Penn fell dreadfully flat in its Ivy League opener on Saturday, losing to Princeton, 78-64, at the Palestra.
The Quakers (7-5, 0-1 Ivy League) looked unusually out of sorts on offense. They shot just 12-of-35 from the field in the first half, including 1-of-8 from three-point range. Princeton, meanwhile, shot 15-for-28, capped off by a Ryan Schwieger three at the halftime buzzer to give the Tigers (5-8, 1-0) a 39-27 lead.
If there was a reason for optimism in the second half, it was that Penn was getting its shots, but they weren’t falling. The Quakers shot just 2-for-14 beyond the arc after halftime against a Princeton three-point defense that entered the game ranked 342nd nationally (39.3%).
Meanwhile, Princeton’s offense kept rolling. The Tigers hit 10 of their first 16 shots in the half, capped off by Jose Morales’ shot clock-beating baseline jumper with 10:02 to play. Their lead stayed in double figures for the entire half.
Penn’s AJ Brodeur made 5 of his 16 field-goal attempts, including just 3 of his first 14. Ryan Betley fared even worse, shooting 3-for-11.
Devon Goodman was just 1-for-6 from three-point range, though he finished with 16 points. Freshman guard Jordan Dingle was the Quakers’ leading scorer with 21.
Princeton had three scorers in double figures: Ryan Schwieger (27), Richmond Aririguzoh (15) and Jaelin Llewellyn (18). Aririguzoh and Llewllyn also each had 14 rebounds.
“I just think we didn’t come out with that fire that is necessary, not only for the Ivy League, but especially for a Penn-Princeton matchup. They were tougher than us coming out of the gate, and we were just playing out of character, out of how I know that we’re able to play.” — Brodeur, on what was wrong with his team.
“There’s a lot of tactical things that I’ve got to look at. But more importantly I’ve got to get this group playing up to their capabilities.” — Penn coach Steve Donahue, on what has to change between now and the teams’ rematch at Jadwin Gym on Friday (5 p.m., ESPNU).
Even into the second half, it felt as though the game could turn if Penn would just start making shots. But the Quakers’ inability to do so raises questions about backup plans, especially when threes aren’t falling.
Sophomore guard Bryce Washington, who used to be one of Penn’s top perimeter threats, didn’t play. Last season, he averaged 20.9 minutes per game and shot 39.8 percent from three-point range. This season, he’s averaging just 11.3 minutes per game in nine appearances and shooting 25 percent from beyond the arc. Donahue said other players earned playing time over Washington.