As the Penn men's basketball team prepares to take on Monmouth tomorrow, the lingering question remains: Which Quakers' team will show up to play? The one that suffocated in the mile-high air two weeks ago, shooting 32 percent from the field and losing by 23 points to Colorado? Or the one that dropped a 99-spot on USC and gave Trojans coach Henry Bibby nightmares last week? Penn point guard Andrew Toole would like to think he knows the answer. "I hope the team that played Colorado never comes out again for the rest of the season," Toole said. "Hopefully, we'll shoot as well as we did at USC and get the same good looks." That's doubtful, considering the Quakers shot a season-high 72 percent from the field against the Trojans, including an astounding 87.5 percent clip in the first half. Penn also made 75 percent of its three-point attempts. "I wouldn't count on shooting 80 percent in the first half against too many teams," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "If you can win by not shooting it well, but playing defense very well, taking care of the basketball and making good decisions, you should be right there in every game." The Quakers hope to get back to those basics against Monmouth, a team that is coming off a four-game winning streak. The Hawks (5-6) are currently in first place in the Northeastern Conference with a 3-0 mark. One of the Hawks' six defeats came on an 80-foot buzzer beating bank shot courtesy of Princeton's Ed Persia. The Dec. 4th 60-57 loss to Princeton was Monmouth's only prior date with any Ivy team this season. Monmouth will present a sturdy challenge for the Quakers, if only because it employs a unique matchup zone, one which Penn has not yet seen this season. "We have to attack that well and intelligently," Dunphy said. The Quakers will also see a semi-familiar face when they take on the Hawks tomorrow. Kevin Owens, Monmouth's starting center, is the younger brother of former Quakers' star Geoff, who played for Penn from 1997 to 2001. The younger Owens, a 6-foot-10 senior, is averaging 12. 5 points and 8.7 rebounds for the Hawks. Like his older brother, Kevin has a propensity for blocking shots. The Hawks' senior is currently fourth on Monmouth's career blocked shots chart. Geoff is the Quakers' all-time leader in that category. Like the former Penn center, Owens will look to establish himself as a dominating presence in the paint against Penn tomorrow. And he might find himself battling against junior Adam Chubb and sophomore Jan Fikiel to start the game. Dunphy has not yet made a decision on whether he will continue to bring seniors Ugonna Onyekwe and Koko Archibong off the bench, but says he is leaning toward it. The two four-year starters found themselves out of the starting lineup after subpar performances and mental lapses against Providence and Colorado over Winter Break. "I hope they're upset. I hope they're frustrated," Dunphy said. "If I didn't start the game and I had started all these years, I'd be frustrated and upset by it. But, you know what, they don't have a lot of control over it. They'll still get their minutes." After a tumultuous start to their season, the Quakers certainly know now that they cannot take any more games for granted. "We can beat just about any team in this country and we can also lose to any team in this country," Dunphy said. "So we better be ready to go every time out." But after a stunning performance in southern California, the Quakers are feeling confident that they can continue their surge. "It was an unbelievable game," Toole said of the victory over USC. "There's not much you can say about it, other than we played about as good as we can play. "Guys are excited for the rest of the year."Comments powered by Disqus
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