Penn men’s basketball delivered a 49-point victory with a side of free Wahoo's burritos for all of the spectators in attendance on Saturday.
Although the Red and Blue (5-2) got off to a slow start with easy chances left unconverted, they pushed through the early struggles to score the fourth-highest total in program history.
“We went back to what we know we could do, as Penn men’s basketball,” junior forward AJ Brodeur said. “Games like today are a good way to work on being perfect — consistently executing perfectly both on offense and defense — and I thought we did a good job today.”
The junior had his 11th career double-double, with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Senior guard Antonio Woods, one of nine Penn players to hit a three-pointer, started the proceedings by scoring a three in the first play of the game. Penn consistently applied pressure, building up chances with fluid all-court play and slowly starting establishing dominance. The last time the Ospreys (2-1) were within single digits of the Quakers was about 12 minutes in, with the score at 23-14.
“I feel like sometimes, when we play a Division III school, it's kind of a trap game,” junior guard Devon Goodman said. “A lot of D-I teams don’t take them seriously, but I think today we just respected the opponent and played hard. Everyone stepped up, from the starting five to the bench.”
Goodman had a standout game, leading the team with 16 points, all in the first half, while also notching two assists and grabbing two rebounds. Coach Steve Donahue echoed confidence in the junior’s improvement and spelled out ways for him to improve even further in the future.
“I think he's gotten substantially better; his shooting is much more consistent, he has played much more confidently, and now, [in the absence of Betley], he doesn’t have to look over his shoulder,” Donahue said. “He’s got really good quickness, so the next step for him is to help in keeping the possession when he’s not scoring by assisting more.”
Major contributions from upperclassmen like Brodeur, Woods, and Goodman, coupled with key performances from freshmen guard Bryce Washington and forward Michael Wang, helped Penn close out the half up 27 points at 60-33.
“I thought we played okay in the first half; we got beat up, we bounced back and we came through,” Wang said.
The Red and Blue started the second half in a more disciplined fashion, becoming flexible with squad rotation as the lead kept increasing.
Once again, Woods started off the scoring in the half, scoring a layup off a fast break. The second-highest scorer of the day with 14 points, the senior was a steadfast presence in Penn’s offense whenever he was playing.
With an extensive lead in hand, the Quakers kept their head down and capitalized on their chances as they came.
“We made the right decisions, because [in these situations] you can get sloppy,” Donahue said. 'When we had the chances we took advantage; we went nine turnovers in a high possession game. You ask anybody, [they’d say] that's pretty good.”
As the lopsided game continued, some members of the team that don’t normally get a chance on the court got their opportunity to contribute. Sophomore center Mark Jackson and freshman guard Alex Imegwu scored their first career points.
In an anticlimactic result, junior forward Jakub Mijakowski hit a three-pointer with five minutes to spare to bring up the inevitable century for the Quakers. He was the ninth player to score a three-pointer for the Red and Blue during the game, just one player shy of equaling an NCAA record the team set last year against Delaware State.
The Quakers have a lot of positives to carry forward onto a slate of tough opponents in the coming weeks. In a stark contrast to Stockton, Penn will face a top national program in Miami (Fla.) at home on Dec. 4.
“[The Hurricanes] are a really good team. We played them the year before last year, and if anything I’m sure they’ve gotten better,” Brodeur said. It’s going to be a challenge and we are going to use today as a jumping off point; we’ll look at film, look at what we did well and try and repeat that as well as we can.”