ITHACA, N.Y. - As time expired in the first half on Saturday against Columbia, Brian Grandieri heaved a shot from just past half-court that, 40 feet later, found nothing but net to send Penn into the intermission up 14 and Grandieri running into the locker room pumping his fist.
It was a good weekend to be Brian Grandieri.
The guard scored 14 against the Lions - including the half-court bomb - a night after coming up only one point shy of his career high in an 18-point performance versus Cornell.
And the junior wasn't just throwing up more shots. In fact, his shot selection was the spark to his efficiency.
Grandieri connected on 14 of his 22 attempts at a 64-percent clip. Against Cornell, the scrappy guard, used to fighting for points down low, was able to find holes in the Big Red defense setting himself up for easy pull-up shots.
"It's hard for me to get hot," Grandieri said. "I love the glass and fortunately, I had a few open looks close to the hoop and they fell."
Over winter break against No. 2 North Carolina, Grandieri couldn't get in any kind of a rhythm, going 1-for-4. And in the second half, he only attempted two threes from the corner, both of which were way off. He also sustained a foot injury before break.
But this weekend it was different.
"A lot of guards don't [defend power moves], especially guards in the paint, it's hard for them and it's different for them," he added.
Playing against Cornell, he got into a groove, leading the way with eight points during an 18-2 second-half run that put Penn's lead into double digits for good. In all, Grandieri shot 9-for-14 from the floor.
He only attempted one three-pointer during that game and one against Columbia, doing all his damage closer to the basket.
"That's his shot, he's got a terrific pull-up jump shot, he's had it all year long," Penn coach Glen Miller said.
That shot is what provided so much success in the 2006 Ivy season.
When the 6-foot-4 Grandieri cuts hard to the gaps in the defense, he can punish the less physically imposing Ancient Eight defenders. It's no wonder scoring inside comes easier without someone like North Carolina's 6-8 Reyshawn Terry guarding you.
An integral part of Grandieri's game is crashing the offensive boards and getting easy layups. While he previously had less than one offensive rebound per game in non-conference play, this weekend the guard showed some glimpses of his aggressive form of last season.
As a sophomore playing only 21 minutes per game off the bench, he registered 17 offensive boards in 14 games.
So far this year, he's hit a solid 51.8 percent of his shots for 12.4 points per game. Last season, he also improved his shooting percentage from 37.3 to 47 after the start of the conference slate.
And if this opening weekend is any indication, Grandieri won't be relying on just his half-court efforts to bury Ivy League opponents.Comments powered by Disqus
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