Penn pulled off the most impressive win of the Steve Donahue era (at least according to KenPom) Tuesday night at the Palestra, taking full advantage of hosting a high-major by besting Miami in convincing fashion, 89-75.
The Quakers (7-2) notched an astounding 1.39 points per possession, posting 50 points in the first half against the Hurricanes’ zone, a defense that ranks just outside the nation’s top 50 per KenPom.
The loss came in the first true road game of the season for Miami (5-4), which has now lost four games in a row, including a 79-75 home loss to Yale in the ‘Canes’ previous tilt Saturday.
Leading Penn was rookie Michael Wang, who lit up Miami with a career-high 23 points on 9-for-12 shooting in just 27 minutes, including a blistering 5-for-6 from long range. Wang has been a sharpshooting delight on several occasions early in his collegiate career, proving himself as the only player besides Devon Goodman who could get anything going offensively for Penn in a 64-48 loss to Kansas State and going 4-for-6 from three-point land at George Mason in his debut.
Penn shot 13-for-23 from deep against the Hurricanes, who went just 3-for-20.
AJ Brodeur posted 18 points, eight rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block, attacking Miami with what Fran Fraschilla called a “old guy at the Y” game”:
Watched @PennBasketball knock off Miami, 89-75 at the Palestra and led whole game. A.J. Brodeur has “the old guy at the Y” game inside & is hard to stop. Yale knocked off Canes Saturday. Level of play in @IvyLeague keeps rising.
— Fran Fraschilla (@franfraschilla) December 5, 2018
😂😂😂 never heard that one before https://t.co/eoiUbsx5me
— AJ Brodeur (@AJBrodeur) December 5, 2018
What Penn has been able to accomplish without Ryan Betley, its leading scorer and third-leading rebounder from 2017-18 who suffered a season-ending injury in this year’s opener, has been remarkable. Penn’s effective and three-point percentages have shot up from last season’s totals, driven by Goodman’s notable shooting versatility and floor vision as well as Wang’s emergence. Brodeur continues to be the gift to Penn that keeps on giving, leading the team with 3.9 assists per game. This team has four players who average at least two assists a game (Brodeur, Max Rothschild, Goodman and Antonio Woods), and Penn notched 23 assists versus just nine turnovers against Miami.
Now it’s Big 5 time.
Up next for Penn is a matchup Saturday at La Salle, where the Red and Blue will try to avenge last season’s double overtime loss to the Explorers and a shot at national champion Villanova at the Palestra Tuesday, a game that KenPom gives Penn a 27 percent chance of winning. Expect that to be a very competitive game as well, because the Steve Donahue era at Penn has proven to be all about expecting more.