By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With the Ivy League season half complete, the Penn Quakers find themselves right in the thick of the title race.  Penn is 5-2 in Ancient 8 action and that has them a game and a half behind the front running Harvard Crimson in the standings.

Penn head coach Jerome Allen is pretty pleased with his team’s standing as they prepare to make their second trip through the league.

“I think the position that we are in today, we all would love to be 7-0 at this point, but the position that we’ve put ourselves in today still allows us to play for an Ivy League championship.  And really that’s all I can ask for, is we control our own destiny.  Hopefully the guys will play better this half of the season and we’ll see where we fall.”

Listen to KYW’s Matt Leon interview Jerome Allen:

The Quakers start this second half of their Ivy League schedule tonight with a game against Cornell at the Palestra and then tomorrow night Columbia comes to town.

Cornell is 10-13 overall, but they are right on the Quakers heels in the Ivy League standings with a 5-3 mark.  Allen talks about what they bring to the table.

“I think they are a very deep team.  Those guys are buying into Coach (Bill) Courtney’s system.  They play hard, they run, they trap.  They get in transition, they shoot the three extremely well.”

Now one of Penn’s five Ivy League victories came against the Big Red in Ithaca, New York.  The Quakers grabbed a 64-52 decision back on January 14th.  Allen talks about what his team did well in that first match-up.

“I thought we put together a couple of stretches where defensively we guarded the ball pretty well.  We kept the guys out of the paint and we finished possessions.  It didn’t happen for a full 40 minutes, but I think we did just enough to kind of give ourselves a little cushion on the scoreboard and close the game out.”

Penn also won at Columbia that same weekend, 66-64 in New York.   The Lions visit Princeton tonight before coming to the Palestra on Saturday.  Columbia comes into tonight’s action 14-10 and 3-5 in the Ivy League.

Both tonight’s game against Cornell and tomorrow night’s contest with the Lions tip-off at 7:00pm.

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