Penn (8-20) at Brown (12-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 8, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pizzitola Sports Center (2,800) -- Providence, Rhode Island. Television: None. Home Record: Penn 5-6, Brown 7-4. Away Record: Penn 3-11, Brown 5-10. Neutral Record: Penn 0-3, Brown 0-0. Conference Record: Penn 5-6. Brown 6-6. Series Record: Penn leads, 102-21.
GAME NOTES: The Brown Bears hope to continue their surge up the Ivy League standings on Friday night, as they welcome the Penn Quakers to the Pizzitola Sports Center.
Although Penn's season overall has been anything but impressive (8-20), it has won three of its last five games to inch closer to respectability in the Ivy League, as it currently sits at 5-6 in conference action. The Quakers put together a very impressive performance at home last Saturday to knock Harvard from the top of the standings, winning 75-72.
For much of the season, Brown (12-14) seemed like merely an afterthought in the Ivy League, but the team has ripped off three straight wins to pull even at 6-6 in conference, tying it with Yale for third place behind Princeton and Harvard. The Bears took down Columbia on the road in thrilling fashion last Saturday, 61-58.
Penn has beaten Brown in eight of the last nine matchups, including 71-48 in Philadelphia on Feb. 9, to improve its commanding lead in the all-time series to 102-21.
Penn managed to build a 12-point, halftime lead versus Harvard last time out, and while the Crimson made things close late, the Quakers never surrendered their advantage as they held on for the three-point victory. Not only did they shoot a lofty 51.9 percent from the field on the evening, but they outscored Harvard in the paint by a dominating 34-14 margin. Tony Hicks was spectacular in the triumph with 24 points, five assists and three steals, while Darien Nelson-Henry did most of his dirty work in the paint with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Henry Brooks and Miles Cartwright netted 12 points apiece. On the season, the Quakers have failed to impress at either end of the court, ranking in the lower half of the league in both scoring offense (62.8 ppg) and scoring defense (68.0 ppg). Cartwright leads the way with 13.6 ppg, but he does so on less than 38 percent field goal efficiency. Hicks nets 10.0 ppg, but he has been red-hot recently as that number has shot up to 23.8 over the last four games.
Brown's win streak appeared in jeopardy its last time out, as it was down by double-digits for much of the second half against Columbia, but it climbed all the way back, and with the game tied a 58-58 in the waning seconds, Tucker Halpern drilled the game-winning 3-pointer to give his squad the thrilling victory. Pacing the Bears, who shot 51.3 percent from the field on the evening, was Matt Sullivan with 17 points and six steals, while Sean McGonagill added 14 points and six rebounds to the winning effort. Brown has played strong defense this season, ranking third in the Ivy League in allowing just 64.1 ppg, but unfortunately it does not possess the offensive attack to properly support it, as it nets only 61.4 ppg. Sullivan (14.2 ppg) and McGonagill (13.6 ppg) are similar scorers, as both hover around 40 percent from the field and 34 percent from 3-point range. Arguably the Bears' biggest strength is in the paint, with Rafael Maia (10.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and Cedric Kuakumensah (7.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.4 bpg) able to out-muscle most of the competition.
Both teams are much improved in recent weeks, and this matchup will ultimately come down to whether or not Penn can knock down enough outside shots, because it certainly can't match up in the paint. In the end however, the home court advantage will feed the Bears, as they continue to climb the league standings.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Brown 65, Penn 60
03/08 10:34:55 ET