After trailing by four at halftime, Pennsylvania used a strong second half and efficient three-point shooting (10-19 for the game) to take down Cornell 79-71. The victory was just the Quakers’ third road win of the year as well as their third victory in its past four games, and moved them to .500 in Ivy League play. Freshman Tony Hicks scored a career-high 29 points, including shooting 5-6 from downtown, while Miles Cartwight had a strong all-around game with 15 points, 6 rebounds, and a season-high-tying 9 assists.
12:00 pm: Drexel (11-16, 7-8 CAA) @ Towson (15-13, 10-5 CAA)
Coming off its toughest loss of the season in a double-overtime defeat at Delaware, the Dragons travel to Towson to take on a surprising Tigers team that finds itself second in the conference following a 1-31 record last season. Much of the turnaround can be attributed to the arrival of Georgetown transfer Jerrelle Benimon, who leads the team in points (16.6), rebounds (11.3), and assists (2.6). Benimon posted an 18-16 double-double in the teams’ first meeting January 5th, a 69-66 Towson victory. Drexel could not hit the ocean from the beach in that game shooting 33.9% from the field and only sinking 20 of its 34 free throws (58.8%). Keeping Benimon under wraps and duplicating the effort from the first match-up in getting to the charity stripe (and hitting some more) will be the keys to a Dragons’ victory.
4:00 pm: St. Joseph’s (14-10. 5-6 Atlantic 10) vs. George Washington (12-12, 6-5 Atlantic 10)
The Hawks are back in action tonight after a full week off facing the Colonials in the teams’ only meeting of the season. George Washington bosts the 37th stingiest defense in the country and is a top 50 rebounding club. Junior Isaiah Armwood is the embodiment of that rugged style leading the Colonials in points (11.9), rebounds (8.7), and blocks (2.5). Despite its defensive acumen, the game will be a clash of tempos as GW ranks among the fastest 100 teams in terms of pace while St. Joe’s drops in at 296th. St. Joseph’s would prefer to slow the game down and work the clock against the Colonials’ defense for good shots. Currently tied for 10th place in the Atlantic 10, the Hawks cannot afford to drop a home game against a middle-of-the-pack conference foe if it wishes to avoid missing the Atlantic 10 tournament entirely.
6:00 pm: Villanova (17-10, 8-6 Big East) vs. Marquette (19-6, 10-3 Big East) – ESPN2
In their lone contest of the 2012-13 regular season, the immovable object will meet the unstoppable force as Villanova’s 38th-ranked defense will look to slow down Marquette’s top 20 offense. Amongst a crowded top of the Big East standings, Villanova finds itself only 2.5 games out of first and 1.5 games back of Louisville for 4th place and the coveted double-bye in the conference tournament. The Wildcats find themselves in that position having won 4 of their past 5 games and will look to notch another victory over a ranked opponent following big wins last month over Lousiville and Syracuse. These wins are the type that make a team impossible for the NCAA tournament selection committee to ignore.
7:00 pm: Pennsylvania (7-18, 4-4 Ivy) @ Columbia (10-13, 2-7 Ivy)
The Quakers are back in action again tonight against the Columbia Lions (you have to admire the Ivy League actually caring about the student portion of student-athlete and having conference games played Friday and Saturday, unlike nearly everyone else caring mainly about money). Pennsylvania already defeated Columbia earlier this month at home 62-58. Lions’ leading scorer Brian Barbour scored 21 points in that match-up but was topped by Miles Cartwright’s 22 points including 10-10 from the foul line. The Quakers as a team shot 26-29 from the charity stripe in that game which proved to be the difference in the outcome. If Pennsylvania duplicates that effort in attacking the basket and Tony Hicks continues to expand his game toward the end of his freshman season, the Quakers should travel back to Philadelphia victorious.