Heading into a four-game road streak against a slew of Ivy foes, Penn men’s basketball — owner of the longest active losing streak in the Ivy League — is hoping a change of scenery will improve its fortunes.
While a loss to Yale last weekend was not unexpected, a 75-48 point loss is always hard to chew, and a defeat at the hands of cellar-dwelling Brown the next day did not ease the Quakers’ pain.
Since its thrilling victory over Cornell on Feb. 6, the Red and Blue (7-14, 2-5 Ivy) has gone flat from the field, failing to shoot above 35.6 percent from the floor in any of their last three matchups.
With Harvard on the horizon, the obstacles aren’t getting any smaller for a Penn squad that is sinking into the depths of the league standings.
But the Quakers are staying tough and digging deep to keep a positive outlook on the future.
“It’s funny, I was asked this question by a group of eight-year-old girls,” senior forward Greg Louis responded to the question of how the team is pushing through with Penn out of the league title conversation. “And I’m like, ‘What do you mean it’s out of reach?’” Louis joked before telling the girls that “when I play I play for my teammates.”
Louis has had time to reflect over his four years, and he spoke with maturity as he gets ready to play out the end of his final season.
“Being a senior now, perspective is a little bit different. The dream of playing ball as a career, you realize that that’s not for everyone,” he said before going back to discussing the relationship he has with the current group of Quakers.
“It’s just beautiful. It’s nice to have people to come to when things aren’t going well in life. These are my brothers, and we’ll be friends for life hopefully.”
Louis is able to fondly speak about this season because the atmosphere has been incredibly positive despite the ups and downs.
“This year, this entire team has been really really focused,” he added. “Last year was rough, but from day one we’ve had a lot of great energy from the freshmen and focus from the coaches and guys just bought in.”
If the Quakers are to pull out a win Friday night in Cambridge, it will surely be on the heels of freshman production and Louis’s aggression on the boars. Coach Jerome Allen stressed the need to dominate Harvard down low as an integral part of Penn’s game plan.
“Having five guys locked in to every segment,” Allen said of the keys to the game. “Rebound the ball. Keep them out of the paint. Keep them off the offensive glass and kinda manage their transition looks.”
Allen also noted that he won’t be changing much for Friday’s matchup despite Harvard’s staunch backcourt.
“Our game plan will pretty much be the system, not only what it was the first time we played them, but what it’s been about throughout all year,” he said.
It should be noted that the first time the two faced off this season, Penn was dealt a crushing 65-38 defeat. The loss surely exposed holes in Allen’s game plan, and the Red and Blue will need to change something if they hope to avoid replicating January’s home loss to the Crimson (17-5, 7-1).
If the Quakers can make it past Harvard with their heads held high, there is a reward waiting in Hanover, N.H., on Saturday in the form of a rematch with lowly Dartmouth (9-13, 2-6).
Allen, however, is solely focused on Harvard, and rightly so.
“We haven’t really talked about Saturday night,” Allen said. “Our sole focus has been on the next challenge ahead with the appreciation that from a coaching standpoint that you have to prepare these guys for 80 minutes.”
Harvard is not the juggernaut it was last year when it won a game in the NCAA tournament, but with that being said, Penn will have to be firing on all cylinders to take down the Ivy League giant Friday night.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.