Penn men's basketball traveled to New England looking to climb up the Ivy standings. Instead, the Quakers put up two disappointing showings and are now on the outside looking in. With four conference games remaining, the Red and Blue sit one game behind Brown for the last spot in the Ivy Tournament. Here's what we learned from a surprising and demoralizing weekend sweep.
1. Anyone can win on any given night in the Ivy League, but the Quakers found that out the hard way over the weekend. Dartmouth — which started out 0-6 in conference play — held the Quakers to a 36.7% shooting clip, limiting senior forward AJ Brodeur's opportunities down low. Harvard came back from a six-point halftime deficit to defend its home court, where the Crimson haven't lost in 378 days.
2. Injuries are an unfortunate part of the game of basketball, but the Quakers will need to adjust to life without some of their biggest stars. Senior guard Ryan Betley's status is murky for next weekend, while sophomore guard Bryce Washington is most likely done for the season according to coach Steve Donahue. Penn will need to get good performances out of their current rotation members for the remaining home stretch if they want to make Ivy Madness.
3. It has become apparent that the Quakers' success rides on strong performances from Brodeur. The Mass. native struggled over the weekend with just 20 points between both games. Against Dartmouth, Brodeur shot just 25% and couldn't contain Dartmouth junior forward Chris Knight, who exploded for 16 points in the paint. With four games remaining in his career, it's no surprise that the Quakers' success all comes back to Brodeur.
4. This year's freshman class is special, especially in a conference where freshmen often don't see big minutes. Freshman guards Jordan Dingle and Lucas Monroe and forward Max Martz were impactful during the team's road trip to New England, with Dingle hitting four threes against Harvard. It's a bright sign for the future of Penn men's basketball, which will have to cope with the loss of Brodeur, Betley, and senior guard Devon Goodman next season.
5. Once a deep team, the Quakers' rotation is thin as the regular season comes to a close. Just six players logged over 10 minutes against Dartmouth, while only seven players logged minutes against Harvard. It remains to be seen if Donahue will look further down the bench and give sophomore guards Griffin Ryan and Alex Imegwu, junior center Mark Jackson, and freshman center Max Lorca-Lloyd — the only other healthy players on the team — a chance to prove themselves.
6. Penn needs to focus on finishing strong in the second half in the squad's last four games. Harvard and Dartmouth outperformed the Quakers over the weekend, and part of this can be attributed to fatigue as the Red and Blue employ a small rotation. Still, Penn needs to do a better job of staying hot in the second half and limiting opponents' offensive rebounds.
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