By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – With apologies to Barry Manilow, this is a huge weekend in New England for the Penn Quakers.
On Saturday night, the 15-11 (7-2 in the Ivy League) Quakers will visit Harvard (23-3 overall, 9-1 in the Ivy League) in a game that will go a long way toward determining who wins the Ancient 8 title. But in order for that game to stay as big as anticipated, the Quakers first have to take care of business in Hanover, New Hampshire against 5-21 Dartmouth on Friday night.
Penn head coach Jerome Allen keeps it simple when talking about the focus this weekend.
“I try to tell the kids that I’m 39 years old and (for) 39 years I’ve looked at a calendar and Friday always came before Saturday. That’s never going to change. So that has to be our mindset.”
The first game the Quakers played with Dartmouth this season should serve as a big argument for not overlooking the Big Green. Penn needed a last second three from Zack Rosen to pull out a 58-55 win at the Palestra on February 11th.
“I thought in spurts we showed we could play solid basketball (in that first game),” Allen says. “We got up 15 in the second half and we just stopped playing, stopped executing, stop defending. And when you do that at the Division I level, you’ll get beat.”
Listen to KYW’s Matt Leon’s interview with Jerome Allen:
Allen is pleased that as the Quakers head into the season’s final five games, they’re still in the running for that coveted Ivy League title.
“Our whole mindset is just trying to take it one game at a time and treat each game like it’s a championship game, as far as covering the details and giving maximum effort. I don’t know where that will put us at in the end, but I do know that if we stay focused and pay attention to detail . . we’ll have a shot.”
Harvard also has to take care of business on Friday night prior to the match-up with the Quakers and they should have their hands full. The Crimson will host Princeton, the only team to beat them in league play this season.
Penn and Dartmouth will tip-off at 7:00pm on Friday. The Penn/Harvard game on Saturday is also set for a 7:00 start.