Penn men's basketball kicked off its final home stand of the year with a 74-46 blowout over Dartmouth. It was a true team effort on offense, with 11 different Quakers recording points, while Dartmouth struggled to score from everywhere on the court. Ahead of a huge showdown with Harvard, here are four takeaways from the action.
It was all Quakers early on
That's the start Penn men's basketball needs every game. The Red and Blue came out with fire, immediately setting the tone with a 9-0 run to start the game. Penn started so well that after sophomore forward AJ Brodeur's layup to make it 9-0, ESPN gave the Quakers a 96.5 percent win probability.
The Quakers were ferocious early on defense, causing two turnovers in Dartmouth's first four possessions and forcing the Big Green into bad shots. On the other end, Brodeur led the charge, with four of his six points coming the in first 3:20 of the game.
The fast start was an encouraging sign after last weekend, where the Quakers needed a 18-0 second half run to overcome a poor first half. And getting ahead early allowed them to relax a bit on the back end, as Donahue pulled his starters with over six minutes left in the second half.
The defense showed up
That was perhaps the most complete defensive game from the Quakers all season. They held the Big Green to just 33.9 percent shooting, their second lowest of the season, and the lowest point total of the year. But the most impressive stat of the night was that Penn held Dartmouth to 0 for 17 from three-point range, where the Big Green usually shoot 36.7 percent.
Even those numbers don't do justice to just how tough the defense played. Penn was physical all night long, getting in the face of Dartmouth's shooters on the perimeter and refusing to give up easy buckets. And it wasn't just on the perimeter too — Penn established great positioning inside, giving up only four offensive rebounds and 26 in total, tying the season low.
Penn struggles to defend the Ivy's big forwards
That last section aside, the Quakers could not contain 6-foot-7 forward Chris Knight. The freshman led his team with 15 points on 7 for 12 shooting. Knight was extremely physical down low, as he tried to bully his way to the basket on numerous occasions. To their credit, Penn responded in kind, but the interior defense of Brodeur and junior center Max Rothschild wasn't enough to keep him from getting to the rack.
While it didn't hurt the Quakers today, the inability to stop strong forwards inside has plagued them throughout the season. Most notably, Harvard's 6-9 sophomore Chris Lewis torched the Red and Blue for 25 points in their only Ivy loss of the season. And ahead of a rematch with the Crimson, the Quakers need to come up with a way to stop him and players of his size.
All throughout the lineup, the Quakers have vision
It's been said throughout the season, but as a team the Quakers have incredible passing talent, and it was on full display tonight. Penn had 18 assists on 26 field goals, slightly above their season assist percentage of 57.2. But passes were flying all around the Palestra when the Quakers had the ball.
And it wasn't just the usual names too; eight different Quakers recorded an assist. There were even some great passes that didn't go down in the stat sheet, including a dime from sophomore guard Ryan Betley to set up a reverse layup attempt from sophomore guard Devon Goodman, who got fouled in the process.
Penn did an excellent job of moving the ball around, and it had the exact effect they were looking for. Quick passing from every player forced Dartmouth to shift, leaving guys open both inside and on the perimeter. And as a team full of offensive weapons, the Quakers made them pay.