LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. - With 6:51 left in Sunday’s men’s basketball game, the University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team looked like it might walk out of Rider’s Alumni Gymnasium with a solid win. That was when Julian Harrell hit the first of two free throws to make the score 80-67 in the Quakers’ favor.
At that point, Penn had scored a staggering 44 points in the first 13:09 of the period. The Quakers were 16-of-19 from the field in the half, a ridiculous 84.2 percentage. They had committed just one turnover the entire half, and moved the ball particularly well to find the open man. In other words, Penn was playing at the level that everyone -- coaches, players, fans -- had expected all season.
Harrell missed his second shot, and the proverbial other shoe dropped. Penn went 2-of-7 the rest of the way and committed four turnovers. In other words, the Quakers left the door open.
Rider took advantage.
The Broncs' Anthony Myles capped off a stunning comeback, hitting a three-point basket with 26.1 seconds left -- the Broncs’ 12th trey of the day -- and Rider overcame four missed free throws from Jimmie Taylor to hold off Penn, 89-88.
Penn -- which did not score in the game’s final 3:08 -- had two chances to regain the lead after Myles' basket. The first came immediately after the trey, when Miles Jackson-Cartwright flew down the court with the ball and looked like he might catch the Rider defense napping. Instead, his momentum forced him to go a little strong with his left-handed layup, and Taylor got the rebound and was fouled. He missed both, giving the Quakers a second chance.
This time, Penn came down and set up a play that got Fran Dougherty in a 1-on-1 situation on the right elbow. It was a good ploy -- Dougherty scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half, going 7-of-8 from the field. However, Rider's Daniel Stewart won this battle; he was able to get a hand in and poked the ball out of Dougherty's hands to Taylor. He was again fouled, this time with 1.4 seconds left. He missed his first, then purposely missed the second, and Rider (21 offensive rebounds) was able to punch the ball away before Penn could gain possession.
The Quakers showed a lot of life in the opening half, but Rider used a late run and took a 37-36 lead into the break.
Penn was down 10-4 early, but score five in a row and used that as the impetus to a 19-15 lead midway through the period. That lead bulged to as much as 32-20 with just under six minutes left, when Jackson-Cartwright drained his third three-pointer of the period.
Rider roared back after that, with the Broncs’ Kahlil Thomas putting the team on his back. He scored six straight points, was briefly interrupted by a pair of Anthony Myles free throws, but then knocked down a trey. In all, it was 11 straight Rider points and it brought the Broncs back within a point at 32-31.
Harrell found Dau Jok underneath to briefly stop the run, but only briefly. Tommy Pereira sandwiched a pair of treys around a Harrell bucket to give the Broncs their first lead since 15-14, closing out the scoring for the half.
Pereira hit another three to start the second half, but Penn scored the game’s next nine points (seven from Dougherty) to go up 45-40. Rider would not lead again until Myles’ winning trey.
Penn’s lead expanded to 10 points with 14 minutes left in the second half, on a Henry Brooks layup, and never went lower than seven points until Rider’s final charge.
Harrell led all scorers with 23 points, going 8-of-10 from the field and hitting all three of his three-point shots. Jackson-Cartwright had 20 points and dished out nine assists, tying a career high; all of his field goals came from beyond the arc, a career-high six of them. On a day when Penn was outrebounded 43-26, Jackson-Cartwright also led the Quakers with six boards.
For Rider, Stewart had a double-double with 18 points (11-of-13 at the foul line) and 10 rebounds, while Myles had 16, Thomas added 14, and Pereira knocked down 12 on four treys. Rider had a 28-11 advantage on second-chance points in the game, winning that stat 19-6 in the second half.
Penn returns to action on Thursday, when the Quakers face George Mason for the first time in program history. That game will take place in Fairfax, Va., and will be televised nationally on the NBC Sports Network.
Game Notes: Penn scored 88 points, a high in the Jerome Allen coaching era and the most in regulation since a 94-92 loss to Cornell on March 7, 2008 … Penn scored 52 points in the second half, tying its best second half in the Allen era (also Dec. 22, 2010 at Delaware) … Penn shot 59.6 from the field, its best performance since last year against Lafayette; amazingly, in the game last year the Quakers also shot 59.6 percent (31 of 52, as happened on Sunday), and they lost the game … At the other end, Rider became the ninth of Penn's 10th opponents this season to shoot below 45 percent from the field ... Penn knocked down 10 three-pointers, the most by the Quakers since they hit 10 in a win last year at Cornell … Penn shot 55.6 percent from behind the arc, a season high … Penn had two different players score at least 20 points (Julian Harrell 23, Miles Jackson-Cartwright 20); the last time that happened was Nov. 19, 2012 against Fordham … Harrell’s point total not only was a career high (previous high: 7), it nearly matched his total for the entire season prior to the game (31) … Harrell became the fifth different Penn player to score at least 21 points in a game this season … Harrell entered the game 2-of-11 on three-pointers, but went 3-of-3 beyond the arc on Sunday … Jackson-Cartwright, who played in his 100th game at Penn on Sunday, also tied a career high with nine assists (done twice before, most recently Feb. 22, 2013 at Cornell) … Jackson-Cartwright led Penn with six rebounds, a season high, becoming just the third different player to lead the team in that category in a game this season (Darien Nelson-Henry led in each of the first four games, while Fran Dougherty led in each of the last five) … All of Jackson-Cartwright’s field goals were three-pointers, a career-high six, the most by a Penn player since Tyler Bernardini hit eight vs. Marist on Dec. 23, 2011 … Dougherty scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half … Dougherty figured in all of Penn’s first 14 points of the second half, scoring nine of them and assisting on the other five … Senior Cameron Gunter set season highs in points (8), rebounds (5) and minutes (19) … Sophomore Jamal Lewis set a season high in points (7) … Junior Greg Louis set a career high with three blocked shots, and a season high in minutes (19) ... Jackson-Cartwright now has 1,202 points for his career which is 25th in Penn history; Dick Censits (1956-58) is 24th with 1,220 points, while Dave Wohl (1969-71) is 23rd with 1,226 points.