By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Penn Quakers will face their toughest test of the season to date on Friday night as they visit an undefeated University of Iowa squad at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Penn sits at 1-2 on the young season. The Quakers have sandwiched a road win at Monmouth with home losses to Temple and Penn State. Head coach Jerome Allen breaks down what he has seen though three games.
“It’s promising, but we need a lot of work,” Allen tells KYW Newsradio. “I just think the biggest thing for us is that we have to just keep it basic and cover the details better than our adversary. But I think these guys have a bright future. We are positive as a staff and we still think that we will obtain our goals.”
The Quakers are being led by a couple of sophomores here in the early going. Guard Tony Hicks leads the team in scoring at 18.3 points a game. 6’11” Center Darien Nelson-Henry is right behind him in scoring, pouring in 18 points, while pulling down a team high 8.7 rebounds a contest.
“He’s been a pretty significant force for us in the middle,” Allen says of Nelson-Henry. “I’ve appreciated his attempt to just try and control what he can control and obviously the numbers don’t lie thus far. I hope he continues to play at that pace. But at the end of the day, I think his teammates have done an extremely good job of trusting him and finding him on the floor in pockets where he can score the ball for us.”
Iowa is 4-0 here in the early going, and last time out they beat Abilene-Christian, 103-41.
“What don’t they have?,” Allen says. “They are long, they’re athletic, they run, they play great defense, they bang the glass, they share the ball. They are playing pretty well right now. For us, it’s going to be a tall task, but we just have to minimize our mistakes and not get caught up in just the overall atmosphere of playing on the road and just keep it simple and stay within ourselves.”
Penn fans will notice a very familiar face on the Iowa bench as the Hawkeyes are coached by former Quaker Fran McCaffery. This is his fourth season as head man at Iowa.
Penn and Iowa will tip-off at 7:00pm on Friday night.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.