Michael Renahan (@Immikerenahan)
Miles Cartwright and Fran Dougherty disappeared in Penn’s loss to Penn State at the Bryce Jordan Center Saturday afternoon.
Cartwright (15.6 ppg, 3.4 apg) was limited to just four points on 2-of-11 shooting. The normal offensive threat was held in check against the Nittany Lions; he was not able to score until five minutes into the second half. Dougherty (18.6 ppg, 9.7 rpg) could not establish an inside presence against the Penn State (4-3) big men, especially in the first half. He finished with seven points on 3-of-8 shooting.
“To be quite honest with you, they didn’t do a great job of being who they are,” Penn Coach Jerome Allen Said. “In their defense, maybe I need to do a better job to put them in positions where they can be successful. Fran Dougherty might have missed five or six layups; I don’t think it was a function of their good defense, it was just his inability to finish.”
The Quakers (2-6) were led by guard Tony Hicks, who had 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting. Hicks helped lead a second-half comeback attempt with a hard drive down the lane, getting an easy lay-up and foul. Penn’s role players contributed good minutes and points, but with the disappearance of Dougherty and Cartwright, the effort was not enough to get a victory.
Jamal Lewis contributed 8 points on 3-of-4 shooting, while Patrick Lucas-Perry and Henry Brooks both contributed four points in the losing effort. Lewis, however, was ejected late in second half after he tackled a driving Jermaine Marshall to stop a breakaway dunk.
“I appreciate his effort to get back, I don’t think it was malicious,” Allen said. “I don’t think it was out of frustration; I just think he was trying to not give up a dunk or a lay-up.”
While Penn’s early press defense was successful generating turnovers and getting easy layups, the effort didn’t appear to be there after the first five minutes.
“We go into every game trying to make it about us, we have a certain standard as far as the brand of basketball we represent, the history, the legacy, the tradition, so it’s 15 guys you never know on any given night have an opportunity to contribute,” Allen said.
Penn’s defensive struggles allowed the Nittany Lions to shoot 45.2 percent on 19-42 shooting. The normally defensively sound Quakers couldn’t match the speed and energy Penn State brought possession after possession, especially in the second half.
Marshall, Brandon Taylor and D.J. Newbill each hit the double-figure mark against the Quakers, while only Hicks accomplished that feat against the Nittany Lions.
The Quakers got to the free throw line for just 10 attempts, converting on six, compared to the Nittany Lions’ 23 attempts. Penn also lost the turnover and rebound battles in the loss.
A team that relied on defense and solid three point shooting in a win against the Binghamton Bearcats on Wednesday night didn’t have the same energy on Saturday. They shot 21.7 percent on 5-of-23 shooting form beyond the arc.
“I need to do a better job of explaining our objective, knowing the details, trying to get these guys to cover the little things first and foremost and you know, it seemed to me, from my seat, every fifty-fifty ball they came up with, and that’ll catch up to you later on,” Allen said.
Although they never trailed by more than 13, the Quakers just did not seem to be focused on the game and getting back into it. Sloppy turnovers led to back to back easy Newbill dunks, killing Penn’s momentum to start the second half.
The Quakers fought back to bring it within four with just over six minutes left in the second half. Lewis converted on a hard drive, getting a lay-up, but the Nittany Lions responded with two quick lay-ups of their own to widen the gap.
The sloppy play from the first half carried over into the second half for the Quakers. After committing eight turnovers in the first half, Penn continued to struggle to pass the ball, committing another eight to help Penn State widen the gap.
Jerome Allen’s squad could not find their defensive presence all throughout the second half, giving up easy shots in the paint for the Nittany Lions. A Jon Graham lay-up over Dougherty with 5 minutes left gave the Nittany Lions a 10-point lead over the Quakers and they just could not catch back up.
The Quakers look to get back on the winning track taking against the Villanova Wildcats on December 8.