Three Quakeaways from Penn men’s critical 83-68 win over Harvard

Junior guard Jordan Dingle notched his third straight KenPom Game MVP award with a 27-point performance that included a 4-for-8 showing from three-point range in Penn’s win over Harvard at the Palestra Saturday. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

PHILADELPHIA — Penn men’s basketball picked up a potentially season-saving win in style on Saturday at the Palestra, dominating Harvard, 83-68.

The Quakers (11-11, 3-4 Ivy) never trailed en route to their third straight win over the Crimson (12-9, 3-4). They scored 1.19 points per possession, according to KenPom. That marked Penn’s most efficient offensive performance so far in Ivy play.

Junior Jordan Dingle once again dominated Harvard. With Crimson star Noah Kirkwood no longer around to defend Dingle, the guard established his shot early on with a quick eight points in the game’s first five minutes. Dingle finished with 27 points on the afternoon on 18 shots and earned his third straight ‘game MVP’ designation from KenPom.

Dingle’s excellence set the Quakers up to run perhaps their most aesthetically pleasing offensive game plan of the season, one of many happy Quakeaways on the day.

Read more

Three Quakeaways from Penn men’s loss at Yale

Junior guard Jordan Dingle’s 27 points, largely consisting of six three-pointers made on 11 attempts, weren’t enough to avoid a 70-63 defeat at Yale Saturday. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Penn squandered a golden opportunity to gain position in the race for Ivy Madness on Saturday after another brutal second-half offensive performance led to a 70-63 loss at Yale.

The Quakers (9-11, 2-4 Ivy) lost despite a 27-point performance from superstar Jordan Dingle in which the guard hit six three-pointers. After a nice hook shot from Penn sophomore forward Nick Spinoso tied the game at 49 coming out of the under-12 media timeout in the second half, the Red and Blue promptly committed turnovers on their next seven offensive possessions over nearly four minutes of game time.

Dingle, as great as he was on Saturday, committed turnovers on three of those trips, including an offensive foul.

Despite that brutal stretch, Penn still nabbed a 54-53 lead with roughly 5:50 remaining after guard George Smith hit an open three-pointer off an inside-out feed from center Max Lorca-Lloyd. But Yale (13-6, 3-3) immediately responded with a go-ahead jumper from junior guard August Mahoney.

Mahoney would later stick the dagger in the Red and Blue with roughly 90 seconds left. After Dingle hit a tough three to draw Penn within 62-60, Mahoney responded out of a Bulldogs timeout with an and-one finish over Spinoso which extended the Yale lead to five and effectively ended the game.

The Quakers lost a game which KenPom and Vegas expected them to lose. But the way they got there should leave fans with reason for both consternation and hope.

Read more

Three Quakeaways from Penn men’s 88-69 loss at Cornell

Penn men’s coach Steve Donahue couldn’t find a lineup that worked as Cornell pulled away with authority in the final 10 minutes of his team’s loss at Newman Arena Friday night. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Penn learned the hard way just how far Cornell and coach Brian Earl have come on Friday night, dropping an 88-69 decision to the Big Red in Ithaca, N.Y.

The Quakers were disrupted by Cornell’s uptempo offense and ultra-aggressive defense from the opening tip, even though they matched the Big Red for roughly 30 minutes.

The game flipped when Cornell delivered an emphatic counterpunch to a shot which Penn fans likely thought could have carried the team to victory. Junior guard Clark Slajchert hit a tough three from the left wing through contact to give the Quakers a 56-55 lead with 11:51 to play — and arguably should have had an opportunity for a four-point play.

No matter. On the very next possession, the Big Red’s Greg Dolan drove through the lane, hit a layup and drew a foul on Penn forward Max Martz in the process. The foul, Martz’s fourth, forced Penn coach Steve Donahue to pull the man who had been his most efficient player thus far from the game.

By the time Martz returned to the floor, it was too late. Cornell used the and-one to ignite a game-deciding 17-4 run.

