NCAA

Instant Replay: Penn beats Harvard to clinch berth in Ivy League Tournament

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Penn Athletics

Instant Replay: Penn beats Harvard to clinch berth in Ivy League Tournament

BOX SCORE

A night after suffering one of the most disappointing results in program history, the University of Pennsylvania rebounded with its most consequential win in at least five years in an unbelievably dramatic finish.

Sophomore Jackson Donahue drained a three-pointer with 6.3 seconds left to clinch the Quakers a spot in the inaugural four-team Ivy League Tournament with a 75-72 upset win over Harvard at the Palestra, shaking off a 76-74 loss to 7-20 Dartmouth. The tournament will be held on Penn's home floor next Saturday with the Red and Blue facing rival Princeton.

Penn had the ball with the game tied at 72 after an incredible second half. Freshman Devon Goodman came off a screen and dished it to Donahue, who hit the most important shot for Penn in years.

It was clear from the opening tip which team was more desperate. Penn raced out to a 19-11 lead thanks to 11 early points from senior Matt Howard, fittingly on Senior Night. The Crimson responded by locking the Quakers down defensively, holding them to just 36 percent shooting before the break and taking a 35-31 lead into halftime.

After halftime, the Quakers came out hot with a 10-2 run but were soon locked in a back-and-forth affair. Harvard got back the lead and stretched it to as many as six thanks in large part to center Zena Edosomwan's efforts in the post. The senior threw down some thunderous dunks and finished with 15 points.

But Penn would not falter with its season on the line. Down 57-51 with 8:22 to go, the Quakers threw the Palestra into a frenzy with a 14-4 run behind Howard and freshman center A.J. Brodeur. Harvard senior Siyani Chambers continued to help match Penn shot for shot.

Bryce Aiken drained two free throws to tie the game, leading to Donahue's shot. The three was Donahue's only make of the game.

Howard finished with a game-high 24 points while Brodeur had 15 points. Freshman Ryan Betley had 10 as well.

With the win, Penn improves to 13-14 (6-8 Ivy) and finishes in fourth place in the conference. Harvard finishes second with an 18-8 (10-3) record. Despite little to play for other than pride, the Crimson played with passion and were clearly intent on denying the Quakers a tournament bid. 

Scoreboard watching
Before Penn even got to halftime, Cornell had defeated Brown, 92-78, and Princeton obliterated Dartmouth, 85-48. Thanks to these results, a Penn win was all the Quakers needed to make the Ivy League Tournament over Columbia based on the tiebreakers. Columbia lost to Yale later Saturday, making the tiebreakers meaningless.

On the women's side
Penn women's basketball defeated Harvard in Cambridge, 64-46, to clinch its second straight Ivy League regular season title. 

All-time series
Penn holds a 131-41 lead in its meetings with Harvard. However, the Crimson have won 14 of the last 19, including six of the last eight.

Up next
Penn and Harvard both return to the Palestra next Saturday for the Ivy League Tournament. No. 4 Penn will face No. 1 Princeton, which defeated the Quakers twice this season while No. 2 Harvard squares off with No. 3 Yale, which lost both meetings with the Crimson. 

The winners of both games face in Sunday's tournament final.

Saint Joseph's comeback bid comes up short vs. Florida

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Saint Joseph's comeback bid comes up short vs. Florida

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Keyontae Johnson saw Florida’s big lead shrink to almost nothing in the final minute. He made sure his teammates didn’t let this one get away from the Gators.

Johnson had a career-high 22 points to lead the Gators to a 70-62 victory over Saint Joseph’s at the Charleston Classic, playing without ejected leading scorer Kerry Blackshear Jr. on Thursday. Not that it came easily as Florida (3-2) saw its 18-point lead cut to 64-62 in the final minute.

“We just communicated, told everyone to stay together,” Johnson said. “We stayed locked in.”

The focus proved the difference as Florida hit six foul shots down the stretch while Saint Joseph’s missed two shots and committed a pair of turnovers.

“Down the stretch, I thought we showed a tremendous toughness,” Florida coach Mike White said.

The Gators needed it with Blackshear missing almost all of the game. He played three minutes in the first half after picking up two fouls. Then he was thrown out when he was battling underneath and his elbow looked like it hit Saint Joseph’s guard Taylor Funk. Blackshear, who came in averaging 14 points and 12 boards, was called for a flagrant two foul and sent off the court.

Blackshear’s departure seemed to energize the Hawks (2-3), who trailed 43-27 when the Florida star left the court. That’s when St. Joseph’s went on a 29-16 spurt to cut it to three points on Funk’s basket with six minutes left.

But Johnson followed with a basket and Andrew Nembhard made another to extend the lead.

St. Joseph’s had one last charge, slicing things to 64-62 on Ryan Daly’s layup in the final minute. The Hawks had several chances to tighten things, but could not. “We’re not going to go down easy,” Daly said.

Florida will take on Miami here Friday for a spot in the Charleston Classic finals.

The Hawks face Missouri State on Friday.

Johnson also had a game-high 12 rebounds. Nembhard added 16 points.

Florida took control quickly and appeared to make this a runaway as Noah Locke had two 3-pointers and Nembhard also hit one from behind the arc as the Gators went ahead 11-2 less than two minutes in and steadily built its lead.

St. Joseph’s had hit 34 first-half 3s combined its first four games. It made just one of its 14 long-range attempts this time as it fell behind.

Daly led the Hawks with 25 points.

Swider scores 26, No. 17 Villanova routs MTSU 98-69

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Swider scores 26, No. 17 Villanova routs MTSU 98-69

CONWAY, S.C. -- It’s been awhile since No. 17 Villanova shot this well from long range. Cole Swider has never scored like this.

Swider scored a career-high 26 points with six 3-pointers, and the Wildcats routed Middle Tennessee 98-69 on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Myrtle Beach Invitational.

Collin Gillespie added 16 points and hit four 3s, Justin Moore finished with 15 points and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 11 rebounds to help Villanova (3-1) - which never trailed, led by 35 and shot 57% while winning its second straight following a 25-point loss at No. 10 Ohio State.

And yet, another number in the box score caught coach Jay Wright’s eye - Swider’s seven rebounds.

“He’s more than just a shooter,” Wright said.

And the Wildcats have plenty of those. They made 18 3s - one shy of the school record, and their most since they also had 18 in a victory over Kansas at the 2018 Final Four.

“They have elite size with great shooters,” Middle Tennessee coach Nick McDevitt said, “and any short close-out or decent close-out results in three points.”

Eleven of them came during a first-half barrage that pushed the lead well into the 20s. Swider hit his fifth 3 from the corner shortly before the buzzer to put the Wildcats up 53-28 at halftime.

Saddiq Bey then took the lead to 30 with a 3-pointer two minutes into the second half.

Donovan Sims scored 18 points and C.J. Jones had 16 for the Blue Raiders (3-2). Leading scorer Antonio Green, averaging 23.5 points going into the game, finished with four points on 1-of-7 shooting while dealing with foul trouble.

“They’ve got a lot of interchangeable parts, so they were switching just to never let him see space,” McDevitt said.