CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The University of Pennsylvania men's basketball team got a glimpse at the future of the Ivy League on Friday night at Harvard, and quite frankly it had to be disheartening.
Harvard's Siyani Chambers, a freshman, controlled the game. Wesley Saunders, a sophomore, was dominant in the first half. In the second half another Crimson sophomore, Kenyatta Smith, did it at both ends as he finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and an astounding 10 blocked shots. For good measure, another sophomore -- Steve Moundou-Missi -- had 11 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
The end result was a 73-54 Harvard win that was every bit the blowout it looked.
As a team, the Crimson (14-7, 6-1 Ivy League) blocked 15 shots and it seemed like a lot more than that. They were also efficient on offense, shooting 52.3 percent from the field, while Penn was just 22 of 63.
Penn (5-18, 2-4) was down just 12-11 after eight minutes, but then Harvard scored seven in a row and never looked back. The Crimson lead reached double digits a few times before halftime, and it was a 37-27 game at the break.
Penn came out of the half and ran a nice play to get Darien Nelson-Henry a lefty layup. However, Harvard scored nine of the next 11 points to make the score 46-31, and Penn got no closer than 12 points after that. The Crimson's lead swelled to 20 with nearly 13 minutes still remaining and hung around the number the rest of the night.
Nelson-Henry scored 14 points to lead Penn, while Cameron Gunter nearly pulled out a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Penn returns to action tomorrow night at Dartmouth; the Big Green will also be licking its wounds, having lost 73-55 to Princeton on Friday night.
Game Notes: For the first time in six games, Penn trailed at the half ... Penn's bench players had more points (33) than the starters (21), the fifth time that has happened this season but the first time since Jan. 5 at La Salle ... Harvard set an opponent high in the Jerome Allen coaching era at Penn with 15 blocked shots ... Harvard set an opponent season low in field goal attempts, with 44 ... Junior Cameron Gunter scored 10 points for his first double-figure scoring game since he had all 12 of his freshman-year points at Columbia on Feb. 12, 2011 ... Gunter also had a career-high nine rebounds, putting him one board shy of his first collegiate double-double; Gunter entered the game with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the season ... Freshman Darien Nelson-HFreshman Darien Nelson-Henry led Penn with 14 points, his eighth double-figure scoring game in his last nine outings (12.2 ppg in that span); in the lone single-digit game, he was injured and played just 18 minutes ... Nelson-Henry led Penn in scoring for the second time this season, the other coming against Saint Joseph's ... Junior Miles Cartwright scored eight points; he now has 974 for his career and needs 26 to become the 38th player in Penn history to reach the 1,000-point mark ... Cartwright missed the first of his two free throws on the night, ending a streak of 26 makes in a row dating back to Temple on Jan. 23 ... Freshman Tony Hicks had seven points, ending a modest three-game streak of double-figure scoring ... Hicks went 3-of-3 at the foul line; he has hit 11 in a row heading into the Dartmouth game ... Hicks is now tied for second on the team in points scored with junior Fran Dougherty, both with 166; Dougherty has missed 11 of Penn's 23 games this season ... Sophomore Camryn Crocker had three assists and one turnover; in the last 11 games, his assist/turnover ratio is 2.77 (36/13) ... Sophomore Greg Louis had five rebounds, giving him 17 in the last three games.