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Jeff Schiffner and Penn will have to contend with Princeton's typical slow-down offense tonight after Penn put up 47 points Saturday. [Jake Levine/DP File Photo]

There are plenty of criticisms about the Penn men's basketball team this year. The inside game is struggling -- forwards Ugonna Onyekwe and Koko Archibong are hit and miss, it just depends on the night. The guards aren't exactly reliable -- how many more times can you stand hearing "Penn lives and dies by the three-point shot"? So to sum it up, there are faults that could be pointed out all day long. This weekend's venture in New York only further proved that the Red and Blue, if they want to win the Ivy League, need to focus on the offensive front and figure out what's going to work. "We've been a spurty team," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said yesterday at practice. "When we're good, we're very good and when we're not so good, we're not very good at all." But going back to this weekend, and even the rest of the season, there is one thing that was grossly overlooked -- Penn's hard work on the other end of the floor. Despite flounderings on offense, the Quakers raced back to make up for it on defense. If last season Penn lacked hustle and passion, this season they just seem to be lacking aim. But when it comes to defense, the Quakers have picked it up, significantly. And over the past few weeks, Penn's winning games on that end of the floor. It's not that the Quakers have held their opponents to particularly low-scoring games. Instead, Penn has forced its opponents to work for every single point that gets put up on the board. It's a game with less reward, at least in terms of points. However, it does pay off. Over the weekend, the Quakers squashed any hopes of a Columbia comeback with tough defense. In the second half, when the Lions tried to rally, the Red and Blue held off Columbia's offense. In the second half alone the Lions were forced to shoot in the final five seconds of the shot clock six times. Making a team work for a basket for a full 30-to-35 seconds has its effect. Columbia forward Chris Wiedemann looked tired only ten minutes into the first half. "There are so few possessions on a night like tonight that you really have to maximize each possession," Dunphy said after Saturday night's win over Columbia. When Dunphy spoke, he may not have realized the double meaning of his words. It's not just about making the most out of every offensive possession, it's also about making every defensive situation an opportunity. This defensive diligence will be helpful when the Quakers square off against the Princeton Tigers tonight. Princeton routinely plays a slow, passing offense, but one that takes advantage of open holes and back-door traps. If the Quakers can shut those down and force the Tigers to scramble, it could lead to a tired Princeton offense. Although it will be imperative for Penn's shooting guards to increase their offensive output as well as their defensive effort, forcing Princeton to fight for every point will only benefit the Red and Blue.

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