PHILADELPHIA – Over and over on Friday night, the University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team fought back and tried to tie or get ahead of Brown at The Palestra. Over and over again, the Bears were able to withstand any run that the Quakers made. In the end, Brown was able to walk out with a 76-67 victory that gave the Bears a season sweep in the series.
Penn fell to 7-17 overall, 4-6 in Ivy League play with the loss. Brown improved to 15-10 overall, 7-4 in the Ivies.
Brown scored the first four points on Friday and never looked back. The Bears were up by seven before the game was five minutes old, at 12-5, and held a double-digit lead with 9:36 to play when Dockery Walker knocked down a layup.
Penn scored seven in a row. Rather, Tony Hicks scored seven in a row. The sophomore single-handedly got the Quakers within three, then answered a Walker tip-in with a trey that made it a two-point game at 28-26. Brown immediately reeled off seven of the next nine points -- Steven Spieth scoring five of them and assisting the other two -- and the Bears went into the locker room at halftime up, 37-33.
Penn was down seven early in the second half, but scored five in a row to once again get within a possession with 15:54 to play. However, again the Bears responded. Spieth got free for a layup, then a Penn turnover led to a layup by Tavon Blackmon. Miles Jackson-Cartwright then missed a three-pointer, and that led to a jumper by Cedric Kuakumensah. Just like that it was 51-43.
The lead grew to 58-45, and although Penn got within nine shortly after that a sequence of three straight turnovers led to the Bears again building a sizable lead at 67-51.
Penn frantically worked its way back within five points with just under a minute to play when Jackson-Cartwright hit a jumper, but Spieth was a perfect 6-of-6 at the foul line and the Bears broke Penn’s press for a Leland King dunk to set the final score.
Hicks had 17 first-half points and ended the game with 25 to lead all scorers. He also had six rebounds and three assists. Fran Dougherty recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Jackson-Cartwright ended the game with 11 points, four boards and four assists. However, Penn was undone by turnovers (16) and abysmal free-throw shooting (12-23), and Brown killed the Quakers with 18 offensive rebounds (46 total).
For Brown, three players scored in double figures and three had double-figure rebounding totals. Spieth ended the game with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Kuakumensah had 16 points and 10 boards (plus four blocked shots). Sean McGonagill ended the night with 13 points and seven assists, while Rafael Maia finished the night with six points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Penn is home again on Saturday night, hosting Yale at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs fell at Princeton Friday night, 57-46, and need a win against the Quakers on Saturday night to keep Harvard from clinching the Ivy title outright.