While Penn football was clinching its Ivy League title on Saturday afternoon, the Red and Blue’s basketball team was in Seattle, facing off against Washington.
And although Ray Priore’s squad managed to secure the 17th title in program history with a win at Franklin Field, Steve Donahue’s Quakers did not find nearly the same success on the West Coast, suffering their first loss of the season in a 104-67 drubbing at the hands of the Huskies at Alaska Airlines Arena.
The Red and Blue (3-1) got off to a rough start on both ends of the floor and struggled to get back on track for the rest of the contest. They quickly found themselves down 16-0 before sophomore forward Mike Auger finally stopped the bleeding with a basket just prior to the first media timeout.
Penn was able to keep the game close for the majority of the first half despite shooting poorly, especially from beyond the three-point arc. By the break, however, the Quakers found themselves down, 54-30.
Most frustrating for Penn was that its offensive struggles did not arise from a lack of opportunities against the Huskies (3-0). The Red and Blue were able to produce open looks for the majority of the game, but the team simply failed to knock down shots.
“After the game, I told them I thought we did a lot of really good things,” coach Donahue said. “We had wide open shots, and we didn’t make them and then went 5-for-10 from the [free-throw] line in the first half.”
Washington’s press man-to-man defense also seemed to bother the Quakers at times, leading to six first-half turnovers. Even after the break, the Huskies continued to press and kept most of their starters on the floor late into the second half with the lead extending to 40 points at times.
Along with discomfort stemming from Washington’s defensive game plan, poor shooting continued to be the main concern for the Red and Blue on Saturday. Despite the fact that Penn won its first three games for the first time since the 1981-82 season, shooting has been an issue for the Quakers in their first four games.
“We have not shot the ball well from three all year,” Donahue said. “Today was a totally different day. We have been playing against zone, but today we played against man. For most of it we did a good job.
“We got to the foul line, didn’t just settle for shots. We’ve made good plays, finished at the rim, gotten to the foul line, but we haven’t made outside shots and foul shots.”
Senior center Darien Nelson-Henry scored 13 points, the fourth time in as many games he has broken 10-plus points in 2015-16. Junior Matt Howard was Penn’s only other player with double figures, notching 10 points on 4-for-10 shooting.
But the Quakers struggled shooting the ball throughout the entire game, making only 32 percent of their shots and converting only six of 28 three-point attempts. Despite the futility, Donahue is not too worried about his squad’s performance.
“[Washington] is tough competition,” he said. “We’ll learn from it and get better from it. There are a lot of positives from it. We got to the foul line 31 times. I thought we ran good offensive sets and got open shots for most of the game.”
For the Quakers, the lessons from a tough loss to a team of Washington’s caliber may be more important than the actual result.
“It’s another step in the maturation,” Donahue noted. “We must learn how to get out of adverse situations and stay poised and confident.”
Going forward, a loss like this could be useful for the Red and Blue. They’ll have a chance to improve on Wednesday when they take on an undefeated La Salle team at the Palestra.Comments powered by Disqus
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