Decent showing for Penn
Penn surprised pretty much everyone by keeping things very respectable last night in Durham. The Quakers got the subpar effort from Duke they needed to have a chance at the upset, but the Ivy Leaguers weren’t able to bring their best game either. It sounds strange to say, but if Penn hadn’t committed 26 turnovers — many of which were careless mistakes — it would have have been right there with the top-ranked Blue Devils.
Fran Dunphy’s gameplan on offense was basically to spread the floor and let Ibby Jaaber handle the ball. Duke overplayed the passing lanes, and that opened up things for some cuts to the basket once Penn settled down. The defensive strategy involved doubling Shelden Williams in the post when he got the ball and trying to keep an eye on J.J. Redick on the perimeter. Penn did a better job of the former than the latter, as Redick ended up with a number of wide-open looks from the arc.
The most surprising thing was the rebounding. After struggling on the boards in previous games, Penn snared 40.0 percent of the boards off its own misses, while holding Duke to 23.1 percent at its end. The other great sign for the Quakers was the shooting of David Whitehurst, who showed a smooth and quick release en route to a 5-of-7 performance from three-point range that kept Penn in the game in the second half.
Brown offensive struggles continue
When you shoot 28.6 percent and turn over the ball 19 times, you’re going to struggle offensively, as the 41 points in Brown’s scoring column attest. Holy Cross shut down Damon Huffman, holding him to just two points on 1-for-6 shooting. Sam Manhanga was the only bright spot offensively for the Bears, getting the start and scoring 18 points.
Yale (3-3) at Hartford (3-2) – 7:00 pm
This intrastate showdown should be entertaining and fast-paced. The Hawks rank 30th nationally in tempo and the Bulldogs are just behind them at 48th, though Yale has done a much better job of taking care of the ball thus far. Neither team has done much at all with the three-pointer, but Hartford is scoring very well inside the arc. The Bulldogs have utlized the free throw line extremely well, while the Hawks’ games have been relatively free throw-free at both ends. Keep an eye on the turnover and free throw totals in this one. For the comparative score watchers out there, Hartford lost at home to Brown 70-60 back on November 23 and beat Cornell 73-71 three days later.