Like a fisherman dangling a juicy worm, the Saint Joseph's defense allowed Penn to get off anything it wanted from outside the arc.
And the Quakers took the bait.
On Saturday night, Penn scored 42 points against St. Joe's, and three-point shooting is a good candidate on which to place blame. Other than the Florida Gulf Coast game, it was the Quakers' worst offensive output by 16 points. On Saturday, they jacked up a season-high 27 from long distance and made only five.
To put that number in perspective, Cornell averages 21 three-point attempts per game (nearly four more than Penn) but has never attempted more than 28 in a game.
The big difference is that the Big Red are fifth in the nation, hitting at a 42.2 percent clip, while the Red and Blue, are 335th at 27.3 percent.
The Hawks' gameplan focused on keeping Penn in front of them and out of the paint, and created a lot of opportunities for lightly-contested threes.
"It was there for them," St. Joe's coach Phil Martelli said. "The way they run offense they step back a lot, and actually I thought early in the game they had some really nice looks. Later in the game, particularly in the second half, I thought we did a much better job of moving and rushing their three-point attempts."
As a result, Penn stuggled all game to get inside.
"Their bigs just dominated us down low both offensively and defensively, so it was tough to kind of try to get it in," junior guard Kevin Egee said. "They would just collapse on us and get some steals."
Against La Salle, the Explorers' guards protected the paint well, but Penn managed to get the ball to the forwards with some success.
This time, the Quakers couldn't do either.
"I think we missed the post quite a bit, we had some open guys and just didn't get the ball in there," Penn coach Glen Miller said.
Instead, Penn thought it would take advantage of the open looks.
But the Red and Blue went 1-for-12 from three in the first half, with the lone hit coming two minutes in from Tyler Bernardini. After that, the Quakers missed eight trifectas in a row.
Certainly, the misses were contagious.
"Them shooting well and us shooting so poorly, our guys weren't believers after that," Miller said.
"Instead of coming out and maybe playing stronger in the second half, I think our confidence and self-esteem were just shot down."
A few Egee threes late boosted Penn's percentage to 18.5. That is disappointing, but not overly surprising.
Against ACC teams North Carolina, Virginia and Miami- games in which getting inside wasn't going to come easy - Penn hit 14 of 59, or 23.7 percent of its threes, attempting an average of just under 20 per game.
Miller knows settling for looks from deep isn't what this team needs.
"It hurt that we couldn't convert inside early in the game," he said.
"We're not a three-point shooting team."Comments powered by Disqus
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