In marquee games, the little things make the biggest difference.
Penn men’s basketball will be focused on improving on the little things when it travels to face Delaware State on Tuesday night.
The team has shown the ability to dominate on both ends of the floor, but has not been able to execute against tougher opponents. In losses to No. 12 Kansas State and Oregon State at last week's Paradise Jam, it became evident that the Red and Blue (5-2) still have a lot of work to do in getting to the free throw line and not turning the ball over.
Delaware State (1-5) is one of the weaker opponents the Quakers will face all season, so this should be more of a tune-up game as they prepare for upcoming matchups against power conference teams Miami (Fla.) and Villanova.
The Hornets are currently ranked No. 353 in the 2019 Pomeroy College Basketball Ratings, the lowest of any team playing Division I basketball. The Quakers sit at No. 141 after their strong start to the season.
In last season's matchup against Delaware State, the Quakers set a Division I record when 10 different players made a three-pointer in their 53-point victory. Coming off a 112-point performance against Stockton, Penn seems to be primed for another offensive explosion.
“We’re trying to take the momentum and apply it to this game and just get better,” junior guard Devon Goodman said.
The Red and Blue will need contributions from the entire lineup to keep the offense humming against tougher opponents. Against Stockton, coach Steve Donahue was able to give a large chunk of minutes to younger players, giving them necessary in-game experience.
“It was great to see people like [sophomore center] Mark [Jackson] and [freshman guard] Alex [Imegwu] score their first career points,” Goodman said.
Additionally, games against lower-ranked opponents provide the opportunity for upperclassmen to get extra rest. Goodman, along with junior forward AJ Brodeur and senior guard Antonio Woods, have each played around 200 minutes already this season.
It is important, however, not to give the veterans too much rest in order to ensure that they stay in rhythm for future contests. Keeping a player like Goodman, who has scored double digits in each of the last six games, on the bench for too long could cool down his hot shooting.
So what do the veterans plan to focus on against Delaware State?
“All the little stuff that’s gonna make us better, such as playing hard, things on the defensive end, and just being crisp on offense,” Goodman said.
“Just perfecting the little things."
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