HANOVER, N.H. - The University of Pennsylvania's young, inexperienced men's basketball team was playing its first Ivy League road weekend, and so maybe it was understandable if the Quakers were sluggish early on Saturday night at Dartmouth's Leede Arena. Even so, after being battered by Harvard on Friday night in Cambridge, it was hard to stomach the team's performance in the first half against the Big Green.
The second half? Another story entirely.
Penn was down 30-18 at the half, but exploded for 49 second-half points to roar past Dartmouth and post a 67-57 win over the Big Green. The victory allowed the Quakers to improve to 3-4 in the Ivy League, 6-18 overall. Dartmouth fell to 6-16, 2-6 in Ivy play.
Dartmouth's lead was still 13 after more than two minutes in the second half, at 33-20. From that point on, Penn outscored the Big Green 47-24.
The catalysts? Freshman Jamal Lewis was the primary culprit. He scored 12 of his 14 points on the night after the break. (To give you a sense of how out of left field his performance came from, Lewis had scored a combined 14 points over Penn's previous 11 games, with eight scoreless outings.) Sophomore Henry Brooks added 10 of his 14 points on the night after the break, while junior Miles Cartwright had nine of his 13 in the second half.
Perhaps the most telling stat was Penn's field goal percentages. After a woeful 35-percent performance in the first half (7 of 20), the Quakers missed their first field goal of the second half. Then they went a staggering 16 of 20 (80 percent) the rest of the way. Penn also shot 19 of 23 from the foul line, including 11 in a row when the game was still in the balance.
It made for a satisfying road win, Penn's second of the season and first in Ivy play. Perhaps the most gratifying part for head coach Jerome Allen was how his team played with poise from the start of its run to the end, unlike its only other road win this season when the Quakers tried to give away the game at NJIT.
Dartmouth scored the game's first eight points, and that set the tone for the entire half. It was nearly four minutes before Penn got on the board, on a Darien Nelson-Henry layup, but the Big Green's lead hit double digits before the game was eight minutes old and bulged as high as 14 before the halftime break.
John Golden made it 33-20 with a free throw early in the second half, before Cameron Gunter hit the second of two free throws. That innocuous point set Penn off on a nine-point streak, though -- Brooks scoring six of them -- and suddenly the Quakers were back in the game less than five minutes into the period.
Dartmouth kept Penn at bay for several minutes after that, the Big Green's lead fluctuating between one point and five points, before Gunter finally brought the Quakers level when he hit a pair of free throws with 6:04 left. Gabas Maldunas missed a shot at the other end, and after Brooks missed a jumper from the left corner Greg Louis snared the rebound and put back the layup for his only field goal of the game and Penn's first lead, at 48-46.
Connor Boehm immediately scored to tie the game a second time, but Penn reeled off the next seven points to gain a lead it would not relinquish. Lewis got the first two points on a layup, and then after Tony Hicks stole the ball Cartwright got into the lane for his own layup. Tyler Melville then missed a trey, a miss that was exacerbated when Lewis punctuated his night with a trey off a Cartwright feed.
Dartmouth got within five points two more times, but that was as close as the Green got.
Maldunas had a double-double to lead Dartmouth, with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Alex Mitola had 14 points and Boehm added 11.
Penn is back on the road again next weekend, traveling to Cornell for a Friday night game and then traveling to Columbia to face the Lions on Saturday night. Both games will tip off at 7 p.m.
Game Notes: The win was Penn's second road win this season, and its first road win in Ivy League play ... Penn defeated Dartmouth for the seventh straight time and the 30th time in the last 32 meetings, and now leads the all-time series 148-56 ... For the second time this season, Penn overcame a double-digit halftime deficit to win (also the season opener vs. UMBC) ... Penn's 18 first-half points were a season low, but the 49 second-half points were a season high ... Penn shot 56.1 percent from the field in the game (23 of 41), its second-best shooting game of the season (59.6 percent vs. Lafayette) ... Penn set a program low in the Jerome Allen coaching era by taking just eight three-point shots ... Dartmouth shot 35.6 percent from the field (21 of 59), the fourth Penn opponent in the last six games and ninth this season to shoot below 40 percent in a game ... Penn outrebounded its opponent (32-28) for the third time in the last five games ... Penn's bench outscored the Dartmouth bench, 25-2; for the weekend, the Quakers had 58 bench points ... Freshman Jamal Lewis scored 14 points (12 in the second half), two shy of his career high ... Lewis matched his point total for the last 11 games combined ... Lewis became the ninth different Penn player to lead the Quakers in scoring in a game this season ... Sophomore Henry Brooks had a career-high 14 points, his fourth double-figure scoring game this season and seventh at Penn ... Brooks also had five rebounds, one shy of his season/career high ... Junior Miles Cartwright scored 13 points, his team-leading 14th double-digit scoring game this season and 47th at Penn ... Cartwright now has 987 career points and needs just 13 to become the 38th player in Penn history to reach the 1,000-point milestone ... Cartwright also had six assists, his seventh game with five or more this season ... Freshman Tony Hicks tied a season/career high with six rebounds and also had nine points ... Hicks went 4-of-4 at the foul line; he is 13-of-13 in Penn's last three games and has made 15 in a row over the last six ... Freshman Darien Nelson-Henry had eight points; he has scored at least eight in 10 of the last 11 games.