Men's Basketball Can't Catch UCLA, Falls 77-73

Box Score (PDF)

ANAHEIM, Calif. -The Penn men's basketball team gave a valiant effort, but the Quakers could not come all the way back Saturday night and fell to UCLA, 77-73, at the Honda Center.

Led by an incredible effort by senior Tyler Bernardini -- one of three Southern California players on the Penn roster -- the Quakers (5-6) were down by 13 with just under six minutes to go but got within a few possessions of making the comeback complete.

Bernardini ended the night with 29 points and knocked down eight three-pointers (on 12 attempts). It was the most treys hit by a Quaker since Tim Begley hit eight on Dec. 4, 2004, and only three other times a Penn player had hit eight or more trifectas in a game (Matt Maloney eight on Jan. 13, 1993; Matt Maloney 10 on Feb. 4, 1995; Matt Langel eight on Feb. 5, 2000).

Rob Belcore also had a breakout game offensively, scoring 13 points, while Henry Brooks had six points and six rebounds. Zack Rosen was probably due for an offensive night like this, as he shot just 3-of-12 from the field including 0-of-7 beyond the arc; however, he had 10 assists without a turnover and five rebounds. One of the Quakers' other Southern Californians, Miles Cartwright, finished the night with eight points and four boards.

The first half was fairly evenly played, thanks in part to hot shooting by the Quakers. They were 13-of-25 (52 percent) from the field, led by Bernardini (5-of-7) and Belcore (3-of-3). UCLA hit a pair of three-pointers to break open a 21-21 game, and its biggest lead was eight before the half ended with the Bruins lead cut to 39-35.

UCLA started the second half with six straight points to go up by 10, but Bernardini single-handedly tried to keep Penn in the game. He was fouled on an acrobatic layup to start the Quakers' scoring in the half, and then hit a pair of treys to keep the team in striking distance.

That said, UCLA's inside game began to be established. Joshua Smith and the Wear twins, David and Travis, began to assert themselves for easy buckets in the paint. When Lazeric Jones hit a jumper out of the second media timeout, the Bruins' lead was 14 (60-46) at the midway point of the second half.

The lead was still 13, at 68-55, with just under six minutes left, but Penn had a run left. Cartwright got things started when he drained a circus shot and was fouled. He hit the free throw. David Wear hit one of two foul shots, but then Belcore and Cartwright knocked down consecutive treys to make it 69-64 with 3:44 left.

Jones missed a layup, but David Wear rebounded the shot and got the putback to push UCLA back to a seven-point edge, but Bernardini came up with his eighth trey and it was 71-67 inside of three minutes. Jones responded with a tough layup in traffic.

Rosen pulled the trigger from distance on the next Penn possession, but unfortunately it was off the mark. Bernardini soared for the rebound and was fouled as he put the shot back up. He hit the first free throw but missesd the second, and it was 73-68 inside two minutes.

UCLA went back inside, to Smith, and he was fouled as he laid it in. However, those points were equaled when he missed his foul shot, Brooks was fouled on the rebound, and came down to the other end to hit both of his charity shots to make it 75-70.

UCLA gave Penn a few chances to get closer with some empty possessions, but the Quakers couldn't capitalize as Rosen and then Bernardini missed trey attempts. Tyler Lamb finally broke the Bruins' skid, hitting a foul shot with 18 seconds to play.

Penn worked the ball to Cartwright in the corner, but his three-point attempt from the left corner was swatted into the seats by Jerime Anderson. Then, on the ensuing inbounds play, the Quakers were called for five seconds and relinquished possession with 8.1 seconds left. Jones was fouled immediately and hit one of two free throws, and then Belcore knocked down a trey at the buzzer to set the final score.

UCLA (3-5) was led by Jones' 21 points, while David Wear recorded 11 points and 12 rebounds. Smith and Travis Wear had 12 points apiece.

With the University's final exams beginning this week, the Quakers are out of game action until Dec. 23 when they host Marist at The Palestra at 7 p.m.

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Penn-UCLA Game Notes: This was Penn's second meeting with UCLA; the Quakers also lost to the Bruins in the first meeting in 1987 ... Penn reached 70 points for the third time this season (also 78 at Rider, 75 vs. Manhattan) ... Penn scored 35 points in the first half, a season high ... Penn knocked down 12 three-point shots, the most by the Quakers in a game since they hit 13 at UMBC on Jan. 6, 2010 ... Penn also had a season-high 18 assists ... Senior Tyler Bernardini scored a career-high 29 points; his previous high of 27 came against Saint Joseph's on Jan. 22, 2011 ... It was Bernardini's 15th collegiate game with 20 or more points but the first this season (previous high 19 vs. Robert Morris) ... It was Bernardini's fourth straight double-figure scoring game, his eighth in Penn's last nine outings, and his ninth in 11 games this season ... Bernardini hit eight three-point baskets, tied for second all-time in a game by a Penn player ... The last time a Penn player hit eight treys in a game was Dec. 4, 2004 (Tim Begley vs. La Salle) ... Bernardini also led Penn with seven rebounds; he has led the Quakers in that category in eight of 11 games ... Senior Rob Belcore had a season-high 13 points, his third double-figure scoring performance in Penn's last four games ... Belcore hit three treys, his high since he hit five at Harvard on March 5, 2010 ... Zack Rosen had his streak of double-figure scoring games snapped at 10, with eight points, but he contributed 10 assists for the third time this season ... Rosen now has 481 career assists and needs 25 to surpass current head coach Jerome Allen as Penn's all-time leader in that category ... Rosen also had five rebounds, one shy of his season high ... Freshman Henry Brooks made his second collegiate start and recorded a season/career high with six rebounds ... He also had two assists for the first time in a season-high 22 minutes.

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