It was a scrappy effort that saw the Quakers rally from double-digit deficits on two separate occasions, but ultimately Penn’s defense couldn’t get the necessary stops to keep Monmouth from pulling away for the 80-75 win.
The contest was an epitome of the season on the defensive end of the floor, as the Quakers allowed the Hawks to notch an efficient field goal percentage of 59.0, only turned Monmouth over on 16.5 percent of possessions and sent the Hawks to the line at a 56.0 percent free throw to field goal ratio. These figures were all worse than Penn’s averages in those categories which already had them ranked 315th, 303rd and 242nd nationally, respectively.
The offensive effort was very good, especially on the boards. The Quakers posted a 54.0 efficient field goal percentage for the game and added 13 offensive rebounds to post their highest offensive rating of the season. An average defensive performance for almost any division one team should have brought home the win – and Penn did hit about its average – but when that average is 117, average just isn’t enough.
The Quakers must now suffer through an excruciatingly long 16-day break before traveling to Davidson and Duke, neither of which is an opportune place to turn around a season gone wrong. The good news is that the respite from action should afford many key pieces for Penn to get healthy and get closer to returning to the floor.
AROUND THE IVY LEAGUE
Another of the league’s hyped pre-season squads turned a very promising corner yesterday, as Princeton snagged another valuable road win – over UNC-Greensboro – to go along with its season-opening victory at Central Michigan.
The Tigers got a breakout game from highly-touted freshman Ian Hummer (17 points on 4-of-5 shooting and 9-for-11 from the line) and a deceptively good performance from guard Marcus Schroeder (five points, seven boards, five assists, three steals and no turnovers) to secure a relatively easy 65-50 road win.
It was a prototypical Princeton performance (aside from the poor three-point shooting), as the Tigers racked up 19 assists on 25 baskets, added nine steals defensively and held the pace to just 60 possessions.
In other weekend action, Columbia gradually pulled away from winless Bryant down the stretch in Smithfield, RI to post a 69-57 victory and Dartmouth split its weekend games at Leede Arena, falling to Army on Saturday before using a 30-8 second half run to pull away from Lyndon State yesterday.
Over a month into the season now, and over halfway through the non-conference slate, the Ivy League is putting together one of its best seasons this decade. Currently, three teams are ranked in the RPI Top 100, as Princeton hopped up to No. 100 with its win over the Spartans. Brown (186) and Columbia (165) are each within striking distance of the top 150, giving the league the outside chance of entering conference play with four or five teams in the top half of Division I.
Even the Pomeroy and Sagarin ratings, which can pretty accurately expose RPI pretenders, show signs of agreement, as Cornell and Harvard are solidly in the top 100 of both of those metrics, while Princeton hovers around the top 150 and Columbia sits at No. 188 in the Pomeroy.
Currently, both Cornell (No. 46) and Harvard (No. 49) are ranked in the top 50 of the Sagarin ratings. The last time two Ivy League teams finished in the top 100 was 1998-99 – Penn (No. 64) and Princeton (No. 72). The league currently sits 21st in the Sagarin ratings, which would be its highest finish on record, though the league did finish 22nd three out of four years from 2001-02 to 2004-05.
NEWS AND NOTES
It’s a light week for Ivy action as Monmouth visits Princeton on Wednesday and Dartmouth travels to Lehigh on Thursday for the only contests of the week…Cornell placed 23rd on College Hoops Net’s non-BCS Top 25, while Harvard landed in the second five out. The College Insider Mid-Major Poll comes out later today. The AP Poll, where Cornell received votes last week, will be released later today as well…The Big Red will be at Madison Square Garden this weekend to take on Davidson on Sunday and then either St. John’s or Hofstra on Monday