ITHACA, N.Y. - For the third time in six nights, the Penn men's basketball team played an overtime game. For the third time in six nights, the Quakers lost.
This one may have been the hardest to take.
Playing a Cornell team that entered the night with a 5-15 overall record, and already well out of contention at 1-5, Penn started slow again. This time, however, the Quakers were able to make up the difference before the end of regulation -- in fact, they were up nine with just over eight minutes to go, and up five with three minutes left.
Cornell made up the difference, however, and when the overtime started Max Groebe immediately put the Big Red up with a three-pointer -- his fifth of the game. Zack Rosen countered with a layup, but Groebe drained another trey immediately after that.
Somehow you just felt like it was over at that point. And it was. Cornell rolled in the extra session, taking an 82-71 decision at Newman Arena.
Penn (9-11, 3-3 Ivy) has only played three straight overtime games one other time in its history; that was in 1983-84. That year, Penn went 2-1 during that stretch. What the Red and Blue would give for 2-1 this year.
Cornell (6-15, 2-5) makes three-pointers. It's what the Big Red does. And they did it again on Friday, knocking down 12 treys and seeming to gain confidence with each one.
Penn was hoping to stop the trend of starting slow on Friday night, but unfortunately it continued. The Quakers gave Cornell plenty of open looks, and the Big Red responded by knocking down six three-pointers in the opening half. A majority of them came as Cornell jumped out to a 27-13 lead.
Penn was able to cut into the deficit with an 8-0 run late in the stanza, all of the points coming from Jack Eggleston. By halftime, the Cornell lead was just seven, at 36-29, and when the Quakers opened the second stanza with six more points it was 36-35.
The good times kept rolling Conor Turley led a nine-point spurt that turned a 41-35 deficit into a 44-41 lead, scoring five of the points including a free throw that gave the Quakers their first lead since 2-0. That lead eventually expanded to 48-42, and crested at 52-43.
However, with the score 54-46, Cornell came to life and scored nine of the next 10 points to tie the game at 55-55.
With the crowd back into it, Rosen hit a three-pointer and Miles Cartwright followed with a layup off a steal to push Penn's advantage back to five. Groebe knocked down a trey, but Cartwright answered with one of his own, and it was 63-58 as the clock passed the three-minute mark.
Penn would not score again in regulation. They had chances.
Cornell's Chris Wroblewski personally brought the Big Red back, hitting three free throws and a jumper around a pair of misses by Rosen. Penn then got a great chance to take a lead in the final minute, but missed a layup. Cornell got the rebound, and with the shot clock off the Big Red had a chance to win.
Wroblewski took a long trey that missed, but Mark Coury appeared to grab the rebound and put the ball in for the win. However, a whistle blew, and much to the displeasure of the home crowd Coury was whistled for a foul that put Turley at the line with a 1-and-1 and 1.3 seconds left.
Cornell called timeout. Turley missed the front end. On to overtime.
Groebe's opening salvos in OT set the tone. Before long it was 76-65, and Cornell was well on its way to victory.
Eggleston led Penn with 21 points, had a game-high nine rebounds, and dished off five assists. Rosen scored 15 points, including the 1,000th of his Penn career, and had six assists. However, they were the only Quakers to reach double figures in the scoring column. Rob Belcore was Penn's third-leading scorer, with eight points off the bench.
For Cornell, Wroblewski finished with 21 while Groebe had 20 (going 6-of-8 beyond the arc and hitting two foul shots late in OT).
Penn will be back in action Saturday night in New York City, facing Columbia at 7 p.m.
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Postgame Notes: It was Penn's third overtime game in a row, the fourth in the last five contests, and the fifth OT affair in the last eight games ... The only other time a Penn team played as many overtime games in a season was 1983-84, when the Quakers played six (going 2-4) ... The record for overtime Ivy League games in a season? Again, 1983-84, when all six OT games came against Ancient Eight opponents ... Cornell has now beaten Penn six of the last seven times they have met; prior to that, the Quakers had won 18 straight over the Big Red ... This was the seventh Penn-Cornell game to go to overtime; the Quakers are now 3-4 in those games ... The last Penn-Cornell OT game came in the 1989-90 season ... Penn had 20 assists on its 25 baskets, its best ratio in that category this season ... The 20 assists were one shy of the team's season high (set against Brown) ... Penn lost for the first time this season when shooting a better percentage from the field (49.0 percent) than its opponent (43.9); prior to this game, the Quakers were 7-0 in such contests ... For the first time in six such games this season, Penn lost when its final point total was in the 70s ... Penn fell to 0-8 when putting just two players in double figures in the scoring column, and 0-10 when making fewer free throws than its opponent ... Cornell hit 12 three-point shots, the most by a Penn opponent this season ... Senior Jack Eggleston led Penn with 21 points, the third time in five games and fifth time this season he has led the Quakers in that category in a game ... It was Eggleston's fourth 20-point game this season, and the sixth of his career ... Eggleston also led all players with nine rebounds, the 18th time in 20 games he has led Penn in that category ... Eggleston finished with five assists, a season high ... Junior Zack Rosen had 15 points, his team-leading 16th double-figure scoring game in 2010-11 ... Rosen's three-pointer early in the first half pushed him over the 1,000-point mark for his career; he is the 36th player in Penn history to reach the mark, the second this season (Eggleston), and the first to do it in his junior year since Ibrahim Jaaber in 2005-06 ... Rosen now has 1,014 career points ... Rosen also had six assists, his ninth straight game with five or more assists ... Junior Rob Belcore had eight points off the bench, one shy of the season-high nine he had last Friday against Dartmouth ... Freshman Fran Dougherty had seven points for the second straight game; that is a season/career high ... Senior Tyler Bernardini was held to six points, all of which came in a row midway through the second half ... Bernardini entered the game having hit double figures in 10 straight contests, averaging 18.1 ppg during that stretch ... Bernardini now has 963 career points ... Freshman Miles Cartwright had seven points, the first time in four games he was held to single digits.