The numbers tell the story: Penn basketball has been anything but successful in Ivy League play this season.
In the midst of a seven-game losing streak, the Quakers have only three contests remaining before wrapping up their 2014-15 campaign. And though the Red and Blue have little left to play for in terms of wins and losses, there are plenty of marks Penn hopes to avoid when its season ends next Tuesday.
Never before in program history have the Quakers (7-18, 2-9 Ivy) finished in sole possession of last place in the Ancient Eight. However, sitting 1.5 games behind seventh-place Brown, the Red and Blue are confronted with that possibility with matchups against Columbia, Cornell and Princeton — the fourth-, fifth- and third-place teams in the conference — looming between Friday and Tuesday.
Against the Lions (13-13, 5-7), Penn will look to avenge one of its worst losses of the season, an 83-56 shellacking in New York on Feb. 7. That loss was the first in the Quakers' current losing streak, a stretch that is the longest Ivy losing skid in program history.
The Red and Blue's last win came against their opponent on Saturday night, the Big Red. Though Cornell (13-15, 5-7) has dropped four of its last five, the Big Red shocked Harvard at home behind 24 points and 15 rebounds from forward Shonn Miller.
Miller also had a monster game against Penn in the Quakers' win on Feb. 6, posting 20 points and 10 rebounds to pace the Big Red. However, the Euclid, Ohio, native was outdone by Red and Blue junior captain Tony Hicks, who scored 25 points and hit a game-winning floater with four seconds left in overtime.
Penn's Ivy season will conclude exactly where it started: against rival Princeton. In a Jan. 10 matchup between the two squads, the Tigers (13-15, 6-5) faced a 15-point deficit midway through the second half before storming back behind 23 points from sophomore forward Henry Caruso to take the wind out of the Quakers' sails heading into the remainder of Ivy play.
Beyond attempting to put an end to their losing streak, the Red and Blue will also look to send their veterans out with a bang. This weekend's contests represent the final three games for Penn's three seniors — Greg Louis, Cam Crocker and Patrick Lucas-Perry.
Despite the struggles the program has encountered over the past three seasons, coach Jerome Allen noted the positive impact the trio has had on the Red and Blue in their time at Penn.
"When Penn wins again, and we will win again, it will be because [the seniors] helped lay the foundations for the culture," Allen said.
It will be interesting to see whether or not Louis features prominently in Allen's gameplan throughout the next several games. Despite starting for the Quakers for the majority of the season, the fifth-year head coach benched the senior against Yale for the entirety of the contest, instead opting to start seldom-used rookie forward Dan Dwyer.
As the Quakers wind down their season over spring break, the squad will need to register at least one victory to match its win total from last year. Penn finished 8-20 in 2013-14 after going 9-22 the previous year.
And if the Red and Blue end up losing two of their three matchups over the next several days, it will mark the third time in as many seasons that Penn has lost 20 games. Prior to 2012-13, no team in program history had ever lost over 20 contests.
This time around, with the end of their season in sight, the Quakers will attempt to buck a number of trends that have plagued the team all year. While Penn tries to end its seven-game losing streak and send its seniors out with a win, it may take more than one to ensure that this weekend is not the last stretch of games for Allen as well.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.