game against the Cityliners. At the time, he was a seldom-used reserve. Now, Dunphy uses the sophomore as a change-of-pace option for 10 minutes a game.

Copp did not score against Lafayette on Monday, breaking a streak of five consecutive games with a three-pointer.

"I think Charlie's made good progress," Dunphy said. "I think he's a better basketball player today than at the start of the season. We're pleased with where Charlie is at this point."

While Toole, Copp and the rest of the Penn guards will have their hands full with O'Connor, Nelson and West, the Quakers frontcourt is also faced with a difficult task -- containing big men Bill Phillips and Damien Reid.

Phillips scored just six points at the Palestra in December, but averages 12 points a game to go along with seven boards. The Quakers know, however, that they cannot count on an off game from Phillips, just as the Hawks know that they cannot count on another off game from the entire Penn backcourt.

Both Dunphy and St. Joe's coach Phil Martelli described their preparation for tomorrow's contest as similar to the second time facing a league opponent.

"We'll be using our own tape," Martelli said. "It's a good chance to try and fix things for both Penn and ourselves."

The first meeting was a classically exciting Philadelphia duel, so if there's anything to really fix, tomorrow's game should be another one to remember at the Palestra.

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