By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It was a long time coming, but the Penn Quakers finally became the 11th Division I program to reach the 1,700 win plateau as they held off NJIT, 54-53, snapping an eight game losing streak.
The Quakers don’t have long to celebrate the achievement, however, as they get right back to work on Saturday afternoon, taking on those St. Joe’s Hawks at the Palestra in Big 5 action.
The win over the Highlanders represented Penn’s first victory since they beat Binghamton back on November 28th.
“It just felt good to get one for the guys,” Penn head coach Jerome Allen tells KYW Newsradio. “Especially with conference play coming up at the end of the month. For the most part I was pleased with their effort on the defensive end. I’d say for about 35 minutes, we probably defended the best we have all season.”
Listen to Matt Leon’s interview with Jerome Allen:
St. Joe’s also comes in fresh off a Thursday night game. The Hawks battled #22 Virginia Commonwealth start to finish, but eventually lost in overtime, 92-86, to fall to 9-6 on the season. Allen says they are a very talented group.
“They can hurt you in a number of ways,” Allen says. “I think all the guys, they play together. They really share the ball. (Junior forward CJ) Aiken’s a defensive problem and (junior forward Ronald) Roberts just rebounds the ball just as well as anybody in the country and then the guards, they just pick their spots. (Senior guard Carl) Jones, (junior guard Langston) Galloway can really shoot the ball. They can penetrate. For us it is a tall task, but I’m confident if we lock in for forty minutes, we’ll be just fine.”
Penn has won the last two match-ups in this rivalry.
The Quakers are 0-2 in Big 5 action this season while the Hawks are 0-1.
Penn and St. Joe’s will tip-off at the Palestra at 5:00pm on Saturday.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.