Penn men’s basketball spent its Thanksgiving break in Anaheim, Calif., competing in the Wooden Legacy tournament. The Red and Blue (5-3) went 2-1 in their three games this weekend and took home a third-place finish. Here are three takeaways from the Quakers’ trip across the country.
Penn’s freshman talent is the real deal
Through the Quakers’ first eight games this season, several young players have contributed meaningfully to the team’s success. Freshmen Jordan Dingle, Max Martz, and Lucas Monroe are all averaging over 10 minutes per game, and Dingle has started in all seven games he has played this season.
Throughout the Wooden Legacy, this trio of freshmen continued to contribute in a big way. In Friday night’s 92-82 loss to No. 14 Arizona, Dingle led the Quakers in scoring with 27 points while also shooting 7-for-14 from beyond the arc. Dingle also led the team in scoring with 21 during Sunday’s battle with Long Beach State. Martz followed Dingle’s lead on Sunday by scoring 17 points on the back of 5-of-6 shooting from three.
Penn will need this trio of young freshmen to keep contributing in a big way if it hopes to take home the Ivy League title.
The Quakers must continue to protect the ball on offense
Many of Penn’s games in the early part of the season have been hard-fought, close contests decided in the waning moments of games. In these close games, turnovers and the opponents’ ability to capitalize on those turnovers can be a deciding factor in who wins and who loses.
This weekend, the Quakers continued to struggle somewhat with turnovers. In Thursday night’s 68-67 victory over Central Florida, the Quakers turned the ball over 22 times, which led to 21 UCF points. This was also the case in the Red and Blue's victory over Long Beach State, when they turned the ball over 13 times. The game was close at the half, with both teams knotted at 43. It was only after eliminating turnovers in the second half that the Quakers were able to pull away with a 95-79 victory.
When the Quakers begin Ivy play, it will be important for them to limit turnovers if they hope to emerge on the winning side of their close contests.
Penn’s “Big Three” will be the largest factor in their success this season
Entering this season, Penn fans knew that the play of seniors AJ Brodeur, Ryan Betley, and Devon Goodman would be integral to the team’s success. The three showed promise of what they could do together in the games leading up to the Wooden Legacy. However, during this weekend’s tournament, the three stars showed Penn fans how they can take over a game against difficult competition.
During the Quakers’ Thanksgiving Day victory, all three players scored at least 14 points. Brodeur led the way with 23 and Betley and Goodman scored 19 and 14, respectively. The trio of seniors continued their success in the game against Arizona, with all three recording double figures in scoring and with Brodeur producing a double-double. This trend continued in Sunday’s victory over Long Beach State, where all three scored at least eight points.
This season’s Quakers have a high level of depth and young talent. However, the play of Penn’s “Big Three” of seniors in this weekend’s tournament showed that the team will rely on its experienced stars this season during its quest for an Ivy League title.
The Quakers will return home from Anaheim to prepare for a Wednesday showdown with Big 5 rival Villanova.
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