Penn may have been the host of its matchup with Princeton Saturday, but it was the Tigers who made themselves at home at the Palestra.
The Tigers, fueled by Ryan Schweiger’s career-high 27 points, defeated the Quakers 78-64 in their first meeting of the year. The two teams will meet again on Friday at Jadwin Gym. The Quakers will need to make several adjustments to walk away victorious. Here are the keys to victory for both teams.
Controlling the paint
When it comes to divisional play, a strong start to the game is quite essential. The Tigers started off strong and never looked back. This success came from controlling the paint, as the Tigers relied on post-ups and cuts. Of the Tigers’ 77 possessions, 30 were post-ups and cuts (38.9%).
Additionally, Princeton netted a season-high 52 points in the paint on 62.8% shooting for two-point field goals. On the other hand, the Quakers missed 25 of their 48 two-point field goals (made 47.9%). The Tigers controlled the paint all throughout the game, on both ends of the floor, and will need to continue doing so to have similar success on Friday.
For the Tigers, this success will begin with Richmond Aririguzoh. Aririguzoh on Saturday dominated the paint and the boards, scoring 15 points and gathering 14 rebounds. More importantly, he shut down the Quakers’ interior offense, only allowing 2-for-12 (16.7%) shooting on defense.
For the Quakers, they will need a better showing from senior AJ Brodeur. Brodeur had a rough day from the field, shooting 5-for-16 (31.3%). Brodeur will need to score in double figures and challenge Aririguzoh on both ends of the court.
Limiting turnovers and offensive rebounds
Although the Tigers won the game on Saturday, they allowed 11 offensive rebounds and turned the ball over 12 times. Alternatively, the Quakers only allowed five offensive rebounds and turned the ball over seven times. Following turnovers and offensive rebounds, Penn outscored Princeton 25-11. In a game in which Penn missed a lot of easy shots inside and couldn’t find their rhythm outside, these turnovers and offensive rebounds kept them in the game. Come Friday, Princeton will need to reduce these opportunities by taking control of the ball and securing boards. For Penn, this was one of the only encouraging signs in Saturday’s loss; the Quakers committed a season-low seven turnovers. They will need a similar performance in Friday’s meeting if they want to win.
Penn lives by the three and dies by the three. Penn had a hard time finding any rhythm offensively Saturday. Coming into the game, the Quakers led the Ivy League in field goal percentage (47%) and had reached double figures in three-point field goals in seven of the last eight games. In a game where they took a season-high 71 shots, they shot a season-low 36.6% and only shot 3-for-23 (13%, also a season low) behind the arc. On the flip side, Princeton took fewer shots than any other Penn opponent this season (54) and also hit an opponent-low two treys.
For repeated success, Princeton will need Jaelin Llewellyn and Ryan Schwieger to be as efficient as they were on Saturday. Although Penn limited Princeton’s three-point game to 2-11 (18.2%), Llewellyn (18 points), and Schwieger (27), both dropped double-digit numbers. If Schwieger replicates his success on Friday, Penn will have a hard time walking away with the win.
Penn’s perimeter shooters will need to find a rhythm and cannot go cold from beyond the arc. The Red & Blue rely heavily on the three-ball and averaged 10.6 made three-pointers per game going into the contest. However, Princeton was aware and did not let Penn get into a shooting rhythm. Penn must need to find their rhythm and need consistency from seniors Ryan Betley and Devon Goodman, as well as freshmen Jordan Dingle and Max Martz.