Penn Quakers

Instant Replay: Penn falls to top-seeded Princeton in Ivy League Tournament

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Instant Replay: Penn falls to top-seeded Princeton in Ivy League Tournament

BOX SCORE

For the first 40 minutes of the game, the University of Pennsylvania never trailed. Yet, despite a 10-point lead and a chance to seal the game in the final minute, the Quakers fell victim to the chaos of March Madness. 

Princeton forced overtime with a thrilling comeback and narrowly topped Penn, rallying in a 72-64 win at the Palestra in the semifinal of the inaugural Ivy League Tournament.

Sophomore guard Myles Stephens tied the game on a putback layup with just 5.3 seconds left in regulation before handing the Tigers their first lead at the start of overtime. In overtime, Princeton scored the first nine points and stifled the Quakers, sealing the comeback.

Stephens led all scorers with 21 points while freshman Ryan Betley nearly led an upset victory with 18 points and 12 rebounds. 

No. 1 seed Princeton had to play a pseudo road game Saturday against the Quakers, who finished just 6-8 in conference play. It was apparent from the opening tip that the crowd was on Penn's side. 

In the early second half, Penn extended its lead to 10 points with just 16 minutes to go. From there on out, it was all Tigers. Amir Bell and Stephens led the thrilling comeback, needing just eight minutes to erase the deficit and tie the game at 49. 

From there, it was back and forth like a classic Penn-Princeton duel of previous decades. Tied at 57 with under a minute to go, Matt Howard drained a jumper to put Penn ahead. However, after a Princeton miss, Howard missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and Stephens' putback on Bell's miss tied the game and forced overtime.

Bell had 16 points off the bench while Cannady, who went just 1 for 8 from the field, was a perfect 10 for 10 from the free-throw line and had 12 points and 11 rebounds. Howard had 17 points while freshman A.J. Brodeur had a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards for the Quakers. 

With the win, Princeton moves to 22-6 while the Quakers finish the season at 13-15 with three losses to the Tigers. Princeton has now won eight straight games against Penn dating back to Jan. 11, 2014.

First half
The Quakers blitzed the Tigers from the start Saturday afternoon. They began the game on a 7-2 run and led for the entire first half. It was a shocking reversal from the two schools' prior meetings in which Penn led for a total of just 3:17 combined during two losses.

Betley was nearly unstoppable for Penn before the break. He made all five of his shots, including two threes, en route to 12 points while grabbing a game-high seven rebounds. Penn stretched its lead to as much as nine, 28-19, before junior guard Amir Bell led a Tigers run before halftime. By the half, Penn led by three, 33-30, while Bell had nine points on just three shots.

All-time series
This was the 237th meeting between the two programs. Penn leads the all-time series, 124-113. Princeton, however, has won 16 of the last 18 matchups.

Earlier in the day
In the first game of the tournament, Penn women's basketball overcame a challenge from Brown to win, 71-60. The Quakers will face either Harvard or Princeton in the final Sunday afternoon.

Box Score
• Penn shot just 8 for 27 from three-point range, including just 3 for 17 after halftime. Princeton wasn't much better, going 5 for 18 from deep.

• After eight first-half turnovers, Princeton coughed up the ball just one more time. 

• Penn outshot Princeton from the field, 40.6 to 37.5 percent.

Next up
By virtue of its win, Princeton advances to the Ivy League Tournament final Sunday at noon, also at the Palestra. The Tigers will play either Harvard or Yale.

Meanwhile, Penn's season is over with the defeat. The Quakers won six of their final nine games.

Penn's miracle upset bid implodes in second half

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Penn's miracle upset bid implodes in second half

BOX SCORE

WICHITA, Kan. — Devonte Graham kept driving to the rim, using his deft crossover and blinding first step to get past Penn's defenders, only to watch every shot he put up bounce out.

He turned to teammate Malik Newman and said, "Man, I'm just not finishing."

Newman's reply: "Keep being aggressive."

Graham evidently listened.

The Big 12 player of the year finally started to get his shots to go, igniting sluggish Kansas midway through the first half and finishing with 29 points, lifting the top-seeded Jayhawks to a tough, grind-it-out 76-60 victory over the Quakers in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

Lagerald Vick added 14 points for the Jayhawks (28-7), who trailed the Ivy League champs by 10 in the early stages Thursday before going on a 19-2 run late in the half to take control.

Graham, perhaps atoning for a dismal performance in last year's tournament loss to Oregon, also had six rebounds and six assists as the Jayhawks cruised into a second-round matchup with eighth-seeded Seton Hall — which beat North Carolina State — in the loaded Midwest Region.

"We didn't play well offensively the first half. We stunk," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "It's hard for us to play well offensively if we don't make shots because we don't have a big guy to throw it into right now. The way they defended us, we needed a guard to take it on himself to get downhill."

Graham stepped up to the task.

"He was just keeping everybody's heads right," Vick said. "He told us we weren't going to lose."

A.J. Brodeur had 14 points to lead the Quakers (24-9), but he was just 6 of 16 from the field and committed five turnovers. He was also 1 of 5 from the foul line, where Penn was 5 of 14 as a team.

"Give Kansas a ton of credit. Thought they played a terrific game," Penn coach Steve Donahue said. "It was a great basketball game for about 35 minutes. Then they finished us off."

