PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team led almost from start to finish on Saturday night, completing a weekend sweep at The Palestra with a 68-60 win over Columbia.
Penn won consecutive games for the first time this season and improved to 3-2 in Ivy League play, 6-13 overall. With Harvard’s loss to Yale on Saturday night, the Quakers are suddenly within one game of the Crimson and Bulldogs -- both 5-1 in league play -- at the top of the Ivy League standings.
Columbia was up 5-1, but the Quakers held the Lions without a field goal for nearly eight full minutes and took advantage with a 12-1 run to go up 13-6. As it turned out, Penn would never trail again.
Penn’s lead reached double figures with 8:13 to go when Steve Rennard drained a three-pointer, and it was still a 10-point lead when the game reached halftime (40-30).
Penn’s biggest lead came with just under seven minutes to play when Tony Hicks put home a layup that pushed the Quakers in front, 62-46. However, Penn has struggled with prosperity all year long, and Saturday was no exception – Columbia immediately went on a 9-0 run that made the score 62-55 with 3:38 still to play.
Henry Brooks – who had hit two big jumpers earlier in the half, turning a seven-point lead to an 11-point advantage – broke the Columbia streak with two free throws, and then Maodo Lo missed a three-pointer that Fran Dougherty rebounded. Rennard broke out ahead of the pack and was led by Miles Jackson-Cartwright for a layup that made the score 66-55.
Columbia again responded, this time off a trey from Meiko Lyles and then a pair of free throws from Lo that cut Penn’s lead to 66-60 with exactly two minutes left in regulation.
As it turned out, Columbia wouldn’t score again. And while Penn never took full advantage, the Quakers were able to get two points with 11 seconds left on a pair of free throws from Hicks to put it away.
Dougherty ended Saturday’s game with 23 points and 12 rebounds (tying a season high in that category) for his second double-double this weekend. He was 10-of-14 from the field. Hicks had 13 points, while Brooks and freshman Matt Howard scored eight apiece. Jackson-Cartwright scored just five points, but dished out six assists and had two steals.
For Columbia, Alex Rosenberg had 17 points while Lo scored 16 and Lyles added 11.
Penn returns to action next weekend on the road, facing Yale on Friday night and then Brown on Saturday night. Both games will tip off at 7 p.m.
Game Notes: Penn won consecutive games for the first time this season … Penn swept the Cornell-Columbia home weekend for the 41st time in 55 times hosting … Penn won for the first time this season when scoring fewer than 70 points (previously 0-8 in such games) … For the second straight game and the third time in four games, Penn shot better than 50 percent from the field (26-48, .542) … For the weekend, Penn shot 59-of-102 (57.8 percent) from the field including 54-of-82 (65.9 percent) on two-point attempts … Columbia set opponent season lows in points (60) and blocked shots (1) and were one rebound above the opponent low for this season (26) … For the fourth time this season, Penn had a double-digit rebound advantage over its opponent (+11) … Senior Fran Dougherty had his second straight double-double, his fifth this season and ninth at Penn … Dougherty had 12 rebounds, a season high and one shy of his career best … Dougherty has 127 rebounds in Penn’s last 15 games (8.5 rpg), and has snared nine or more boards in 10 of Penn’s last 13 games … Dougherty had 23 points, his second game with 20 or more this season and 11th double-figure scoring outing this season (21st at Penn) … Sophomore Tony Hicks scored 13 points, eighth time in the last nine games he has hit double digits (17.0 ppg in that stretch) … Junior Henry Brooks had eight points, one shy of a season high, and tied his season best with five rebounds … All of Brooks’ points came in the second half … Freshman Matt Howard set a season/career high in points for the second straight night (8) and also had season/career highs in rebounds (5) and minutes (19) … Senior Miles Jackson-Cartwright now has 1,301 points for his career which is tied for 16th in Penn history along with Tyrone Pitts (1985-88). Tony Price (1,322 points from 1977-79) is 15th.