The night after a hard-fought overtime win over Harvard, the Quakers were bound to be a little sluggish. Penn men's basketball didn’t deliver a strong offensive performance but got it done on the defensive end to beat Dartmouth by a score of 54-46. Here are four takeaways from the game.
The Quakers have a formidable backcourt duo
Senior guard Devon Goodman and freshman guard Jordan Dingle led the Red and Blue in scoring against the Big Green with 16 and 13 points, respectively. Goodman’s speed and efficiency were on display, while Dingle showcased his strength and ball-handling ability. Both players average more than 33 minutes played per game, providing consistency at arguably the most important position in basketball.
Outside of Goodman and Dingle, the Quakers lack a true ball handler who can score points with regularity, so their health will be a key to the team’s success. Playing so many minutes is extremely difficult through a grueling conference schedule with weekly back-to-backs, but coach Steve Donahue has praised both players’ conditioning. Along with frontcourt stalwart senior forward AJ Brodeur, stability and continued production from this backcourt could help put Penn over the top in the Ivy League.
Penn will have to keep up its recent defensive effort to contend
In the Quakers’ first two conference games against Princeton, the Tigers shot the lights out in relatively comfortable victories. Against Harvard and Dartmouth, the Red and Blue locked down on defense, holding both teams under 40% shooting from the field and under 30% from three-point range. Despite building up big leads in both games thanks to their defense, the Quakers saw those gaps dwindle during extended cold stretches on offense.
Strong defense will keep Penn in games, but when the offense isn’t working, the team needs to be exceptional on the other end of the floor. Dartmouth scored 14 points in the first half, but the Red and Blue had 28 points of their own at the break. Even trailing by 17 in the second half, the Big Green cut their deficit to five with under a minute to play. Over their last three games, the Quakers have allowed an average of just 54.3 points in regulation, and they’ll have to sustain a similar defensive effort to become the top team in the conference.
The current rotation for the Quakers won’t be changing much
Injuries are a part of any sport, but the Red and Blue have dealt with a number of injuries to players projected to be important contributors this season. Freshman guard Jonah Charles, junior guard Jelani Williams, and sophomore forward Michael Wang are all out for the season. Sophomore guard Bryce Washington and senior forward Kuba Mijakowski are also out with no target return date.
The rotation for Penn will likely stay the same as the Quakers try to take home an Ivy title.
AJ Brodeur has a chance to be Penn’s all-time leading scorer
Heading into the game against Dartmouth, Brodeur needed just two points to grab sole possession of fourth place on the career scoring list for the Quakers. Brodeur now has 1,652 career points, and he is chasing Penn legend Ernie Beck who owns the all-time career mark with 1,827 points. Brodeur will likely pass Zack Rosen at 1,723 points and Ugonna Onyekwe at 1,762, but claiming the No. 1 spot will be more difficult. Over the final 10 games of the season (and potentially more if the Quakers advance to the Ivy League Tournament), Brodeur needs 175 more points to tie Beck atop the list.
Despite scoring only nine points against Dartmouth, which ended his streak of 40 straight double-digit scoring games against Division I competition, Brodeur could feasibly get there by averaging a tick above his current 16.9 points per game average for the remainder of the regular season. Even if he doesn’t eventually lead the program in scoring, Brodeur has already cemented his place as one of the program’s most accomplished players ever.
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