Fellow junior Darien Nelson-Henry also needs to play into a leadership role if the Quakers are to remain competitive this season. The big man never quite got going tonight though. Coach Jerome Allen knew going into this game that Delaware State would double the post, which they did quite effectively. DNH was swarmed every time he received a feed. The interior game was not Penn's strong point, but they made up for it with their guard play.
Tony Hicks shot 9-20 including 5 three-pointers, but just as noteworthy was the play of Penn's freshmen. Darnell Foreman started the game next to Hicks at the other guard slot and fellow freshman Antonio Woods came off the bench for Forman and chipped in with 11 total points, the second highest to Hicks.
The two played a combined 64 minutes. Neither of them shot the lights out, but it gives Penn options for their second guard role and hopefully the duo will push each other to improve throughout the season. Jerome Allen seems to think so and is optimistic about the young team.
"I like coaching this group, they want to be coached. They come ready to work every day and they want to hold themselves accountable."
Freshman Sam Jones had a nice showing as well. He certainly wasn't trigger shy, tossing up 9 three-pointers. He connected on two very early in the game and finished 3-11 with 8 points.
After going down 17-7 in the early stages of the game, Penn bounced back with a 16-3 run to take the lead 23-20. They held the Hornets in check for the entirety of the game after that and never trailed the entire second half.
After allowing Delaware State to tie it at 65, Penn had the last possession. Tony Hicks got some separation at the top of the arch in the final seconds, but his turnaround jumper did not connect.
Penn started overtime with a very small line-up. DNH was noticeably absent and the Quakers went down early due to poor defensive rebounding. Tony Hicks missed a 3-pointer with 4.8 seconds left, which led to Delaware State's DeAndre Haywood converting 2 free throws to ice the game. Hick did make a 3-pointer with less than a second left to make the final score 77-75, but it was too little too late.
Penn's turnover woes continued. The team's turnover margin was among the NCAA's highest with 16.1 per game last season. Tonight the Quakers turned it over 15 times compared to Delaware State's 10.
Penn dominated on the boards in the first half, 24-15, but slowed down in the second half, 16-21. Turnovers and rebounds are definite points of emphasis that can help turn close games like this in favor of Penn going forward. Jerome Allen remains calm and with a positive attitude concerning his team. I'm sure we'll see these numbers start to improve as players like Woods and Foreman grow more comfortable in their roles.
Penn returns to the Palestra on Tuesday evening to take on the Rider Broncs
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