The University of Pennsylvania Quakers snapped a six-game losing streak against the Drexel Dragons yesterday, which dated back to the 2007-08 season, as junior Darnell Foreman provided a spark off the bench in the second half. The guard hit 4 of his 5 field goals after intermission, found teammates for high percentage shots in the paint and forced Drexel big man Rodney Williams into two decisive turnovers in the final three minutes of the game, to help the Quakers defeat the Dragons 75-67 in front of a crowd of 3,836 spectators at the Palestra.
Penn head coach Steve Donahue decided to switch things up after the Quakers returned from their holiday break by giving freshman Devon Goodman and Ryan Betley their first collegiate starts against the Dragons.
The inexperienced backcourt duo played together for two years on Team Philly before arriving at Penn, which gave them a sense of normalcy and continuity in an eclectic filled environment. Alongside freshman phenom AJ Brodeur and junior Caleb Wood, who both scored 9 points in the first half, Goodman and Betley combined for 9 points of their own, on three three-pointers, to help the Quakers take a 4-point lead into halftime.
Although the freshman paring began the second half on the floor together, coach Donahue sensed that Goodman, in particular, let the moment get the best of him.
“I sensed Dev's [Devon Goodman] tentativeness in the beginning of the second half,” said Donahue at his post-game press conference. “They scored and Dev was kind of back at Germantown Academy for a second, where he kind of looked up and walked over to the ball. That's not how we play. ”
As a result, Goodman was replaced by Foreman with less than four minutes off the game clock. The New Jersey native did not waste anytime making his presence known as he found co-captain Matt Howard for an easy lay-in off a pass from the top of the key and hit a three-pointer after a thirty-second timeout, which was called after sophomore Jackson Donahue caused a Drexel turnover.
The 6-foot-1 guard scored 10 of his season-high 12 points and dished out 2 assists in the second half.
“I thought Darnell [Foreman] was terrific in the second half tonight,” said coach Donahue. “He understands what we want. I sensed that he was the guy to go with on both sides. Guarding [Kurk] Lee, which I thought was a big part of the game and just getting us into the offense and running.”
While Foreman noticeably played well on the offensive end, it was arguably his contribution on defense that made the most difference. Foreman played a major role in holding Drexel's star freshman, Kurk Lee Jr., who came into the game averaging 15.3 points per game, 3.6 assists per game, and only 2.5 turnovers per game, while shooting 44% from the field and 41% from 3 in 31.5 minutes.
Lee scored just 9 points, his second single digit game of the season, after shooting 4-15 from the field and being forced into 6 turnovers (his highest total of the season). Foreman, who played 16 minutes in the second half, clearly disrupted the young guard with his experience and length, as Lee shot 1-7 from the field for just 3 points in the second half.
Foreman's ability to disrupt the Dragons was apparent the whole night and he capped it off with 21 seconds left, stealing the ball from Williams in a close 4-point game, leading to two free-throw makes by co-captain Matt MacDonald.
Coach Donahue said that Goodman has a chance to be a great player in this league and could possibly help the Quakers by playing thirty minutes in the next game but he sensed that Foreman, unlike Goodman, was locked in during yesterday's contest.
“I thought they [Goodman and Betley] did a good job in the first half,” said coach Donahue. “That's our dilemma, you want to put guys out there who can make [three-pointers] but you have to play both sides of the ball and when it came down to it, trying to win this game, my decisions were based off who were the best five guys on both sides of the ball.”
Photo: Ananya Chandra/The Daily Pennsylvanian