Instead of a traditional Three Up, Three Down, I am bringing you three keys to the game for the Red and Blue as they look to end their five game losing streak.
1. Figure out Tony Hicks- The sophomore guard is still Penn’s leading scorer with 13.8 points per game, but over his last four games, he has just six points per contest. The sophomore’s shooting struggles came to a head on Sunday against Rider as he didn’t score at all during Penn’s 88 point barrage. However, Coach Jerome Allen didn’t think it was a huge problem for the team.
“He has some ability. He is important to this basketball team,” Allen said. “All 17 guys are [important]. No one player is bigger than the team.”
With airballs becoming more frequent than made baskets, it is time for the Red and Blue to find a way to get Hicks going. It is no wonder than Penn’s losing streak has paralleled the poor shooting of Hicks.
2. Limit defensive rebounding- The Rider game was a thorough embarrassment. There is no way that an opposing team should have more offensive rebounds than you have defensive rebounds yet Penn found itself in that position during the 89-88 loss. W
ith sophomore center Darien Nelson-Henry figuring to miss his third straight game with a concussion, it is going to be on Fran Dougherty, Cameron Gunter and others to pick up the slack and get Penn to have a respectable game on the boards. It will be a prime opportunity to do so since George Mason ranks near the bottom of the Atlantic 10 in offensive rebounding percentage, which should play to the Quakers’ advantage.
3. Let Miles Cartwright run the show- Sure, freshman Tony Bagtas had a pretty solid run with his performances against Villanova and Wagner in early December. But after watching Cartwright excel while Bagtas was on the bench against Rider, it is clear that Cartwright can run Penn’s offense to peak proficiency.
While Cartwright can work off the ball and drain three-pointers (he leads the team with a 46.7 percent mark from beyond the arc), he displayed his ability to find the open man against Rider, dishing out nine assists and play the role of facilitator for the Red and Blue. If Cartwright finds the ball in his hands more often than not, then Penn basketball is in good hands with the senior captain.
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