NEWARK, Del. – Like any good drama story, Penn men’s hoops leaves us with more questions than they do answers after falling to Delaware for the second time this season, 83-60.
The Quakers still had difficulty maintaining an offensive flow for long stretches.
As they have all season, the Quakers’ defensive intensity could last for only so long, fading as the team came out of the half, allowing the score to balloon rapidly.
Only two Quakers, junior forward Dougherty and sophomore forward Greg Louis, finished in double figures in scoring, meaning that Penn still hasn’t had three scorers in double figures in a game since the season opener.
No answers on scoring balance, then, especially not with nearly half the team suspended.
And there we have the real surprise of the evening, raising far more questions: Junior captain Miles Cartwright and four other players were benched for violating team rules, and solid answers about those violations aren’t likely to come out any time soon.
Coach Jerome Allen was tight-lipped about the suspensions, saying nothing more than that he’ll take the suspension “one game at a time.”
So, all the essentials necessary to understanding why five of Penn’s best players sat on the pine for the entire contest will remain unanswered as the Quakers head home for Christmas break.
And so will the questions regarding this squad as a whole.
Even with Cartwright, freshman guard Tony Hicks, and sophomore forward Henry Brooks on the bench, Penn suffered from many of the same issues that they have the entire season – poor offensive flow at times, getting destroyed on the boards, and coughing the ball up far too many times to be able to hang around in the contest.
Surely, the 17 turnovers tonight came from this unit not playing very often together, especially not in such excessive minutes. Coming into tonight, the starting five for the Red and Blue averaged just 18.4 minutes per game, amounting for only 28.4 of the Quakers’ points.
Still, freshman Jamal Lewis, a starter in most of the games this year, was unable to get anything going on offense, putting up just five points, and not distributing the ball well at all, dishing out just three assists to six turnovers.
Just like Dougherty’s production tonight, Lewis’ lack thereof is nothing new, as his 31.7 percent shooting from the field and only 4.1 points per game in 27.3 minutes per game both reveal.
Even one of the surprises tonight, redshirt freshman Greg Louis’s 19-point and 11-rebound statement performance, raised questions. Why hadn’t he received more playing time at the beginning of the season? Is this type of performance an apparition or one that can be expected every night?
The best way to view this contest is as a golden opportunity to look at a lot of the players on the fringe of the Quakers’ rotation. Which players would get more playing time? Which ones should stay on the bench?
But even analyzing such a makeshift roster from that perspective didn’t work for Allen.
“We play the guys that play for Penn,” Allen said. “This isn’t an audition.”
Such a quote, like everything tonight, leads to more questions than answers. Because if this game wasn’t an audition, then it’s hard to say what it was exactly.
One thing is for certain, though – as Allen continues to judge who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, the Quakers will be asking for a stocking full of answers for Christmas this year.
JOHN PHILLIPS is a junior English major from Philadelphia. He can be reached at dpsports@theDP.com.
A previous version of this story inaccurately reported that coach Jerome Allen said that the suspended players would be “out for a while.” He in fact said that he had known they would not be playing at Delaware for “a while.”Comments powered by Disqus
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