PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania men's basketball team got off on the right foot in its 13-game race through the remainder of the Ivy League schedule on Friday night, coming up with a 62-58 win over Columbia at The Palestra.
Junior Miles Cartwright scored the Quakers' last eight points in the game, including a jumper with 30 seconds left that broke a 56-56 tie. After Columbia's Brian Barbour missed on a layup at the other end, Fran Dougherty got the rebound and quickly got the ball to Cartwright. He was fouled and hit both of his shots, on the way to four made free throws in the final 14.4 seconds.
For the night, Cartwright finished with 22 points; he was a perfect 10-of-10 at the foul line, the second time he has done that this season.
In his first Ivy League home game, freshman Darien Nelson-Henry matched up with Columbia's Mark Cisco and more than held his own with 11 points, four rebounds, two assists, three steals and four blocked shots. Tony Hicks added eight points, while Steve Rennard had seven points and five rebounds.
Columbia (9-8, 1-2 Ivy League) jumped out to a 7-2 lead Friday night, but Penn (4-15, 1-1) used a nine-point run to turn a two-point deficit into an 18-11 lead midway through the period. That advantage held the rest of the way to the break, at which point Penn led 26-19.
Penn's lead was still nine with 9:38 to play, at 45-36, before Columbia reeled off nine unanswered points. When Cisco hit a layup with 6:54 to play, the score was tied.
Nelson-Henry quickly responded with a layup of his own, was knocked by Cisco, and hit the ensuing foul shot to push Penn back in front, 48-45. Columbia again drew level, thanks to foul shots by Barbour and John Daniels, but Cartwright hit a layup and then Dougherty knocked down a pair of free throws to respond to a Barbour charity shot.
Penn's lead was 54-51 for more than two dramatic minutes, before Barbour found Cisco for a layup with 1:58 left that made it a one-point game. Cartwright was fouled by Rosenberg after that, and he hit both shots for a 56-53 lead with 1:45 to play. However, Barbour coolly knocked down a trey from the left wing that tied the game with 1:18 to go.
That set the stage for Cartwright's heroics, as he dribble around a screen on the left side and hit a pullup jumper near the left elbow to give Penn a lead it would not relinquish.
Barbour had 21 points to lead Columbia, while Cisco had 15 points.
Penn returns to action tomorrow night, again at The Palestra, as the Quakers host Cornell at 7 p.m. Prior to that, at 4 p.m., the annual alumni game will take place in The Palestra. The Big Red (9-11, 1-2) fell to Princeton Friday night at Jadwin Gym, 76-59.
Game Notes: The win was Penn's 1,701st all-time, and its 801st at The Palestra ... Penn defeated Columbia for the fourth straight time in this series, and now leads the overall series with the Lions 137-85 ... Penn has won five Ivy League home games in a row, dating back to last season ... For the third time in its four wins this season, Penn never trailed in the second half ... Penn improved to 21-5 in the Jerome Allen coaching era when holding an opponent under 60 points (3-1 this season) ... Penn set season highs in free throws made (26) and blocked shots (7) ... Penn shot 26-of-29 from the foul line; in the last two games, the Quakers are 41-of-45 (91.1 percent) from the charity stripe ... Penn had eight steals, giving them at least six in each of the last nine games ... Penn's bench players outscored Columbia's bench players, 18-7; Penn has won the bench points battle in eight straight games (average score Penn 27.6, Opponent 15) ... Penn's 26-19 halftime lead was its largest at the break this season ... Columbia scored 19 points in the first half, an opponent low for any half this season ... Junior Miles Cartwright scored 22 points, his season high ... It was Cartwright's second straight game over 20 points, his fifth this season, and his 11th at Penn ... It marked the most points by a Penn player in a game since Fran Dougherty scored 31 against Fairfield on Nov. 13 ... Cartwright went 10-of-10 at the foul line, the second time he has done that this season ... Cartwright enters tomorrow's game with Cornell having hit 17 free throws in a row ... Freshman Darien Nelson-Henry scored 11 points, his sixth straight game scoring in double figures (14.2 ppg in that span) ... Nelson-Henry also set a season/career high in steals (3) and tied a season/career high with four blocked shots (previously set Dec. 29 at Wagner) ... Junior Steve Rennard tied a season/career high with five rebounds ... Rennard tied Cartwright for team-high honors in that category; he is the seventh different player to lead Penn in boards in a game this season ... Rennard took two foul shots in the game; amazingly, they were his first free throws since Dec. 8 (when he went 6-of-9 at the line) ... The game marked the return of Dougherty, who had missed the previous eight games due to mononucleosis; he had five points, four rebounds and two assists in 18 minutes.