As Quakers fans reflect on Friday’s contest, they’ll find themselves haunted by some ghosts from the team’s past, which are detailed below:

Read more

Three Quakeaways from Penn men’s 76-68 win at Brown

Junior guard Clark Slajchert exploded for 31 points on 11-for-18 shooting in Penn’s 76-68 win at Brown Monday evening. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Penn started off Ivy League play on the right foot Monday, gritting out a 76-68 road win over Brown in Providence.

After a sluggish offensive start, the Quakers (8-7, 1-0 Ivy) leaned on their elite backcourt duo of juniors Clark Slajchert and Jordan Dingle, who combined to score 51 points.

Dingle put the Bears (7-7, 0-1) to bed with about 80 seconds left after he collected a lob pass from forward Nick Spinoso through a triple team and finished through contact at the rim to push Penn’s lead to 70-63. Though Dingle didn’t convert his and-one free throw opportunity, the damage had been done.

Here are the biggest Quakeaways from Penn’s fourth consecutive victory over Brown:

Read more

Three Quakeaways from Penn men falling at Villanova

Penn coach Steve Donahue’s frontcourt rotation seems less clear after Penn’s loss at Villanova Wednesday night. Donahue is making do without sophomore guard George Smith (40) or junior guard Clark Slajchert. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Playing in front of a national TV audience on CBS Sports Network, Penn delivered a game, albeit losing, performance against Villanova in a 70-59 loss at the Finneran Pavilion on Wednesday night.

A 13-0 run gave Villanova a 10-point lead late in the first half it would not surrender. Despite the best efforts of guard Jordan Dingle — who scored 23 points in the second half and appeared generally unguardable — the Quakers (5-7) never cut their deficit any closer than six points in the second half.

It felt like there were numerous opportunities when the Quakers had a chance to truly make the Wildcats sweat. But Penn just couldn’t quite get the big shot or stop it needed.

Their last, best shot came with about five minutes left in the game. After Villanova’s Caleb Daniels split a pair of free throws, Dingle found senior guard Jonah Charles in the left corner for an open three-pointer in transition. Charles, a three-point specialist, couldn’t convert the look, which would have pulled Penn within five points. The Quakers never seriously threatened after.

It’s obvious that Penn desperately needs guard Clark Slajchert back. The junior, who averages more than 17 points per game, sat out his second consecutive contest with a knee injury. Penn coach Steve Donahue told the Daily Pennsylvanian that Slajchert has a bad bone bruise and is likely out until after Penn’s three-week finals break.

What could Penn fans take away from Wednesday’s tilt?

Read more

Three Quakeaways from Penn men’s overtime loss to Saint Joseph’s

Lucas Monroe was one of three Quakers to play 40 or more minutes for Penn in its 85-80 loss to Big 5 foe Saint Joseph’s at the Palestra Wednesday night. Monroe logged a team-high 43 minutes, posting 16 rebounds, seven points, three blocks and two steals. But it wasn’t enough to keep Penn from running out of gas down the stretch. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

It’s not often that a team manages to lose a game in which it goes on a 21-2 run, but Penn did just that on Wednesday night, dropping its Big 5 opener to Saint Joseph’s in overtime at the Palestra, 85-80.

The Quakers (5-5) dominated the Hawks for 25 minutes, but that simply wasn’t enough. Saint Joseph’s (3-3) clawed back from a 14-point second half deficit on the back of some ramped-up defensive intensity, using ball-side pressure to disrupt Penn’s dribble handoffs and passing. Couple that with some three-point shooting progression to the mean, and you have a recipe for a comeback.

Despite everything, Penn held leads with 77 seconds left in regulation, 1:55 left in overtime and 1:00 left in overtime. Even after giving up the lead for good, the Quakers had four possessions in the final 56 seconds of overtime with a chance to win or extend the game.

Three open looks from long range did not go down for Jonah Charles or Clark Slajchert, while a fourth chance was wiped away by a debatable charge call on sophomore swingman Eddie Holland III.

What did Penn fans learn from an excruciating defeat?

Read more

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.

Read more

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?

Read more

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):

Read more

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.

Read more