1. Only six bench points
The Quakers did not get much help from their bench on Saturday, as the unit only contributed six points. Just two non-starters scored: junior Henry Brooks and freshman Dylan Jones. Brooks, who played a considerable 26 minutes off the bench, went just 2-for-6 from the field. The only other basket from the bench came from Jones’ emphatic dunk. Junior guard Patrick Lucas-Perry, the Quakers’ premier deep threat last season, went scoreless in just seven minutes of action. The Quakers need to see a jump in bench production.
2. Hot second-half shooting
The Quakers shot an impressive 48.5 percent from the field in the second half (up from 41.9 percent in the first) – a main reason why the Red and Blue were able to erase a 15-point deficit. While Penn can’t make a habit of digging themselves into holes, the Quakers proved their ability to turn it up on the offensive end when needed. The Red and Blue found success both behind the arc and on the fast break during their late 21-4 run to get back into the game.
3. One measley block
In addition to a poor display of defensive rebounding, the Quakers did not do a stellar job of protecting the basket against Temple, which is reflected by the Red and Blue’s one total block. Jerome Allen said after the game that his team “can’t guard the ball,” and on Saturday that often resulted in Penn’s post defenders being put in tough positions. Far too often, the Owls were able to sneak past the Quakers’ defense and get uncontested lay-ins. While dominance cannot be expected, the Quakers, who averaged 2.6 blocks per contest last season, have the size and skill to be more forceful on the defensive end.
4. 17 minutes from freshmen
While Allen made it clear the Quakers won’t rely on freshman play as much
as the squad did last season, a few of Penn’s young guns did get involved in the Quakers’ first contest of the year.
Guard Tony Bagtas led all freshmen in minutes with eight, and although he didn’t score, he handled the ball for a decent amount of time and got an assist.
Guard Matt Howard, who logged five minutes, saw some early action and was able to get to the line, but couldn’t get on the board. He made a solid showing on the defense end, however, and displayed the level of hustle and energy the Quakers want to see from him.
Forward Dylan Jones, who only played four minutes, made the biggest contribution of the three freshmen to see time, unleashing a monstrous second half dunk that sent the Palestra into a frenzy. Jones, who also grabbed a board, may play the biggest role of any Penn freshman this season.
5. Minutes jump for Hicks and Nelson-Henry
Sophomores Tony Hicks and Darien Nelson-Henry both played significant minutes in the Quakers’ loss to Temple. In fact, they each played over 10 minutes more than their respective game averages last season. Hicks logged 34 minutes on Saturday, 11.7 more than his average of 23.3 last season, which is good enough for Penn’s second highest total versus Temple. Nelson-Henry post- ed 28 minutes on the Palestra floor, 10.3 more than his freshman year average of 17.7.
The two sophomores made the most of their minutes, too. Hicks, who was named co-Ivy Player of the week, paced the Quakers with 28 points on 50 percent shooting, including three treys. He was at the center of the Quakers’ late run, scoring eight straight points to give the Quakers a short lived 73-71 lead with 1:37 left.
Nelson-Henry delivered a solid all-around performance, notching a double-double on 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Coming off strong freshman campaigns, Hicks and Nelson-Henry look poised to take their games to the next level. Look forward to Je- rome Allen relying on heavy contributions from the two sophomores throughout the season.
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