FACTS & STATS: Site: Bob Carpenter Center (5,000) -- Newark, Delaware. Television: None. Home Record: Penn 2-2, Delaware 1-1. Away Record: Penn 0-2, Delaware 1-5. Neutral Record: Penn 0-3, Delaware 1-2. Conference Record: Penn 0-0, Delaware 0-0. Series Record: Penn leads, 18-5.
GAME NOTES: Back in action for the first time in nearly two weeks, the Penn Quakers head to the First State where they will contend with the Delaware Blue Hens in non-conference play at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark on Friday.
The Quakers, who last played on Dec. 8 against Villanova, a matchup that resulted in a 68-55 setback, have won only two times in nine chances thus far. The squad has defeated UMBC and Binghamton, but with the loss to the Wildcats the squad has now dropped back-to-back decisions as well as all four of its matchups against programs from the Keystone State.
As for the Blue Hens, they've managed to post just three victories in 11 opportunities heading into this meeting. They too last played against Villanova, their meeting taking place on Sunday at The Pavilion, but the rest was the same as Delaware suffered the 75-65 loss. The setback was the second in a row and the seventh in eight tries for the group.
The relationship between these two squads goes back to 1911 when the Quakers captured a 31-14 win, on their way to an 18-5 advantage in the all-time series. The most recent meeting took place in early November when the teams clashed in the NIT Season Tip-Off in Charlottesville, Virginia where Delaware captured an 84-69 win.
In that meeting last month, Devon Saddler led the way for the Hens with 19 points and eight rebounds, but he was also guilty of eight turnovers, while Fran Dougherty and Miles Cartwright responded with 21 and 20 points, respectively, for the Quakers.
Even though they were hosting Villanova, the Quakers quickly took themselves out of contention as they shot just 23.5 percent from the floor in the first half, a mere 13-of-39 for the game which means they finished with more turnovers than made field goals. Thanks to a perfect 10-of-10 at the free- throw line, Miles Cartwright tallied a team-best 16 points, followed by Steve Rennard with 12 points. Due to foul trouble, Fran Dougherty was limited to just 19 minutes and a mere two points, yet he still paces the team overall in scoring with 15.4 ppg and is also tops on the rebounding list with 8.8 per game. A 51.9 percent shooter from the floor, Dougherty would probably be much better suited to stay close to the basket where he can do more damage rather than out on the perimeter where he has made just 5-of-22 (.227) attempts.
Shooting 52.2 percent from the field in the first half, the Blue Hens led by as many as four points early on against Villanova, but the team then went on to convert a mere 9-of-25 from the floor in the second half and that kept the visitors from putting together a successful comeback bid. Devon Saddler led four players in double figures with 19 points, followed by Jarvis Threatt with 15 and five assists off the bench, while Jamelle Hagins dropped in 12 points and cleared a team-best eight rebounds and Kyle Anderson responded with 10 points. Saddler, the team's leading scorer in four straight and eight of their 11 games overall, is putting up 20.5 ppg thanks to his 22-of-60 effort behind the 3-point line. Hagins (12.7 ppg), the only other double-digit scorer, is one of the nation's top rebounders with 12.1 ppg, but still that hasn't equated to success in the early going.
With revenge as a motivating factor and this time having the hometown crowd on their side, expect the Blue Hens to rise to the challenge and take down a disappointing Penn group.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Delaware 68, Penn 59
12/21 10:31:40 ET
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