Penn men's basketball started the new year on the wrong foot after suffering a 78-64 loss to rival Princeton at the Palestra on Saturday night. However, the silver lining is that the Red and Blue can avenge this defeat when they face the Tigers in New Jersey this Friday.
But to come away from Jadwin Gym with the win, the Quakers will need to make some serious adjustments to their strategy. Here are some key takeaways from this past weekend's Penn-Princeton matchup.
Brodeur needs to get the better of Aririguzoh
All night long, the matchup to watch down low was between Penn senior forward AJ Brodeur and Princeton senior center Richmond Aririguzoh. The two big men went at it all night long, with Aririguzoh being just a little more physical to get the better of Brodeur for much of the game.
The Princeton center finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds, including four off the offensive glass. These second-chance opportunities handed the Tigers easy points and killed any momentum Penn tried to create throughout the game.
Although Brodeur is one of the Red and Blue's go-to defenders near the basket, the team as a whole cannot allow Princeton to recreate as many close chances it got on Saturday. The Tigers scored 52 points in the paint, often from constant pressure on Brodeur and Penn's other big men.
On offense, Brodeur was limited to 12 points, eight rebounds, and one assist, all below his season average. Going 5-of-16 from the floor for a .313 field goal percentage, Saturday's contest was his second-worst shooting performance of the season. Brodeur outmuscling Aririguzoh on both sides of the ball will be essential if the Quakers hope to keep up with Princeton.
Penn cannot go cold from beyond the arc
Entering Saturday night averaging 10.6 three-pointers made per game, the Red and Blue rely heavily on the long ball for overall success. However, between the Tigers' defense and shooting woes, the Quakers went a dismal 3-of-23 from distance — a season-low 13.0% — in their return to the Palestra.
Notably quiet was freshman forward Max Martz. Having made 16 threes across the team's previous four games, Martz only attempted one against Princeton and missed it.
The rest of the team wasn't much better, with Brodeur and senior guard Ryan Betley combining to go 0-of-7 from deep. However, a bright sign for the Quakers was freshman guard Jordan Dingle's return from injury, as the rookie led the team with 21 points, including a pair of three-pointers. Penn will need to shake off its post-winter break rust quickly and pick up its strong shooting from distance to be competitive in the rematch this Friday.
The Quakers need to contain Ryan Schwieger
Every time Princeton needed to make a big play this weekend, it seemed Ryan Schwieger was the man to make it happen. The junior guard exploded for a career-high 27 points against Penn, which was unable to consistently defend his quick style of play on offense.
Central to Schwieger's success was the sheer number of shots he was allowed to take by the Red and Blue's defense. He took a team-high 16 attempts from the floor — just as many as Brodeur — but he made 10 of them to Brodeur's five.
The one area where the Quakers did well on defense was limiting Princeton's three-point game. Schwieger converted one of his two shots from deep, but the visitors only made one other trey all night out of nine tries. Continuing this strong defensive play will be essential this Friday at Jadwin.
For as poorly as Penn shot the ball, Schwieger played arguably the best game of his three years with the Tigers on Saturday. If he can keep up his form into this week, Penn and the rest of the Ivy League will quickly need to find a way to deal with him.
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