First road Ivy weekend takes Penn to Columbia, Cornell

Matt Leon
February 05, 2020 - 12:10 pm
Penn senior AJ Brodeur leads the Quakers in scoring, rebounding, assists and blocks.

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Penn Quakers will spend the weekend in the Empire State as they play their first Ivy League road weekend of the season.

On Friday night, the Quakers will visit Columbia. And then on Saturday, it's a battle with Cornell.

Penn has won three in a row. They are coming off a sweep of their first Ivy League weekend at the Palestra. They followed a wild, 75-72 overtime win over Harvard on Friday with a 54-46 victory over Dartmouth on Saturday.

"I thought we defended really well through the last three games, Temple and then this (past) weekend," Penn head coach Steve Donahue told KYW Newsradio. "Really made it difficult to get to the rim and still guarded the three-point line well. And I thought we played good offense. Kind of ran out of gas late Saturday, I think the back-to-back probably took its toll at that point."

Penn now stands 10-7 in the season, and they are 2-2 in the Ivy League. Donahue says these road Ivy weekends really are a challenge.

"It's way different," he said. "Play a game, get on a four- to five-hour bus ride, got to get up the next day and scout another team and get to learn another team. It's a new experience for the young guys. For the older guys, I hope this opening weekend (at home) enabled them to kind of send a message to the young guys what this is all about. No other league in the country like it, and it takes a lot of mental toughness for sure."

The Quakers on Friday will face a Columbia team that is 6-14 and 1-3 in the Ancient 8. The Lions have lost their last three games, but they feature a dynamic scorer in senior guard Mike Smith who leads the Ivy League in scoring (20.6 ppg) and assists (4.8 apg). 

"Coming back from an injury, if anything, he hasn't lost anything," Donahue said of Smith, who missed all but eight games last season with a torn meniscus. "It looks like he's as explosive as ever. There's so many different ways he scores. He's a great stand-still (shooter), catch and shoot, takes it to the hole, gets fouled, leads our league in assists. There's a lot of things that you've got to guard against."

Penn and Columbia split two meetings last season.

On Saturday night, Penn will visit a Cornell team that heads into the weekend 4-13 overall and 1-3 in the Ivy League. Prior to Penn's visit, the Big Red will host Princeton on Friday night.

Last season, Penn split its two meetings with Cornell.

Friday night's game in New York City tips off at 7 p.m. The Saturday game with Cornell is a 6 p.m. tipoff.

Follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.