It couldn’t be much worse for the Penn men’s basketball team.
After an underwhelming 2-12 non-conference record, the Quakers came into Ivy League play looking to silence the critics. The potential was there, with guard Miles Cartwright and forward Fran Dougherty combining as the league’s highest scoring duo. But Penn couldn’t get it done, falling to Cornell and Yale at home as the team played itself out of contention.
The Quakers haven’t just lost conference games; now they have lost key players as well. Dougherty—the team’s second leading scorer with 13.8 points per game despite missing eight games with mononucleosis—went down against Cornell with a dislocated elbow. He will likely be out for the rest of the season.
Junior guard Steve Rennard didn’t last much longer, reportedly tearing his plantar fascia in practice last Monday in Penn’s second season-ending injury of the week. Although he has averaged only 4.2 points per game this season, Rennard has been the Quakers’ most efficient scorer in conference play, shooting 60 percent from the field—including 57 percent from the arc.
Last time out, Penn was able to overcome the absence of the two juniors against Brown, and the Quakers picked up their second conference win of the season on Saturday. Penn started slowly but gradually accumulated momentum on offense, taking the lead by the break and closing out the game with a convincing 71-48 victory.
The Quakers looked towards Cartwright to get it done, and he stepped up, putting up a career-high 28 points and adding seven rebounds. Penn’s defense held the Bears to 23 points in the second half.
As the Quakers look to adapt to the new starting lineup, it remains to be seen whether Cartwright can continue to carry the team. Penn will need another source of offensive production, and the team is looking towards freshman guard Tony Hicks—averaging 12 points per game in conference play. Hicks, who has started three of Penn’s five Ivy League games, was the only other scorer in double digits against Brown with 15 points.
For the next two weekends, the Quakers will be on the road—starting with a stop at Lavietes next Friday.