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12-04-21-mbb-vs-temple-michael-wang-kylie-cooper
Senior forward Michael Wang jumps in an attempt to dunk the ball over the hoop while Temple defenders attempt to block him during the game on Dec. 4. Credit: Kylie Cooper

After a double-digit loss to then-No. 6 Villanova, Penn basketball looked to get back on track vs. Temple and gain some ground in the Big 5 standings. Facing injuries and an in-sync opponent, the Quakers were unable to get it done on Saturday. Here’s what we learned from Penn’s loss:

  1. This was Temple’s first game of the season playing without standout sophomore guard Khalif Battle, a four-star recruit who had scored 32% of the Owls’ points this season. While conventional wisdom would attribute this as a boon to the Quakers, coach Steve Donahue wasn’t so sure after the game. He said Battle’s absence allowed the Owls to play more fluidly, making them harder to defend. 
  2. While sophomore guard Jordan Dingle led the Quakers in scoring — as he usually does — with 22 points, senior forward Michael Wang was the true standout for the Quakers in this game, especially in the second half. He finished the game right behind Dingle with 21 points, 17 of which came in the final 15:10 of the contest. 
  3. More on Wang: the Taiyuan, China native showed resilience after a slow, 1-6 shooting start to the game. If he can continue playing like he is now — similar to how he played his freshman year — he will help keep the Quakers competitive this season. Right now, he is essentially the only man the Red and Blue can trust to give the ball to in the paint, filling A.J. Brodeur’s famous low-post role. 
  4. Max Lorca-Lloyd can’t come back soon enough for the Quakers. Facing injury, Penn started junior transfer Michael Moshkovitz at forward in his place today. While Moshkovitz seems to be both a favorite of players and fans, he has mostly been a liability on the court this season. Donahue seemingly figured that out on Saturday, removing him from the lineup for almost all of the second half.
  5. Speaking of the rotation, it’s not nearly as deep as Donahue speculated it could be before the season, when he talked of 10 or 11 men seeing meaningful minutes in every game. Recently, he has been sticking with around seven or eight. Whether this is due to injuries or the team's talent level is unclear. 
  6. Freshman guard George Smith may have a case to deepen Donahue’s rotation. Featured in Clark Slajchert’s usual role (he was out due to health and safety protocols), Smith played well as a team player in 28 minutes of action, also nailing a deep three. Smith’s teammate Dingle praised his spot performance after the loss. 
  7. Junior guard Jonah Charles came into the game leading the Ivy League in three-pointers made, but went just 1-4 against the Owls. With the Quakers shooting only 34% from three on the afternoon, they surely wish he could’ve gotten more involved from deep. 
  8. While the Quakers only lost by nine, it felt like a lot more at times. Penn was manhandled by Temple forward Jake Forrester, who nearly had a double-double all night, and allowed freshman guard Damian Dunn to drop 27 points. The Red and Blue could never really come back from a 16-6 Temple run to start the game. They gave Temple a lot of open looks, and the Owls took advantage. The Quakers were 3.5-point underdogs coming into the game, a spread that feels generous in hindsight.
  9. Saturday was a field day for free and highly discounted food connoisseurs: it was $1 hotdog day at the Liacouras Center, and, because Temple reached 76 points, all ticket holders were entitled to a free taco at Qdoba. Here’s to hoping the Palestra follows suit.


Credit: Samantha Turner


BRANDON PRIDE is a Wharton junior from Morgan Hill, Calif. studying finance. He can be reached at pride@thedp.com.

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