PHILADELPHIA - Two weeks ago, the University of Pennsylvania men's basketball team overcame a slow start and a double-digit halftime deficit to defeat Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H.
On Friday night at The Palestra, the Quakers had a start that was so slow it put that other one to shame. Clearly the Big Green learned its lesson from two weeks ago; there would be no Penn run on this night.
The final score was 69-64, Dartmouth. It was just the Big Green's fourth win in the Palestra in the 56-year history of the Ivy League.
Penn led 2-0 in this game, and didn't lead again until there was 4:48 to play when Miles Cartwright hit a jumper to make it 57-55. That play backed up a pair of free throws he hit on the Quakers' previous possession to tie the game.
Gabas Maldunas hit two foul shots to tie the game, but Cartwright fed Brooks for a layup out of a timeout that put Penn back on top. Then, a critical possession: Dartmouth had not one, not two, but three chances at the basket on its ensuing possession, and Maldunas made good on the third try to once again tie the score with 2:37 to play. Cartwright coolly canned a jumper with 2:02 left, putting Penn up 61-59.
Dartmouth would score the next nine points.
First Maldunas was fouled and made both foul shots. Penn tried to force a pass into the lane; it never got there. Then the Quakers fouled Alex Mitola, who hit both of his free throws to put the Big Green up, 63-61.
Another Penn possession; another turnover on a terribly soft pass to the elbow. Then the diminutive Mitola got past the defense and laid the ball in while being fouled. He hit the free throw.
Tony Hicks (another stellar offensive night, with 23 points) forced up a three-pointer off an inbounds pass, but it was no good. John Golden corralled the board for Dartmouth and was fouled. He hit both shots. Hicks finally hit a trey, but it was too late on this night.
Cartwright scored the game's first points on a layup just 1:09 into the game. By the time Hicks scored the Quakers' next field goal, more than six minutes had passed; Dartmouth had scored 15 points, answered only by a Cameron Gunter free throw; and Penn had committed seven turnovers.
Behind Hicks -- who scored 14 of Penn's 16 points over an eight-minute span -- Penn got back into it before the halftime break. Down by 12 with less than two minutes to play, Penn scored seven unanswered points (four in the final five seconds) to make it 35-30 at the intermission.
In addition to Hicks, Penn got double-figure scoring nights from Dau Jok (14 points), Cartwright (11) and Brooks (10). For Dartmouth, Mitola had 17 points while Connor Boehm scored 15.
Penn returns to action Saturday night, hosting Harvard at 6 p.m. That game will be televised to a nationwide audience on the NBC Sports Network as part of the Ivy League's men's basketball package with the network.
Game Notes: Penn lost at home to Dartmouth for just the fourth time in the Ivy League era ... Penn lost despite placing four players in double figures in the scoring column; the Quakers are 0-3 in such games this season ... Penn outrebounded its opponent for the fourth straight game (28-27) ... Penn shot better from outside the three-point line (8 of 17, .471) than inside (12 of 28, .429) ... After outscoring Dartmouth in bench points, 25-2, in Hanover, Penn was outscored in that category 20-18 on Friday ... Penn has lost the bench battle each of the last three games, after winning it 12 times in the previous 13 contests ... Penn shot 88.9 percent at the foul line (16 of 18), it third-best performance at the stripe this season ... Freshman Tony Hicks scored 23 points, his second time going over 20 points in the last three outings ... Hicks led all players in scoring (both teams) for the third straight game ... Hicks has 71 points in the last three games (23.6 ppg), shooting 26-of-47 from the field (8-of-15 on three-pointers) in that span ... Hicks now has 12 double-digit scoring performances this season ... Hicks had a run early in the game where he scored 14 of Penn's 16 points ... Hicks went 6-of-6 at the foul line; he is now 24-of-26 at the stripe in the last six games, with both misses coming last Saturday at Columbia ... Junior Dau Jok scored 14 points, his third double-figure scoring game at Penn (all this season) ... Jok tied a season/career high with four three-pointers, and was perfect shooting in the game (4-4 FG, 2-2 FT) ... Junior Miles Cartwright scored 11 points, his 16th double-figure scoring game this season and 49th at Penn ... Cartwright also had five assists, his ninth game this season with five or more ... Sophomore Henry Brooks scored 10 points, his fifth double-figure scoring game this season and eighth at Penn ... Sophomore Camryn Crocker tied a career high with two steals ... Sophomore Patrick Lucas-Perry tied a season/career high with two assists ... Freshman Darien Nelson-Henry was held scoreless for just the second time this season (also Nov. 17 vs. Drexel) ... Five different Penn players tied for the rebounding lead in the game on Friday (Brooks, Hicks, Jok, Nelson-Henry, Greg Louis); all had three.