PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team made it interesting on Friday night at The Palestra, but the Quakers had enough left in the tank down the stretch as they knocked off Cornell, 90-83.
With the win, Penn improved to 2-2 in Ivy play, 5-13 overall. Cornell entered the night as the only NCAA Division I program in the country without a win over a Division I opponent -- its win came over Division 3 Oberlin College -- and that stayed true as the Big Red fell to 1-18 overall, 0-5 in Ivy play.
Penn's 90 points were a high in the Jerome Allen coaching era, and in fact were the most scored by the Quakers in a regulation game since a 94-92 loss to this same Cornell program back in the 2007-08 season.
Penn led Friday’s game by 18 points at halftime, and it was a 19-point game early in the second half. However, Cornell was able to get within single digits of the Quakers with 12 minutes still to play and was down by just five with more than eight minutes to play.
Penn did not let the Red get any closer than that, and used a 9-2 run over a 2:28 span that pushed the Quakers’ lead back up to 12, at 80-68, with four minutes to go. After that, it was up to the Red and Blue to hit their foul shots and they did, especially sophomore Tony Hicks who was 7-of-8 at the stripe in the final few minutes including 6-of-6 in the final 28 seconds.
The two teams were pretty much even with eight minutes still left in the first half, Penn’s lead a pedestrian 28-26, before the Quakers scored 11 straight to jump out by 13. Miles Jackson-Cartwright led the charge, starting it with a jumper and capping it with two more buckets on his way to 15 first-half points.
Cornell finally answered with a basket by Nolan Cressler, but then freshman Matt Howard (career-high 7 points, all in the first half) took charge with a personal five-point run that extended Penn’s lead to 44-28 with four minutes left before halftime. The lead was still 15 when Cornell threw a sloppy inbounds pass at the end of the period, which Jackson-Cartwright collected and hit a running three-pointer at the buzzer.
Hicks ended the game with 27 points, two shy of the total he put up against the Big Red last year in Ithaca. The sophomore guard was 9-of-13 from the field and also had a career-high seven assists. Senior Fran Dougherty had another strong game offensively, going 7-of-9 from the field for 17 points, and he also had 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double this season. His classmate, Jackson-Cartwright, had a hot start and finished the night with 19 points.
For Cornell, Cressler had 22 points, while Devin Cherry and Darryl Smith had 15 each. David Onuorah scored 11 points and pulled down nine boards for the Big Red.
Penn is back in action here at The Palestra on Saturday night, hosting Columbia at 7 p.m. The Lions defeated Princeton on Friday night and is 3-2 in league play coming into Philadelphia.
Game Notes: Penn scored 90 points in regulation for the first time since March 7, 2008 (a 94-92 loss to Cornell) … Penn’s 50-point first half was a high in the Jerome Allen coaching era and marked just the second time this season the Quakers scored at least 50 points in a half; the other came at Rider, when Penn had 52 second-half points … Penn’s 18-point halftime lead was its largest at the break this season … Penn shot 61.1 percent from the field, a team high this season … Penn won for the first time this season when its opponent shot better than 45 percent from the field (previously 0-4) as Cornell shot 46.0 percent … Penn also won the for the first time this season when allowing an opponent to score at least 80 points (previously 0-5) … Penn used its ninth different starting lineup this season … Sophomore Tony Hicks scored 27 points, his fourth game with 20 or more points this season (eighth at Penn) and 14th double-figure game this season (29th at Penn) … Hicks led Penn in scoring for the seventh time in the last eight games (six outright), he is averaging 17.5 ppg in those eight games … Hicks also had seven assists, a career high … Senior Miles Jackson-Cartwright scored 19 points, his 10th double-figure scoring game this season and 62nd at Penn … Jackson-Cartwright has scored in double figures in each of the last four games, averaging 16.3 ppg during that stretch … Senior Fran Dougherty recorded 17 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double this season and eighth at Penn … It was Dougherty’s 10th double-figure scoring game this season and 20th at Penn … Dougherty led Penn in rebounding for the 10th time this season … Dougherty has snared nine or more rebounds in 10 of Penn’s last 13 games … Dougherty also played a career-high 38 minutes … Senior Steve Rennard made his first start since Feb. 2, 2013 -- coincidentally, also at home against Cornell -- played a season-high 25 minutes, and tied a season best with two steals … Freshman Matt Howard scored a season/career high with seven points, all in the first half … Jackson-Cartwright now has 1,296 points for his career which is 17th in Penn history; he passed Joe Sturgis (1,292 from 1954-56) on Friday night. Tryone Pitts (1,301 points from 1985-88) is 16th, while Tony Price (1,322 from 1977-79) is 15th.