FACTS & STATS: Site: Newman Arena (4,473) -- Ithaca, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Penn 4-5, Cornell 4-6. Away Record: Penn 2-10, Cornell 7-6. Neutral Record: Penn 0-3, Cornell 2-0. Conference Record: Penn 3-4, Cornell 5-3. Series Record: Penn leads, 145-74.
GAME NOTES: Both the Penn Quakers and the Cornell Big Red attempt to build off wins in their most recent outings, as the two squads meet at Newman Arena for an Ivy League clash on Friday night.
Penn's season as a whole hasn't been anything to brag about, as it sits with a disappointing 6-18 overall record. The Quakers have started to turn things around of late however, posting wins in two of their last three games to improve to 3-4 in the Ivy League, which includes a 67-57 victory at Dartmouth last Saturday.
Cornell has climbed up the Ivy League standings in recent weeks with wins in four of its last five games, including three straight. The Big Red went on the road last Saturday and took down Brown, 69-66, to move above .500 overall (13-12) and 5-3 in league play.
Penn has nearly doubled up Cornell during the all-time series, going 145-74. The Big Red have won eight of the last 11 meetings however, including a 71-69 decision in Philadelphia on Feb. 2.
The Quakers appeared to be in big trouble at the half last time out, trailing Dartmouth by 12 points, but they found their stroke after intermission, connecting on an astounding 76.2 percent of their field goals in the final 20 minutes to run past the Big Green for the 10-point win. Jamal Lewis provided a spark off the bench with 14 points on 5-of-6 from the field, Henry Brooks also scored 14 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting effort, and Miles Cartwright overcame seven turnovers by tallying 13 points, six assists and five rebounds. It's easy to see why Penn has struggled so much considering it scores nearly six points fewer (62.5) than it allows (68.0 ppg). Cartwright is the team's catalyst with 13.7 ppg and 3.6 apg, and he has been nearly automatic from the free-throw line (.858). With Fran Dougherty (13.8 ppg, 8.1 rpg) expected to miss the remainder of the season with a dislocated right elbow, the Quakers will need to rely on increased contributions from Darien Nelson-Henry (7.7 ppg), Tony Hicks (7.6 ppg) and Brooks (6.1 ppg).
The Big Red built a comfortable 11-point lead at intermission versus Brown last weekend, and while the Bears made them sweat in the final moments by bringing the game to within one possession, Cornell was able to hang on. It shot a modest 42.6 percent from the field and was outrebounded by a 41-31 margin, but the difference was made in the turnover battle where they coughed the ball up just nine time compared to 16 for Brown. Johnathan Gray made 4- of-9 from 3-point range on his way to 18 points, while Shonn Miller manned the trenches with 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Despite Cornell's recent run of success, it still sports a -2.0 scoring margin by pouring in 66.5 ppg and allowing 68.5 ppg, and it would also like to improve its margins in the rebounding (-1.1) and turnover (-0.5) battles. Shonn Miller tallies 10.9 ppg and 6.8 rpg and has also been one of the Ivy League's top defenders with 2.0 bpg and 1.9 spg. Gray is the top scoring threat out on the perimeter with 10.0 ppg.
Penn showed last week that it can win on the road, and Cornell hasn't exactly shined at Newman Arena (4-6), but with the Big Red riding a hot streak, they should be able to power past the shorthanded Quakers.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cornell 67, Penn 61