Men's Basketball Cannot Catch Dartmouth, 69-59

Box Score (PDF)

PHILADELPHIA - Who knew thatFriday night'smen's basketball game between Penn and Dartmouth would be decided in the firstthree minutes?

Certainly not the crowd at The Palestra, which tried and tried to get the Quakers back into this. Not the Penn players, who time and again tried to make a run at the Big Green.

But that was the case. Dartmouth was up 8-2 after an Alex Barnett layup at the 16:55 mark of the opening stanza, and that was it. Penn kept trying, but every three or four-point run was answered. In the end, the final score was 69-59.

It was a costly loss for Penn, as Ivy League leader Cornell was beaten tonight by Yale in New Haven. Instead, the Quakers (8-14, 4-4) had their three-game winning streak snapped and remain two games behind the Big Red in the loss column in the Ivy League chase. Meanwhile, Dartmouth (7-16, 5-4) also remained two games off the pace, earning its first win in The Palestra since 1997, and sweeping the season series from the Quakers for the first time since -- this is not a misprint -- 1959.

What happened? Quite simply, Penn -- playing its fourth game in a week -- looked tired at the start and was never able to jump start themselves.

The closest they came was in the second half. The entire stanza -- really, the entire game -- felt like a Sisyphean effort, as Penn got as close as six on a few early occasions only to be thwarted as the Big Green was able to match baskets. It was still a 10-point game with six minutes left when Zack Rosen hit a pair of foul shots, and then the Quakers turned a Dartmouth turnover into a three-point basket by Eggleston (just the team'ssecond of the night). Nearly a minute passed after that, but when Tyler Bernardini knocked down a jumper the score was 58-55 and the relatively sparse and to that point sleepy Palestra crowd was at full volume.

Dartmouth called timeout, and out of the break the Big Green got freshman David Rufful open for a three-point shot. Bang. 61-55, with 3:59 to play.

Amazingly, that seemed to take the wind out of the crowd's sails, and even though the Quakersscored the next two points it took them nearly two minutes to do it (they came on foul shots by Cameron Lewis and Harrison Gaines). Penn made another defensive stop, but on its ensuing possession Rosen missed a shot, and then Bernardini was unable to finish on the offensive rebound. Dartmouth's Alex Barnett got the board, and as the clock moved inside a minute the Quakers were forced to foul. They got Barnett, and he was true on six straight from the foul line down the stretch to put this one away.

Rosen had another strong night for Penn, leading the Quakers with 15 points and also snaring six rebounds and dishing five assists. Eggleston had 10 points and eight boards, while Lewis had seven points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots. Bernardini had six rebounds, but struggled offensively and finished with nine points.

For Dartmouth, Barnett filled the box score with 20 points, nine rebounds, three assists and four blocks. He got plenty of help on this night, as Rufful scored 11 points and Elgin Fitzgerald had 10.

Penn returns to action Saturday night, hosting Harvard -- a 58-55 loser at Princeton -- at 6 p.m. in The Palestra. The game will be televised live on Comcast Network (formerly CN8).

Download: Penn22 (Dartmouth).pdf