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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 1, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lavietes Pavilion (2,195) -- Cambridge, Massachusetts. Television: NBCSN. Home Record: Penn 3-5, Harvard 7-0. Away Record: Penn 1-7, Harvard 5-3. Neutral Record: Penn 0-0, Harvard 4-0. Conference Record: Penn 1-1, Harvard 3-0. Series Record: Penn leads, 129-35.
GAME NOTES: Winners of 18 in a row at Lavietes Pavilion, the Harvard Crimson try to keep the good times rolling as they host the Penn Quakers for an Ivy League bash.
In the midst of a four-game homestand, the Crimson moved to 2-0 in league play on Friday night with an 82-76 win over Princeton. The victory was the third in the last four outings for a Harvard program that has dropped a total of just three games this season to the likes of Florida Atlantic, UConn and Colorado, all on the road.
As for the Quakers, they won their conference opener against the same Tigers three weeks ago by a score of 77-74 at The Palestra, but there have been just three other victories to go along with it. On Friday the team was in New Hampshire facing off against Dartmouth and came up short in a 67-58 final.
The relationship between these two members of the Ancient Eight dates back more than a century to 1903 when Harvard captured a 13-11 win. However, since that initial victory the Crimson have won just 34 more times, compared to a massive 129 wins for the Quakers. Last season the teams split their two matchups, with each winning on their home floor.
The first 20 minutes against the Big Green were working in favor of Penn as the visitors shot better than 57 percent from the field and at the same time limited the hosts to just six field goals. However, a seven-point halftime advantage quickly disappeared as Dartmouth made good on 55.6 percent from the floor, including 5-of-11 behind the 3-point line. In a game that featured seven ties and 11 lead changes, the Quakers followed Fran Dougherty who came up a rebound shy of a double-double with his 19 points, followed by Miles Cartwright and Steve Rennard with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Although he did not score in double figures versus Dartmouth, Tony Hicks is still the top overall scorer for the Quakers on the season with his 14.8 ppg. Not only that, Hicks is also first with 44 assists as well in an attempt to get others involved in the action. Dougherty, a 55.4 percent shooter from the floor, checks in with 12.3 ppg and is also the best rebounder Penn has to offer with 7.3 rpg, although Darien Nelson-Henry (11.6 ppg) isn't that far behind with his 6.7 rpg.
Princeton knocked down an impressive 50.9 percent from the floor against Harvard, but at the same time the Crimson converted 54.9 percent from the field and also outscored the Tigers at the free-throw line, 20-10, en route to the six-point win. Wesley Saunders accounted for 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, followed by Laurent Rivard and Kyle Casey with 18 and 11 points, respectively.
With one of the more solid starting lineups in the country, the Crimson have put together an attack that generates 73.3 ppg and then limits opponents to only 61.2 ppg at the other end. Saunders has a lot to do with the scoring advantage with his 15.5 ppg, shooting close to 50 percent from the floor, while Siyani Chambers checks in with another 11.3 ppg and Casey pitches in 10.4 ppg.
By no means is this the same Penn team that has dominated the all-time series with the Crimson. Having to hit the road and play barely 24 hours after dropping a very winnable game at Dartmouth will surely weigh on the minds of the Quakers as they try and compete with a strong Harvard squad.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Harvard 88, Penn 63
02/01 10:17:55 ET
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