The Jayhawks played most of the way without 7-footer Udoka Azubuike, who hurt a ligament in his left knee in practice last week. The sophomore center played three minutes, all in the first half, and struggled to move around while wearing a bulky brace on his leg.

Newman, the MVP of last week's Big 12 Tournament, and Svi Mykhailiuk scored 10 points apiece for Kansas, which won its 12th consecutive NCAA opener — and avoided some ignominious history.

Trying to succeed where 132 other No. 16 seeds had failed, the Quakers raced to a 21-11 lead with about 7 minutes left in the first half. They leaned on their stingy perimeter defense to limit the hot-shooting Jayhawks' 3-point barrage, and their pick-and-roll offense was humming.

It took the Big 12 player of the year to restore some order.

Graham picked the pocket of Caleb Wood on defense, trailed a fast-break play and was there to lay in Mykhailiuk's missed layup, trigging what would become a 19-2 run over the next six minutes.

Graham added back-to-back baskets at the rim, then knocked down a pair of 3s later in the run. He capped his 19-point first-half barrage by drawing a foul as the Quakers were attempted to give a foul away, then hitting all three foul shots.

That gave the Big 12 champions a 33-26 lead heading into the locker room.

Penn hung around until midway through the second half, when the bigger, stronger Jayhawks began to assert control. Their veteran backcourt did most of the work, slowly drawing away.

"Credit to Graham, he realized what was going on in the game. He has a great feel for the game," Penn's Darnell Foreman said. "Knowing he's a senior, he had to step up and force the tone and create and he did a great job of that."

More on Doke
Self said Azubuike could have played "five or six minutes," but he wasn't needed in the second half. The hope is to get him to 80 percent in practice Friday and play more regular minutes Saturday.

Big picture
Penn was one of the top 3-point defenders in the nation, and the Jayhawks missed eight of their first nine attempts. But Kansas still went 7 of 17 for the game, and each of those 3s seemed to come whenever Penn was threatening to make a run.

Kansas only got four points from its bench, a big concern going forward. The Jayhawks have used a short lineup all season, made even shorter by Azubuike's absence. But teams with little depth tend to wear down in the later rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

Up next
Penn is headed for the offseason while the Jayhawks, who made their first appearance in Wichita since 1992, will face Seton Hall on Saturday.

Penn makes it 2 Big 5 teams in the NCAA Tourney

Penn makes it 2 Big 5 teams in the NCAA Tourney

Darnell Foreman scored 19 points, AJ Brodeur had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Penn earned its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2007 with a 68-65 win over Harvard in the Ivy League Tournament title game Sunday.

Ryan Betley added 17 points for the Quakers (24-8), who will be making their 24th appearance in the NCAAs.

Senior Caleb Wood, a junior college transfer, drilled two straight 3-pointers, getting fouled on the second, to put Penn ahead 63-60 with 3:42 remaining. Betley followed with a 3-point play, before Harvard's Christian Juzang pulled the Crimson to 66-63 with a 3-pointer with 47.6 seconds to go.

Harvard trimmed Penn's lead to 66-65 on two Justin Bassey foul shots with 14.6 seconds left. But after Betley hit two free throws, Bassey and Juzang both missed potentially game-tying threes in the final seconds, and Penn fans stormed the court for a celebration a decade in the making.

Chris Lewis led Harvard (18-13) with 16 points, while Bassey had 15 and Seth Towns, the league's player of the year, finished with 13.

Harvard and Penn proved to be the top two teams in the Ivies this year after sharing the regular-season title with 12-2 conference records and then dominating Cornell and Yale, respectively, in Saturday's Ivy League Tournament semifinal games.

And after splitting their two regular-season meetings, both teams traded punches like heavyweight fighters in front of a packed crowd at the Palestra, Penn's home gym.

Fueled by a 16-0 run in which Penn was held scoreless for seven minutes, Harvard led 30-17 with five minutes left in the first half. That's when the Quakers turned things around, closing the first half on a 17-2 run capped by a Foreman 3-pointer right before the buzzer. Foreman, who sprinted right into the locker room as the Palestra crowd went wild, scored his 19 points all in the first half.

The Quakers continued to surge after the break, with sophomore standouts Brodeur and Betley combining to score the first 11 points of the first half to put the Quakers ahead 45-32 and complete a 28-2 run spanning halves.

Trailing by 10 midway through the second half, Harvard reeled off a 13-0 run to take a 58-55 lead, sparked by 3-point plays from Bassey and Juzang.

Once a staple of the NCAA Tournament, Penn went to the tourney seven times between 1999 and 2007 before falling on hard times, due in large part to the rise of Harvard.

Big picture
Harvard: Despite Sunday's result, the Crimson continue to be the class of the Ivies with Tommy Amaker at the helm, having won six Ivy League championships since 2011 with NCAA Tournament wins in 2013 and 2014.

Penn: The Quakers have made a speedy turnaround under third-year coach Steve Donahue. And with only two key players graduating and several underclassmen returning from injury, they should be poised to remain at the top of the Ivies next season and beyond.

Up next
Harvard receives an automatic berth in the NIT by virtue of its top seed in the Ivies.

Penn is headed to the NCAA Tournament.