Three takeaways from Penn men’s strong performance in home win over Colgatete

Junior guard Clark Slajchert exploded for a career-high 33 points on 13-for-18 shooting Saturday at the Palestra, lifting Penn past Colgate. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Penn turned in its best performance of the season on Saturday, and it paid off in the form of its first win over an opponent in the KenPom top 100 since a February 2020 triumph over Yale.

The Quakers used elite scoring performances from guards Clark Slajchert and Jordan Dingle to earn an 81-69 win over Colgate at the Palestra. The contest marked an unhappy homecoming for Raiders head coach Matt Langel and assistant coaches Camryn Crocker and Trey Montgomery, all of whom had played or coached for Penn.

Colgate, which had beaten Syracuse on the road by 12 earlier in the season, entered Saturday ranked 98th in KenPom.

Now 4-4, the Quakers have won three straight contests.

What can Penn fans take away from a particularly satisfying win?

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Three takeaways from Penn men’s overtime win at Lafayette

Penn junior guard Jordan Dingle gave his team a pivotal lift early in the extra frame of the Quakers’ 74-68 win in overtime at Lafayette Tuesday. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Penn needed to work overtime to pick up its second win of the season on Tuesday, downing Lafayette 74-68 after an extra five-minute frame.

The end result was probably far closer than the Quakers (2-4) would have liked. Penn had a 10-point lead with five minutes left to play but stalled out on offense at the worst possible time, letting Mike Jordan’s Leopards (1-5) back into the game as the former Penn Ivy Player of the Year sought his first home win as their new coach.

Once in overtime, Jordan Dingle took over for Penn. The junior guard swiped the ball from Lafayette’s CJ Fulton in the first possession of overtime for a breakaway layup, and the Quakers never looked back.

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Takeaways after Penn men notch first win of season at Drexel

Senior swingman Lucas Monroe snared 11 rebounds at Drexel Tuesday night, 10 of them on the defensive end. Defensive boards and turnovers sprang a strong transition game for Penn in a 64-59 win over their 33rd Street neighbors. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

After an 0-3 start, Penn is off the schneid.

The Quakers used a solid defensive performance to build a 15-point lead over Drexel early in the second half, and after wobbling a bit, made enough plays down the stretch to seal a 64-59 win over their next-door neighbors Tuesday night.

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What we learned about Penn men in 92-85 defeat at Missouri

Penn junior guard Clark Slajchert’s aggression paid off at Missouri Friday night, propelling him to a team-high 21 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the field and 55% of the Quakers’ free-throw points and attempts. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Playing on the road against an SEC opponent for the third consecutive season, Penn went toe-to-toe with Missouri on Friday night at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, but ultimately fell short, 92-85.

The game’s defining sequence came with 5:49 to go in the second half and the Tigers up one, 70-69. Missouri’s best forward, Kobe Brown, got the ball at the left of the free throw circle and unsuccessfully attempted to back down Penn center Max Lorca-Lloyd.

As three Quakers surrounded Brown, the Tigers senior stumbled backwards in the lane. Instead of calling Brown for a travel, the officials signaled for a held ball with the possession arrow favoring Missouri.

The Tigers took advantage of the break, as Nick Honor hit a killer pull-up three-pointer over George Smith in the dying seconds of the shot clock to extend the Missouri lead to four. Penn would get no closer than four points down for the rest of the night.

What did we learn about the Quakers in a solid showing against an opponent ranked 50th in KenPom heading into the game?

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Questions for Penn men after season-opening blowout loss at Iona

Junior guard Jordan Dingle was an All-Ivy first-team unanimous selection and Big 5 scoring champion last season, so his scoring prowess isn’t in question. But Dingle and his teammates must improve significantly on their Monday night shooting performance and shooting struggles from last season’s Ivy slate if Penn is to make its Ivy Preseason Media Poll championship projection a reality. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Penn’s Monday night season opener at Iona, the preseason favorite to win the MAAC, was a generally miserable affair after the under-eight media timeout of the first half. The Gaels used a 36-4 run which spanned the end of the first half and beginning of the second half to put the Quakers away and turn the final 12-plus minutes of the game into garbage time.

