Men's Basketball Knocked Off by Dartmouth at Palestra, 76-74

PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team had a golden opportunity to get a game up in the Ivy League Tournament race, but the Quakers squandered that chance with a 76-74 loss to Dartmouth Friday night at The Palestra.

Penn fell to 12-14 overall, 5-8 in Ivy League play. The Red and Blue are still tied for fourth place in the League standings, as Columbia fell at Brown 88-68. Both teams are a game ahead of Brown and Dartmouth (7-19, 4-9).

Ivy Tournament Ramifications
*The top three seeds are set: Princeton at 1, Harvard at 2, Yale at 3. After that, chaos. Four teams enter Saturday's final night with a chance at the fourth and final seed: Penn (5-8), Columbia (5-8), Brown (4-9) and Dartmouth (4-9).

*SATURDAY: Penn hosts Harvard; Columbia is at Yale; Dartmouth is at Princeton; Brown hosts Cornell.

DARTMOUTH (4-2): 2-0 vs. Penn; 1-1 vs. Columbia; 1-1 vs. Brown
COLUMBIA (3-3): 1-1 vs. Penn; 1-1 vs. Brown; 1-1 vs. Dartmouth
BROWN (3-3): 1-1 vs. Penn; 1-1 vs. Columbia; 1-1 vs. Dartmouth
PENN (2-4): 1-1 vs. Columbia; 1-1 vs. Brown; 0-2 vs. Dartmouth

*PENN: 0-2 vs. Princeton; 0-1 vs. Harvard; 1-1 vs. Yale; 2-0 vs. Cornell
*COLUMBIA: 0-2 vs. Princeton; 1-1 vs. Harvard; 0-1 vs. Yale; 1-1 vs. Cornell
*BROWN: 0-2 vs. Princeton; 0-2 vs. Harvard; 0-2 vs. Yale; 1-1 vs. Cornell
*DARTMOUTH: 0-1 vs. Princeton; 0-2 vs. Harvard; 0-2 vs. Yale; 0-2 vs. Cornell

Numbers of Note
*Dartmouth swept Penn for just the second time in program history; the other time was 2009.

*Penn had just six turnovers, a low in the Steve Donahue coaching era and the fewest by a Quakers team since they had just four in a 78-68 win at Delaware on Dec. 22, 2010.

*Penn lost a game in which it took 19 more shots than its opponent (73-54); the 73 field goals were the most by a Penn team since the Quakers took 81 at Harvard on Feb. 23, 2008.

*Senior Matt Howard had 19 points, his sixth time reaching double digits in the last seven games. He also led the Quakers with seven rebounds.

*Freshman Ryan Betley also scored 19 points, exactly his average over the last six games, and had five boards.

*Junior Darnell Foreman had 11 points and a team-high six assists.

How It Happened
For a team playing for its Ivy League Tournament life, the Quakers sure started slow. The team was lethargic on offense, slugging on defense, and Dartmouth took advantage by going up as much as 11 (26-15).

At that point, the Quakers woke up. The Red and Blue scored 13 unanswered points to gain a 28-26 lead, and after several minutes of the teams trading possessions Matt Howard hit a shot at the buzzer that sent the teams to the locker room tied up at 35-35.

The second half started with Dartmouth again showing all the urgency. The Big Green scored 14 points in a row early in the period, taking advantage of several sloppy plays by the Quakers to turn a one-point game into a 15-point advantage at 54-39. Only then did Penn wake up, scoring 11 in a row including treys from Darnell Foreman, Matt Howard and Ryan Betley. That got the Quakers back in the game. That run extended to 19-5 when Betley hit another three-pointer and got the Red and Blue within a point at 59-58. 

Penn had three unsuccessful chances to regain the lead before Miles Wright hit one of two foul shots to make it a two-point game out of the eight-minute media timeout. That was answered almost immediately by a Betley shot in the lane to tie things up, and then a steal led to a Howard trey that gave the Quakers a 63-60 lead and extended the run to 25-6. 

Dartmouth’s Guilien Smith matched it at the other end with a three-pointer that defied the law of physics, banking in from the corner, the start of three straight trips that ended with Big Green treys and gave them a 69-65 lead.

AJ Brodeur used an old-fashioned three-pointer to get Penn back within one, then had a chance to go in front again but Betley was called for a charge. At the other end, Brendan Barry hit a trey -- Dartmouth’s fourth in a row -- and it was 72-68 with less than three minutes to play. Then Foreman hit a quick layup to make it 72-70, and after a Penn stop he knocked down an elbow jumper to tie the score at 72-72.

Dartmouth worked the clock down, spread the Penn defense out, and got Smith in a one-on-one with Betley that the Big Green sophomore won, laying it in with just over 50 seconds left to put Dartmouth up by two. Brodeur then missed a contested hook in the lane, and Penn was forced to foul. Smith hit both free throws to make it 76-72 with 22.3 seconds left. Betley hit a putback to make it 76-74 with 12.7 seconds left and Penn called timeout.

Out of the break, Dartmouth’s inbounds was deflected by Goodman and went off Smith out of bounds, giving Penn life. However, the best the Quakers could come up with was a Foreman shot in traffic, and it was off the mark.

Next Up
Penn concludes the regular season on Saturday night, hosting Harvard at 7 p.m. Prior to tipoff, the Quakers will honor their outgoing seniors (Matt Howard and Dylan Jones). Also, a reminder that the annual Alumni Game will take place in The Palestra at 1:30 p.m.