Weekly City 6 observations, Vol. 12

A rookie is chairman of the boards

If you saw Ed Croswell play for St. Joseph’s Prep, did it go like this? The ball went inside and whether Croswell was in a crowd or not, he grabbed it and managed an easy bucket. Next time, same thing. Ball coming off the rim? Same thing. There’s Croswell. His good hands obviously went with him to La Salle, since the freshman grabbed 16 rebounds Saturday, helping the Explorers to a win at Richmond.

Croswell is particularly adept at grabbing offensive rebounds. He had six Saturday, as many as Richmond’s whole team. Right now, Croswell leads the nation in offensive rebounding percentage, which is rebounds he gets as a percentage of those available.

That’s right, No. 1 in Division I.

A freshman.

Ed Croswell of La Salle dunking against George Washington on Jan. 16.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Ed Croswell of La Salle dunking against George Washington on Jan. 16.

Speaking of 16 rebounds

The most interesting thing about the career-high 16 rebounds for Villanova sophomore Jermaine Samuels on Sunday against Georgetown is that it kind of came out of nowhere. Samuels is a legit rebounder, but never in that kind of volume. His previous career high was eight, and since moving back into Villanova’s starting lineup, he’d been averaging 4.5 a game for five games.

Bottom line: If Samuels and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree can more or less share a position and combine for game-high rebounding numbers, you can tick off another box for the Wildcats.

Villanova's Jermaine Samuels reacting after a Georgetown foul during Sunday's win.
ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Villanova's Jermaine Samuels reacting after a Georgetown foul during Sunday's win.

Which Quakers are the real Quakers?

A valid question: How can Penn go 4-0 in the Big Five and be 1-3 in the Ivies? (Quakers had to scratch to avoid 0-4, which would have made for the strangest statistic in D-1 hoops). There is no one answer for that, since Penn lost twice to Princeton after losing offensive rhythm, which you could argue came from losing key players to injury. The Quakers got that rhythm back against Temple and St. Joseph’s, then lost Friday at Cornell -- you couldn’t see that coming, not Cornell scoring 80.

Penn fans were quick to point to a free-throw disparity. (In other words, Penn fans were quick to be fans.) But maybe Cornell earned extra foul shots by being the aggressor, while Penn took just over half its field-goal attempts from beyond the three-point stripe, 34 to 33, and hit at a lower percentage than Cornell, which took just 13.

Broken record department: Foul shooting hurt Penn again. The Quakers made just 5 of 12. The good news for the team housed at the Palestra: A 72-70 win at Columbia the next night was helped by 21-of-27 free-throw shooting. Funny how that works.

Boost from a new starter

Redshirt sophomore Lorenzo Edwards got his second straight start for St. Joseph’s on Saturday against Massachusetts and came through, scoring 14 points in 24 minutes, with no turnovers, for his most efficient game of the season. Sophomore Taylor Funk came off the bench and while he didn’t heat up against UMass, missing all five three-pointers he took, Funk had a game-high 12 rebounds, including four at the offensive end.

Lorenzo Edwards of St. Joseph's scores against UMass.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Lorenzo Edwards of St. Joseph's scores against UMass.

Share the ball

It’s working for Drexel. At least it did Saturday at Elon when the Dragons broke a two-game losing streak. Everyone who played double-digit minutes scored at least six points. While Elon was better shooting from inside the arc, Drexel was much better shooting threes and foul shots, securing the win. Drexel also allowed only five offensive rebounds, so Elon’s missed three-pointers were being converted by the home team.

Interesting Ken Pomeroy stat

Home-court advantages are tallied. Now, there isn’t much of a difference here between leading schools and so-so schools. But you probably won’t guess which local school has the best home-court advantage over its last 60 conference games.

If you went with the La Salle Explorers, pat yourself on the back. Again, there is very little difference from school to school. So no, we’re not taking back everything bad we’ve ever said about Tom Gola Arena. (There’s too much to take back.) Still, I could have had six guesses and been wrong. (Second? The St. Joe’s Hawks.)

Another little quiz

Name how many players in Division I have taken more free throws than Temple’s Shizz Alston and made a higher percentage.

Answer: Nobody.

Marquette scoring whiz Markus Howard has taken more and has the same 91.1 percentage. That’s the company Alston is keeping at the line.

Shizz Alston, top, of Temple and Jon Axel Gudmundsson of Davidson going after a loose ball during a December game.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Shizz Alston, top, of Temple and Jon Axel Gudmundsson of Davidson going after a loose ball during a December game.