PHILADELPHIA - The Penn and Butler men's basketball teams engaged in a spirited battle Monday night in a quarterfinal of the CBI Presented by Zebra Pen. With 13 minutes left, they were tied, 31-31, thanks to a Kameron Woods jumper for the Bulldogs.
As it turned out, those were the first two of nine straight points Butler would score. It was hardly a dominant charge, taking nearly four minutes to build, but when Roosevelt Jones tipped in a Khyle Marshall miss to make the score 38-31 it just felt like it might be too much for Penn to overcome.
As it turned out, that was true. The final score was 63-53 in Butler's favor. As a result, Penn saw its 2011-12 season come to a close with a 20-13 overall record, while the Bulldogs (22-14) move on to Wednesday's CBI semifinal round.
The Quakers threatened. They got within two points, at 42-40, on a Miles Cartwright layup with 6:41 to play, but had two chances to tie and were unsuccessful. Butler -- the NCAA Tournament finalist the last two years -- finally expanded their lead beyond a possession when Chrishawn Hopkins rebounded a missed Marshall free throw and then hit a jumper.
Penn got within four points two more times, at 46-42 and 48-44, but the Bulldogs hit their free throws down the stretch and never gave the Quakers the chance to get back into it. Thirteen of Butler's final 17 points came from the charity stripe, and they were 13-of-15 on freebies in those final four minutes (including seven in a row in the final 46 seconds to end the game).
Both defenses were staunch on Monday night. Penn shot just 37 percent from the field, while Butler was not much better at 37.7 percent. Even more telling, the Quakers were a meager 4-of-20 from three-point land while the Bulldogs were just 2-of-7.
Penn played Monday's game without seniors Mike Howlett and Tyler Bernardini -- his second straight game out with an injury -- and this time they were joined on the sideline by Bernardini's replacement in the lineup, Steve Rennard, who was injured in last Wednesday's CBI opening-round contest. As a result, Head Coach Jerome Allen turned to freshman Simeon Esprit, who had played all of 27 minutes in Penn's first 32 games. He played 18 on Monday, scoring five points, grabbing a rebound and dishing off an assist. Cartwright led Penn in scoring for the second straight game, with 12 points, while fellow sophomore Fran Dougherty had nine points, four rebounds, three blocks and two steals.
Finally, what can you say about the seniors who were able to go on Monday? Zack Rosen ended his prolific career at Penn with 11 points, five rebounds and three assists in another 40-minute effort. His classmate, Rob Belcore, filled the box score one final time: nine points, eight rebounds, five assists and two blocks. Their leadership, their will and drive -- it will be very difficult to replace.
Butler put four of its starters in double figures, led by Chrishawn Hopkins who had 15. Marshall ended the night with 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, while Nored and Jones had 12 points apiece. Nored -- like Rosen one of 10 finalists nationally for the prestigious Lowe's Senior CLASS Award -- also dished off six assists.
Penn-Butler Game Notes: This was the first meeting between these teams, who play in two of the most historic venues in college basketball (Penn, The Palestra; Butler, Hinkle Fieldhouse) ... Penn fell to 1-7 all-time against teams that currently play in the Horizon League ... Penn tied a season low with 17 first-half points ... Butler set an opponent low for the Jerome Allen coaching era with seven three-point field attempts, and set an opponent season low with 20 first-half points ... Butler shot 37.7 percent, becoming the 23rd of Penn's 33 opponents to shoot below 45 percent from the field ... Sophomore Miles Cartwright led Penn in scoring for the second straight game, with 12 points ... It was Cartwright's 16th double-figure scoring game this season, and his 33rd at Penn ... Senior guard Zack Rosen scored 11 points for his 31st double-figure scoring game in 2011-12 and his 91st at Penn ... Senior forward Rob Belcore had nine points and eight rebounds, and led the Quakers in boards for the ninth time in a game this season ... Sophomore center Fran Dougherty matched season/career highs with three blocked shots and two steals ... Freshman Simeon Esprit played 18 minutes in this game, after playing 27 total in Penn's first 32 contests ... Esprit scored his first collegiate points, finishing the night with five.
Single-Season Record Book Watch: Senior guard Zack Rosen set program single-season record with 33 starts, 173 assists, and 1,259 minutes played this season ... Rosen scored 602 points, fifth on the single-season list and the most by a Penn player since Tony Price scored 633 in 1978-79 ... Rosen hit 75 three-point baskets, seventh on the single-season list and the most since Tim Begley hit 76 in 2004-05 ... Senior Rob Belcore made 32 starts, tied for second with Koko Archibong, Tim Begley, Jeff Schiffner and Ugonna Onyekwe from 2001-02 ... Belcore played 1,029 minutes, eighth on the single-season list ... Belcore had 58 steals, fifth on the single-season list and the most since Ibrahim Jaaber had 90 in 2006-07 ... Sophomore Miles Cartwright made 31 starts, tied for seventh with Steve Danley, Ibrahim Jaaber and Mark Zoller from 2006-07 and Brian Grandieri from 2007-08 ... Cartwright played 1,063 minutes, tied for third on the single-season list with Jaaber from 2006-07.
All-Time Record Book Watch: Senior guard Zack Rosen finished his career as the program's all-time leader in assists (588), games started (115), and minutes played (4,198) ... Rosen scored 1,723 career points which puts him third all-time behind Ernie Beck (1,827) and Ugonna Onyekwe (1,762) ... Senior guard Tyler Bernardini had 1,456 career points which puts him 10th on Penn's all-time scoring list ... Rosen had 225 career three-point field goals which is third all-time ... Bernardini had 199 career treys, which ties him with Garett Kreitz (1995-98) for sixth all-time ... Rosen had 418 career foul shots which is fifth all-time ... Rosen had 154 career steals which is fourth all-time, while Bernardini had 132 steals which is ninth and senior Rob Belcore had 123 which is 11th all-time ... Bernardini made 101 career starts which is tied with Michael Jordan and Geoff Owens for fifth all-time ... Bernardini played 3,275 career minutes which is seventh all-time.