When Penn and Princeton tip off, it’s almost always a close game 40 minutes later. Count Tuesday night as an exception.
Ivy League-leading Princeton blitzed Penn with a bevy of three-point shots and lockdown defense en route to a comfortable win over the Quakers, 64-49, at the Palestra Tuesday night. Princeton senior Spencer Weisz led the way with 22 points on 8 for 14 shooting, while Penn was paced by Darnell Foreman, who pumped in a team-high 11 points.
Sophomore guard Myles Stephens had 16 points on just six shots for Princeton, while junior Amir Bell had eight points and three assists off the bench. Penn's only other double-figure scorers were freshman A.J. Brodeur and junior Sam Jones, who each had 10 points.
With the win, the 13-6 Tigers swept the season series with the Quakers and remain the only team undefeated in the Ancient Eight at 6-0. Penn is mired in last place with its 7-12 record (0-6 Ivy).
Like the Atlanta Falcons found out on Sunday, you don't win games just with your offense. Princeton put Penn in a hole with an impressive defensive spurt in the first half, when it held Penn scoreless for over 7½ minutes. Princeton had multiple blocks in the stretch while even forcing a shot-clock violation.
Weisz took advantage on the other end with a couple of threes to move Princeton from down 10-9 to up 22-10.
The matchup between these two teams exactly one month earlier was highlighted by an ugly first half without nearly any assists. While there were 16 combined turnovers in the first half Tuesday, the ball movement on both sides was much crisper.
Princeton took a 39-27 lead at the half through its outside shooting and Penn's lack of makes from deep. The Tigers were 9 for 14 from three in the first half with four makes coming from Weisz, who had a game-high 14 points before the break. The Tigers held the Quakers to just two makes from beyond the arc before the break by effectively navigating screens and playing suffocating man-to-man defense.
Penn's sole advantage came inside, where it led the Tigers, 18-8, on points in the paint before the break. Sophomore Max Rothschild made all three of his baskets before the break, including two before the first media timeout.
Happy birthday, Palestra
The Cathedral of College Basketball officially celebrated its 90th year with the Tigers' trip to the arena. The first event at the Palestra came on Jan. 1, 1927, when Penn took down Yale, 26-15. To celebrate the occasion, student prices were rolled back to 55 cents, the price for students for that Yale game, while other tickets were sold for $19.27 to celebrate the year of the Palestra's opening.
This was the 236th meeting between the two programs. Penn leads the all-time series, 124-112. Princeton, however, has now won the last seven and 15 of the last 17 duels.
The Quakers' loss lessens the chances that they reach the first-ever Ivy League Tournament, held this March at the Palestra. The team would likely need to win out to have a chance at sneaking into the tournament, which includes the top four teams in the conference. Princeton's win means the Tigers are probably going to return to the Palestra for the tournament and increases their chances at the No. 1 seed.
Both Penn and Princeton host Columbia and Cornell this weekend, resuming Ivy doubleheaders.