Penn’s 66-59 loss at Dartmouth Friday night managed to cobble together the shortcomings jeopardizing a fourth Ivy League Tournament appearance for the Red & Blue in as many years.
- Lack of offensive firepower
AJ Brodeur has scored in double figures against Division I competition in 43 of the last 45 games. The two times Brodeur didn’t get to double figures were both of Penn’s matchups with Dartmouth, a credit to Chris Knight and the rest of an underrated Big Green (10-14, 3-6 Ivy) defense. But as Brodeur struggled amid a 4-for-16 shooting performance, his teammates didn’t do enough to pick up the load. Fellow senior Devon Goodman did his part with 17 points on 7-for-15 shooting, but the rest of the team shot a paltry 15-for-45 (33.3%) from the field. Kudos to first-year forward Lucas Monroe for registering a career scoring high against Division I competition with 12 points, six boards, a block and a steal in just 27 minutes, but losing Ryan Betley to injury at Columbia two weekends ago is hurting this team badly. Penn (13-9, 5-4) remains the worst three-point shooting Ivy in conference play, a particularly harmful showing given that Steve Donahue’s squad has the second-highest three-point attempt rate in league play.
- Getting beat inside
Yes, Penn does have the lowest two-point percentage allowed in Ivy play. But Penn’s interior defense struggled in the Ivy opening loss to Princeton, last Friday’s loss to Brown and this disappointment at Leede Arena, during which the Big Green outscored the Red & Blue 34-24 in the paint. Meanwhile, Penn scored just four second-chance points and continues to struggle with collecting offensive rebounds while allowing too many second-chance opportunities at the other end.
Don’t look now, but Dartmouth has won three straight and could make the Ivy League Tournament race even more interesting with a win over a Princeton squad that may again be without Ryan Schwieger Saturday night. The Big Green get Cornell and Columbia away from Hanover next weekend and are looking to do what Penn did in 2017: start Ivy play 0-6 and still make the Ivy tourney. It’s still highly unlikely, but if Dartmouth can keep getting offensive production from Trevon Ary-Turner like it did against Penn along with the consistent Aaryn Rai, it’ll have a good shot at staying in the race until the final weekend of the season.