PHILADELPHIA – Three weeks ago, the University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team hung with Harvard for about half of the first half in Cambridge, before the Crimson blitzed the Quakers en route to a blowout victory.
On Friday night at The Palestra, Penn again hung around into the second portion of the opening period. And while Harvard’s run wasn’t quite as dramatic as it was three weeks ago, it was nearly as emphatic. In the end, the Crimson defeated the Quakers, 83-63.
Penn fell to 6-16 on the season, 3-5 in Ivy play. Harvard (21-4 overall) remains in a first-place tie with Yale, both teams at 9-1 after the Bulldogs won at Cornell tonight.
Penn was down just 17-15 with 9:35 left after Tony Hicks hit a jumper. Over the next four minutes, Harvard went on an 11-2 run that moved its advantage to double digits. The Quakers were able to climb back within shouting distance, however, and were down by only six with 1:39 left before the break after Dau Jok hit a three-pointer.
Harvard scored the last six points of the half. Then the Crimson used a nine-point run early in the second period that made the score 53-32 and effectively ended this game. Penn never got closer than 17 points after that, and Harvard‘s lead ballooned to as much as 26 points.
Fran Dougherty was one of Penn’s few bright spots on Friday night; he finished with team highs in points (15) and rebounds (5), and was 6-of-9 from the field. Hicks scored 13 points, while Miles Jackson-Cartwright had 10 points and five assists.
Perhaps the only other note from this night came from freshman Matt Poplawski. A member of Penn's Ivy League champion men's soccer program, he joined the basketball team on Wednesday from the JV program due to the Quakers' spate of injuries. On Friday night, he not only got into the game, he scored. He had the last points of the game, on two free throws.
Harvard placed four players score in double figures and had two others score nine points. Steve Moundou-Missi had 14 points and five rebounds, while Lauren Rivard added 13. Siyani Chambers dished off 10 assists and had just one turnover.
Penn returns to action again tomorrow night, hosting Dartmouth at The Palestra at 7 p.m. The Big Green (9-14, 2-7 Ivy League) fell at Princeton on Friday night.