Things won’t get easier this week for Penn. The Quakers will be double-digit (potentially 15-point-plus) underdogs when they travel to Columbia, Mo. to face Missouri on Friday. They’ll likely be underdogs at home on Sunday against Towson, the preseason favorite to win the CAA and a potential No. 12 seed when March rolls around.

Here are some questions Penn will need to answer as it navigates a difficult first week of the season (and beyond):

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Reason for hope: A look ahead to 2022-23 for Penn men’s basketball

Penn men’s basketball is set to return nearly every significant rotation player from this season in 2022-23, led by Jordan Dingle.  (photo by Erica Denhoff)

I spent the first few minutes after Penn’s 67-61 loss to Yale in the Ivy Madness semifinals at Lavietes Pavilion mourning.

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No. 16 Penn vs. No. 1 Kansas: Keys to making history

My range of emotions on Sunday swung from unadulterated joy as I rushed the Palestra floor to celebrate Penn’s 68-65 win over Harvard to mouth-agape shock as I stood in the back of Houston Hall at Penn’s selection show watch party and saw the Quakers on the 16 line against Kansas.

As fellow IHO contributor Steven Tydings and I rode the bus home to New York, I started to think of a plan for the Quakers to do the impossible and topple a No. 1 seed for the first time in men’s NCAA Tournament history.

The basic points of that plan, some of which you’ve probably already heard, are below:

Penn will win if …

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Princeton pulls away from Columbia, 64-45

NEW YORK — For about 20 minutes Friday night, Princeton and Columbia played hideous, inefficient basketball. The two teams combined to shoot 34.6 percent in the first half (18-for-52). It was the only way the Lions could pull off the upset win they needed to revive their flagging Ivy tournament hopes.

Needless to say, rock fights against Princeton don’t stay that way for very long. The Tigers (18-6, 11-0 Ivy) hit eight three-pointers in the second half after only making two in the first and ran the Lions (10-14, 4-7) out of their own gym, 64-45.

“Devin [Cannady] made some shots. I thought we found him in the corners,” Princeton coach Mitch Henderson said. “We did a good job screening against the zone. I just think the second half of a game, you get a little bit more comfortable with the gym.”

Princeton plays at a glacially slow place and averaged 18.7 seconds per possession heading into Friday, 44th longest out of the 351 Division I teams. Minimizing the total number of possessions in a game is the Tigers’ modus operandi and it did the Lions in once their offense got into a rhythm.

“If the game is that slow, it lends into the way they want to play,” Columbia coach Jim Engles said. “They came out, made a couple of threes and got some separation from us and then it was hard for us to get anything going offensively.”

Princeton shot 48 percent in the second half while holding Columbia to a 32.1 field goal percentage.

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Jim Engles stresses continuity in his introduction as Columbia’s new head coach

 

Photo from byianwenik
Columbia Athletic Director Peter Pilling (left) and Jim Engles share responsibility for the future of Columbia basketball now, in addition to an actual basketball. (Ian Wenik)

NEW YORK — Jim Engles is a unicorn amongst college coaches.

He’s not much of a screamer during games.

He’s never too up or too down in press conferences (just watch the presser after the biggest win of his career, NJIT’s 72-70 win over Michigan in 2014, for proof).

Rarest of all, Engles has never had to move out of the tri-state area during his career, enabling his children to grow up in one home.

That kind of stability is what the Columbia basketball program desperately needs as it enters a period of tremendous transition. Maodo Lo, Alex Rosenberg, Grant Mullins and Isaac Cohen will all be gone, which means that Engles will be forced to replace roughly half of the team’s regular rotation (and its best player) right out of the gate. Oh, and there’s that newfangled conference tournament thing starting next year, too.

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Kyle Smith’s departure from Columbia puts Ivy League at a crossroads

The only thing surprising about the news was its timing: hours before Columbia was set to host UC Irvine in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament final, a report that coach Kyle Smith would accept the same position at the University of San Francisco as soon as Thursday emerged from TV station KPIX.

Smith’s departure, confirmed with an announcement from USF Tuesday, has been a topic of discussion for years, more so now after he coached the Lions this year to what is one of their best seasons ever — a school-record 25 wins, plus the first postseason championship banner of any kind in Levien Gym. Add in the fact that three head coaching jobs opened up in the West Coast Conference this year — where Smith spent almost a decade as an assistant at Saint Mary’s — and the concept became more “probability” than “possibility.”

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