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Penn will need guard Jeff Schiffner to increase his offensive output this weekend. [Stefan Miltchev/DP File Photo]

This season the Penn men's basketball team finds itself in an unusual situation -- looking up at the rest of the Ivy League.

After four Ivy games, the Quakers (15-5, 2-2 Ivy) are tied with Columbia -- only hapless Dartmouth and Cornell are below them in the Ivy cellar.

"We have backed ourselves into a little bit of a corner here so we need to respond in kind," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said.

The Quakers will be therefore be fighting for their Ivy livelihood this weekend as the team heads to Yale (13-7, 5-1) tonight and Brown (13-6, 4-2) on Saturday.

Last season, the Quakers headed into the first Yale and Brown weekend undefeated in the Ivies, and they registered a pair of wins over both schools.

This season, however, the Quakers have two glaring marks in the loss column after an overtime defeat at Harvard and last weekend's shocking loss to Columbia.

"Every team is shooting for us and bringing their best game against Penn," Quakers guard Andrew Toole said. "We found that out the hard way, and we're 2-2 now."

With 10 games left in the regular season, a loss this weekend could spell doom for Red and Blue title hopes. But Penn does not enter the road trip unprepared, as they have had a week off to practice since the loss to Columbia.

"Waiting a whole week is tough so we just want to get out and prove ourselves again," Toole said. "We want to prove that winning the Big 5 wasn't a fluke, that our pre-Ivy season wasn't a fluke, and that we are as good as people think we can be."

One thing that the Quakers do not need to prove is their ability to put big scorers on the court -- Penn's trio of Ugonna Onyekwe, Koko Archibong and Andrew Toole are in the top seven in the league in scoring.

What the Quakers do need to prove, however, is consistency.

While Penn has gotten strong effort game-in and game-out from its top three, a weakness that has been highlighted in the Red and Blue's offense is the limited contributions of their other starters.

In Penn's victory over Cornell, Onyekwe and Toole accounted for 47 of Penn's 75 points.

This weekend's opponents will once again demand a cohesive effort from the Red and Blue.

"With Yale you can't really prepare for one person," Penn guard Jeff Schiffner said. "You have to prepare for everyone because every one of those guys can score and play."

Yale as a team is averaging 77.9 points per game, led by freshman guard Edwin Draughan.

The team also boasts current Ivy Player of the Week T.J. McHugh, a 6-foot-8 center who is equally adept at scoring and rebounding.

While the Elis present a balanced attack, Brown boasts the leading scoring threat in the Ivies.

Junior guard Earl Hunt -- second on Brown's all-time scoring list -- anchors the Bear offense with averaging 20.5 points per game.

Hunt's backcourt partner, Jason Forte, is a top rookie in the Ivies. The younger brother of Boston Celtics guard Joe Forte, Jason put up a career-high 25 points in Brown's 89-81 loss to Harvard.

"Brown really likes to run the ball up and down the floor so our transition defense will have to be good particularly [on Saturday]," Dunphy said.

While Dunphy still has high hopes for his team's season, he is aware that run at the league title must begin this weekend.

"I hope that they are cognizant that they have their own destiny in their hands," Dunphy said. "If they take care of business they have a chance to be Ivy League Champions."

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