Although the men’s basketball team will be facing not one, but two Ivy League opponents this weekend, the Quakers are trying not to get too far ahead of themselves.
“One game, 14 times. So we’re going to try go out Friday and win one game, and that will be our fourth step in a 14-game journey,” senior captain Zack Rosen said. “It sounds corny, but that’s what we’re really trying to do — we’re trying to win one game Friday night.”
Coming off of a win over Princeton in the third of their 14-game Ivy season, the Red and Blue (11-9, 3-0 Ivy) will take the journey to face Yale (13-5, 3-1) on Friday, followed by a match against Brown (7-14, 1-3) on Saturday. But with an Ivy doubleheader on the road comes an interesting mentality.
“My whole focus right now is on Yale,” coach Jerome Allen said. “In general, we look at the league pretty much every week, but for the most part, I just try to keep these guys focused on one game at a time, and we’ll worry about the Brown game around 9, 9:30 on Friday night.”
The Bulldogs are 3-1 in Ivy play — close on the heels of the Red and Blue, who are tied with Harvard for first in the Ancient Eight — and have become the Quakers’ primary concern this weekend.
Yale’s Greg Mangano may be the reason. The senior forward averages 18.7 points per game — second in the Ivy League to Rosen’s 18.8. Mangano also leads the league in rebounding, averaging 9.9 per game. He has established himself as a defensive presence and is tops in the Ivies in blocked shots with 2.6 per game.
“It’s going to take five guys engaged in the action, and he’s a great talent and he does a lot of good things for Yale,” Allen said. “But really we’re just trying to make it about our defensive principles throughout the game and not necessarily Greg Mangano.”
Mangano, who has been receiving some NBA buzz of late, netted 20 points in his first meeting with the Red and Blue last season and 26 in his second.
“Whatever we did a year ago or two years ago has no effect on this year. We’re going to have to have great perimeter ball pressure and really, really good early work down low to handle that guy,” Rosen said. “He’s long, he’s big, he’s experienced and they play well in that gym.
“He’s a great player, [I have] a lot of respect for him, and we’re going to have to do a lot of work to contain him.”
Mangano is not the only player the Quakers will have to contain this weekend. Soon after the clock expires on Friday, Penn will begin thinking about Brown’s Andrew McCarthy, who was just named the Ivy Player of the Week for his performance against Dartmouth.
McCarthy netted 19 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked seven shots to lead his team to its first Ivy victory of the season. He is also a strong rebounder, tallying 117 defensive rebounds this season, including 46 offensive boards.
“Offensive and defensive rebounding is going to be a big key for that game because he’s prone to going to the glass,” sophomore guard Steve Rennard said. “So we’re just going to have to watch and box out and have five men in the action at all times.”
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