After five consecutive losses over the span of eight days, the Penn basketball team will look to rebound in its matchup Wednesday night against Binghamton.
Rebound, that is, not just in the sense of bouncing back, but literally by gaining possession of missed shots.
The Red and Blue (1-5) sit last in the Ivy League in rebounding margin, averaging 4.5 fewer rebounds per game than their opponents.
When they face off against the Bearcats (2-4) at 7 p.m. at the Palestra, crashing the boards and clogging the paint will be key to snapping their five-game skid.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Binghamton has outrebounded its opponent in four straight games, the last two of which were wins.
For coach Jerome Allen, a strong team rebounding effort requires all five Quakers boxing out their men and crashing the paint.
“We need to do a much better job of rebounding the ball and finishing possessions,” Allen said.
Allowing second-chance points and failing to create second opportunities for themselves on offense has cost the Quakers dearly in their last four games, which were all lost by single digits.
Beyond rebounding miscues, Penn has also shown its inexperience by turning the ball over and committing fouls at critical times. The Quakers lead the Ivy League in coughing up the ball, doing so at a rate of over 17 times per contest.
“I think we’re playing too fast and always trying to make the home run play on a lot of the turnovers,” Miles Cartwright said. “We need to go back to trying to make the simple play and the right play.”
Allen agreed with his junior captain.
“If we want to win, we can’t turn the ball over at the rate we have been,” he said.
On the defensive end, Cartwright contends that the Quakers are “just playing too aggressively,” which opponents have taken advantage of by drawing fouls.
Both Cartwright and Allen are more concerned about how Penn has done on the defensive end this season.
“As you know, we can put the ball in the basket,” Cartwright said. “We have a bunch of guys who can do that. Where we need to do improve is on the defensive side of the ball.”
Allen has been laser-focused on defense all season and expects to award those who put in the most effort defensively with extra floor time.
“I’ll play the guys who give us the best chance of winning and the guys who want to defend,” he said.
Cartwright will likely have his hands full against Binghamton’s freshman phenom guard Jordan Reed. The Philadelphia native is the Bearcats’ leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 17.8 points and 12.3 rebounds per game.
Despite a five-game losing streak, the Red and Blue are not dispirited by their setbacks.
“I don’t plan on changing a whole lot,” Allen said. “I’m not discouraged by our results.”
After a grueling six contests in 11 days, the Quakers have since enjoyed a mini eight-day respite since their last game.
“We have a bad taste in our mouth,” Cartwright said. “And we’ve had a couple of days to think about it.”
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