By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Penn Quakers will look to get back on the winning track on Friday night as they open up a home Ivy League weekend with a match-up against Harvard.
Penn is 6-15 this season (3-4 in the Ivy League) after suffering a couple of tough losses last weekend. The Quakers dropped decisions at Yale (69-54 on Friday) and at Brown (62-55 on Saturday).
“We just couldn’t finish the game,” Penn head coach Jerome Allen tells KYW Newsradio. “I thought for the most part, throughout the weekend, we defended the right way. Four minutes to go in the Yale game, it’s a 51-45 game, and late in the Brown game I think we had a 46-40 lead. So from that standpoint, we struggled to score, but we were still defending. Then in both games, coming down the stretch, we just let it get away from us. That’s unfortunate, because we’ve struggled on the road, but hopefully we can kind of turn it around come Friday night.”
The numbers support Allen’s words about his team’s defense. Despite getting swept, the Quakers held the Bulldogs and the Bears to 35.5% shooting from the field.
Harvard is having an outstanding season and they will bring a 20-4 record to the Palestra. The Crimson are tied with Yale for first in the Ancient 8 with a 7-1 league mark. They hammered the Quakers in their first meeting, taking an 80-50 decision back on February 1st.
“First and foremost, they defend,” Allen says of the Crimson. “And then, more importantly, I think their chemistry is just unmatched in the league. They play selfless basketball. Everybody they put on the floor accepts their role. They play for one another, they play together, they share the ball. And that’s hard to do in any team setting, to get everybody to buy in.”
Penn leads the all-time series between the two schools 129-36, but Harvard has won 9 of the last
“They’re playing well, they play the right way,” Allen says. “I’m confident, though, if we come with the right mindset and the right focus, we’ll be fine.”
After the Harvard match-up, the Quakers will welcome Dartmouth to the Palestra on Saturday night.
Both games this weekend will tip-off at 7:00pm.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.