PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team chased the game almost the entire second half on Saturday night, but could never catch Brown as the Quakers fell to the Bears at The Palestra, 71-55.
Penn falls to 7-14 with the loss and is now 2-5 in Ivy League play. Brown improved to 11-14 overall, and is now 2-6 in Ivy play.
An evenly played first half looked like it was going to end in Brown’s favor, as the Bears took as much as a seven-point lead late in the period. However, Matt Howard scored five points in a matter of seconds -- the first on a fast-break layup, and then a trey after Camryn Crocker stole Brown’s ensuing inbounds. Following that, Matt Poplawski -- who provided a huge spark during his first-half minutes -- drove into the lane, hit the layup and was fouled. When he made the free throw, the Quakers were up 30-29. They took that lead into the locker room at the break.
Brown used the long ball to turn a two-point game into a double-digit lead early in the second half. JR Hobbie sandwiched a pair of treys around a Dockery Walker jumper to push the Bears in front by 10. At that point, Mike Auger came to life with each of Penn’s next six points.
Penn eventually got as close as four, at 48-44, and were still within six at 59-53 when Poplawski shot a three-pointer. The shot missed, and the wheels came off after that as Brown scored 12 of the game’s final 14 points to win going away.
Howard finished the night with 19 points, a career high, while Darien Nelson-Henry had nine and Greg Louis added eight. For Brown, Hobbie led the way with 21 points while Steven Spieth scored 19 and Tavon Blackmon added 14.
Penn is on the road each of the next two Ivy League weekends, starting next Friday and Saturday when the Quakers are at Ivy League co-leader Harvard and then Dartmouth. Both of those games will tip off at 7 p.m.