FACTS & STATS: Site: The Palestra (8,722) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: NBCSN. Home Record: Harvard 11-1, Penn 4-6. Away Record: Harvard 6-7, Penn 3-11. Neutral Record: Harvard 0-0, Penn 0-3. Conference Record: Harvard 9-2, Penn 4-6. Series Record: Penn leads, 128-35.
GAME NOTES: For just the second time in program history, the Penn Quakers find themselves with 20 losses in a single season as they prepare for the arrival of the Harvard Crimson on Saturday night at The Palestra.
Last night, the Quakers hosted Dartmouth and were turned back in a 69-64 final, which means Penn has now dropped two straight and is sitting at 7-20 overall. Penn basketball dates back more than a century and only one other time has the program reached the 20-loss mark, that coming back in 2009-10 when it was a mere 6-22, winning just once in non-conference play.
As for Harvard, it was enjoying a four-game win streak and was comfortably in charge of the Ivy League standings with an 8-1 mark, but the team was taken down by Princeton on the road last night, 58-53.
As far as the all-time series is concerned, Penn still leads by a massive 128-35 margin, although the Crimson won the first matchup this season by a score of 73-54 at home a few weeks ago.
Harvard held the Tigers to only 37.3 percent shooting from the floor, including 1-of-10 behind the 3-point line last night, but at the same time the Crimson failed to make a single shot beyond the arc (0-of-8) and captured just two offensive rebounds in the five-point road loss. Steve Moundou-Missi came off the bench to generate a team-best 15 points and eight rebounds, followed by Wesley Saunders and Siyani Chambers who were responsible for 11 and 10 points, respectively.
In conference games, Harvard is shooting an impressive 50.7 percent from the floor en route to 70.5 ppg, which gives it a scoring advantage of almost six points per contest. Saunders has been doing much of the damage with his 17.3 ppg, connecting on 60.4 percent of his field goal chances while also accounting for 4.1 rpg and 3.9 apg in an effort to keep the Crimson at the top of the standings. Chambers comes in with 14.1 ppg and Moundou-Missi puts up another 11.3 ppg as he shoots an outstanding 66.7 percent from the floor.
The Quakers fell behind almost immediately last night, save for a brief two- point lead just over a minute in. The hosts tried to mount a comeback, making things interesting in the final minutes, but there was little chance of overcoming 18 turnovers and having cleared just four offensive rebounds. Although, having the hot hand once again was Tony Hicks who finished with 23 points, followed by Dau Jok with 14 in 16 minutes off the bench. Miles Cartwright responded with 11 points and five assists, and Henry Brooks chipped in 10 points in the setback.
The leading scorer in each of the last three games for the Quakers, Hicks is posting a team-best 14.7 ppg in league play for the squad, although his overall average is just 9.5 ppg due to his 38.3 percent shooting from the floor. Cartwright checks in with another 12.6 ppg in league action as the team generates just 61.9 ppg. Part of the problem for the slumping squad is that they've been playing much of this season without Fran Dougherty (13.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg) who has been out for almost all of the conference slate due to a dislocated elbow.
With three legitimate scoring threats on the roster, Harvard simply has too many weapons to pick from at the offensive end for a team like Penn to guard.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Harvard 72, Penn 56
03/02 11:12:57 ET
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