Andrew Koob (@AndrewKoob)
The Quakers, with eight days in between games, finally snapped a five-game losing streak to bump their record 2-5 on the season. While the season is young and the losses outweigh the wins, Penn saw some positives in the 65-54 win against the Bearcats on Wednesday.
Three-pointers falling for the Quakers
Penn posted a season-high in three-pointers made, hitting 10-of-25 from long range (40 percent) against Binghamton, surpassing their previous mark of eight against Fordham in the NIT Season Tip-off. The Quakers shot 8-of-16 against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in the season-opener at the Palestra.
Junior guard Miles Cartwright knows that, with the Bearcats playing a 2-3 zone on Wednesday night, there were plenty of opportunities for the Quakers when it came to outside shots.
“We try not to rely on threes or outside shooting, we try to play inside-out,” Cartwright said. “When they went zone, we still tried to get the ball inside and we did get some open looks outside and I’m just happy they went in tonight.”
While Penn tries to not rely on the deep ball, there’s no question it had become a big part of the Quaker offense. The 25 shots from outside were a season-high for coach Jerome Allen’s squad, while they have only attempted a season-low 14 times twice (against Fairfield and Fordham). With the amount of time that guards play for Penn (124 of the 200 available minutes or 62 percent), it’s no surprise the Quakers rely as much as they do on three-pointers.
Jok getting opportunities off the bench
Besides an 18-minute appearance against Fordham in the NIT Season Tip Off, Quaker guard Dau Jok has seen very limited action on the court. Wednesday night was more of the same, as the Penn captain only saw the court for six minutes. Jok, despite seeing little time on the floor, had a big impact on the outcome, scoring a season-high eight points off of 3-of-3 shooting (2-of-2 from beyond the arc).
The junior, whose family resides in Des Moines after leaving South Sudan in 2003, knows everyone on the Quaker bench can step up on any given night and that, this time around, it was his turn.
“I think we had a great week of practice over Thanksgiving break,” Jok said. “Coach talks about it all the time, about being ready when your number is called and I think numbers 1 through 15, all of our guys go at it in a practice setting everyday. You get a chance to go through some of the scouting reports on the other team, familiarize yourself with everything in the scouting report. I think everyone’s ready to contribute every night.
“(Patrick Lucas-Perry), he’s had a game where he’s come ready to play (15 points, five steals and four rebounds in the season-opening win against UMBC), I thought Fran (Dougherty) rebounded well tonight (13 total rebounds). Collectively, we’re getting there, we still have a ways to go, but I think it’s coming together.”
In addition to the eight points, Jok also recorded a rebound and an assist on a night where he saw the second-most minutes in a game for him this season.
Clamping down on defense
As it turns out, Binghamton isn’t exactly a team of sharers.
After games that saw the Bearcats end with six assists on two separate occasions, The Bearcats were held to a season-low five assists against the Quakers, who additionally forced 18 Binghamton turnovers.
While the Quakers didn’t allow Binghamton to get the extra pass, Allen said he put more emphasis in practice on keeping their big players, mainly center Roland Brown and forward Taylor Johnston, out of the paint and forcing outside shots.
“Our overall emphasis was to keep those guys out of the paint and try to keep us out of rotations and close out to their shooters,” Allen said. “In the first half, I thought those guys pretty much got whatever they want, particularly with nine offensive rebounds and 12 second-chance points. In the second half, I thought we did a much better job of defending the basketball and keeping them out of the paint.”
Forcing Brown and Johnston out of the game was clearly effective, as the duo that averages a combined 16.4 points and 10.2 rebounds on the season only scored nine points on 3-of-7 shooting and seven rebounds combined.