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With 2013 coming to a close, look for sophomore guard Jamal Lewis to be important to Penn basketball’s chances against a solid Rider squad on Sunday

Credit: Carolyn Lim

After an embarrassing loss to Marist, Penn basketball plays its final game of 2013 on the road at Rider. The Quakers are trying to end a four game losing streak while also recovering from injuries to starting center Darien Nelson-Henry and guard Miles Cartwright. Here’s some predictions on who will be hot… and who will be not so hot in the Garden State on Sunday.

Three Up

Jamal Lewis: Second on the team in assist to turnover ratio, the sophomore guard has transitioned into a smaller role for the Red and Blue this season as Tony Bagtas has taken his starting role. But he still put up five points against Marist off the bench. Expect him to be a little more involved in the offense on Sunday if Cartwright continues to be limited with a thumb injury.

Cameron Gunter: The senior center is quietly putting together some solid early season numbers and the matchup at Marist was no different. The 6-foot-11 senior had six points, four rebounds and two steals in the Quakers’ loss while shooting 3-for-5 from the field. With Nelson-Henry dealing with an injury, Gunter is someone who can provide quality minutes to make up for the loss.

Fran Dougherty: Even with Gunter playing some solid ball in the post, the onus is on Dougherty to come up big in the frontcourt. With Nelson-Henry likely out or limited against Rider, the Quakers will rely on the senior forward to play strong in post and lead the team, both as a captain and as a rebounder as the team looks to improve on the boards.

Three Down

Camryn Crocker: Where, oh where has the junior guard gone? After starting down the stretch of the 2012-13 season for the Red and Blue, Crocker has not found favor in coach Jerome Allen’s rotation this winter, averaging a paltry 5.5 minutes per game. With the emergence of Bagtas at the point, it looks like it will be tough for Crocker to find more minutes moving forward.

Penn’s rebounding: After outrebounding four straight opponents, the Quakers were destroyed on the boards by the Red Foxes last weekend. Marist picked up 13 more rebounds than the Red and Blue, including 15 offensive rebounds that led to 15 second-chance points. If Nelson-Henry is out once again or limited in his minutes, Penn’s rebounding woes from Marist could become a trend.

2013 Penn basketball overall: 2013 was not a banner year for the Quakers. Beginning with a loss at Butler on Jan. 2, Penn has a 7-20 record for the calendar year going into the matchup with Rider. With a new year, new resolutions and more experience, we will see if 2014 brings any more luck to a program that hasn’t won an Ivy League title since the 2006-07 season.

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