Harvard (20-4) at Penn (6-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, February 21, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Palestra (8,722) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: None. Home Record: Harvard 9-1, Penn 5-5. Away Record: Harvard 7-3, Penn 1-10. Neutral Record: Harvard 4-0, Penn 0-0. Conference Record: Harvard 7-1, Penn 3-4. Series Record: Penn leads, 129-36.
GAME NOTES: The Harvard Crimson will attempt to continue their reign atop the Ivy League standings on Friday night, as their four-game road trip continues against the Penn Quakers at The Palestra.
Harvard's season has been outstanding from the very start, as it owns a 20-4 overall record and is tied with Yale for first place in the league (7-1) after dropping its only league matchup to the Bulldogs on Feb. 8. The Crimson have won two straight since that defeat, most recently making easy work of Cornell last Saturday, 67-44.
Although Penn has found more success in the Ivy League (3-4) than it has on the season as a whole (6-15), it has been on the down-slope of late with back- to-back losses at Yale (69-54) and Brown (62-55) last weekend. The Quakers are 5-5 at The Palestra this season, which includes wins in three straight.
In the first meeting this season, Harvard dismissed the Quakers at home on Feb. 1, 80-50. The Crimson have won nine of the past 12 matchups, but the Quakers still have a firm 129-36 handle on the all-time series.
The Crimson opened up a double-digit lead at Cornell in their most recent game and cruised from their en route to the easy 23-point victory. They shot an outstanding 58.7 percent from the field, including 8-of-17 from 3-point range, while forcing the Big Red into just 36.2 percent shooting and 16 turnovers. Brandyn Curry came off the bench to tally 14 points and five steals, Laurent Rivard poured in 12 points and Wesley Saunders and Steve Moundou-Missi netted 11 and 10 points, respectively.
On the season, Harvard has displayed excellence on both ends of the floor, shooting 45.8 percent from the field for 72.8 ppg while allowing just 60.8 ppg on 41.1 percent shooting. Saunders is the spark plug and is one of the league's most well-rounded players, boasting 14.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.9 apg, 2.0 spg and 1.0 bpg. Siyani Chambers brings 11.0 ppg and 4.3 apg to the table, while Kyle Casey (10.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg), Rivard (9.0 ppg), Moundou-Missi (9.5 ppg) and Curry (9.0 ppg, 3.1 apg) round out the deep squad.
The Quakers were in control for the majority of their latest contest, as they led Brown by six with under 10 minutes to play in the second half, but they unraveled down the stretch and ultimately fell on the wrong end of the seven- point final. They outshot Brown from the field, 47.1 percent to 36.2 percent, but they were a meager 1-of-13 from 3-point range and committed an unseemly 22 turnovers. Darien Nelson-Henry was stellar despite the setback, shooting 9- of-12 from the field for 20 points to go with seven rebounds and five blocks. Tony Hicks added 16 points and five assists and Fran Dougherty had nine points and eight rebounds.
Unlike Harvard, Penn has under-performed both offensively (69.3 ppg) and defensively (75.8 ppg) this season. Surprisingly, the squad shoots an impressive 45.2 percent from the field, but it gives up several possessions per game thanks to poor rebounding (-2.5) and turnover (-3.4) margins. Hicks leads the way with 15.5 ppg, while Dougherty (12.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg) and Nelson- Henry (11.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg) man the frontcourt and both shoot greater than 56 percent from the floor. Miles Cartwright rounds out the double-digit scorers with 11.0 ppg.
Penn might be able to hang tough with Harvard for a good portion of this contest defending its home floor, but in the end the Crimson's talent will prevail.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Harvard 75, Penn 68
02/21 10:31:40 ET