Men's Basketball Defies Cornell, 73-66

Box Score (PDF)

PHILADELPHIA -Penn senior guard Zack Rosen has spent nearly the entire season telling anyone who will ask about his legacy on the Penn program that he is missing one vital ingredient: an Ivy League championship.

Penn entered Friday night's game with Cornell one game out of first place in the loss column, but given the schedule ahead the Quakers can ill afford to trip up this weekend. One would assume Rosen was well aware of that late in the game, when the Big Red was ahead 59-55.

Rosen scored 13 of Penn's next 16 points after that. The only points he didn't score came when he fed Miles Cartwright for a three-pointer. It was enough to propel the Quakers past the Big Red for a 73-66 victory.

Penn improved to 14-11 overall, and remained a game behind Ivy front-runner Harvard in the loss column at 6-2 in the conference. The Crimson improved to 8-1 with an easy victory over Brown in Cambridge. Yale (7-2 Ivy) also won on Friday, at Dartmouth. Something will give on Saturday night in Cambridge, where Harvard and Yale close out their season series.

In a year where Rosen has been garnering national attention for his play, and serious consideration for Ivy League and Philadelphia Big 5 Player of the Year, Friday's epic performance may one day be considered his opus. In arguably the most important four minutes of this season, with everything on the line, he simply refused to let his team lose. When the dust had settled, he had figured in all of 26 straight points from the 10:42 mark to the final seconds, scoring 17 and assisting on the other nine.

It all started when Rosen hit a three-pointer from deep. Real deep. Cornell got sloppy with the ball on the next possession, and Rosen took advantage with a steal. He was fouled as he went in for the layup, and out of a media timeout he hit both foul shots to put Penn ahead, 60-59.

Cornell has its own standout point guard, Chris Wroblewski, and it has been a treat to watch him tangle with Rosen over these last four years. He did his part, answering Rosen's foul shots with a three-pointer in front of his bench to put Cornell back in front, 62-60.

Rosen came back with another deep trey -- deeper than the previous one. 63-62, Penn.

Cornell turned it over, but Tyler Bernardini could not make them pay as his jumper was off the mark. However, the Quakers defended well and Wroblewski was stuck putting up a weak effort underneath. Out of a timeout, with just more than a minute to go, Rosen again dialed long distance (his ninth, 10th and 11th straight points) to push Penn's lead to 66-62.

Wroblewski got two of them back with a pair of foul shots with 1:04 to play, but then Penn worked the clock down and Rosen drove the lane. He drew defenders all around him and found Cartwright in the right corner. At that point of the game, the sophomore was 4-of-5 on threes; he was 5-of-6 afterward on the way to 22 points. 69-64, Penn.

Cornell took a quick three that missed, and Rosen ended up with the ball. He was fouled, and made both to make it 71-64. All that was left were a pair of free throws by Cartwright to ice it in the final seconds.

Penn used a six-point run midway through the first half to gain a 19-14 lead. Cartwright scored four in the run, on the way to 14 in the first half as he drained three treys. The Quakers' largest lead was seven on a pair of occasions, and it was 35-29 as the teams went to the locker rooms.

Cornell came out hard in the second half, however, quickly tying the game and then taking the lead on a bizarre play. With the score 42-42, Cameron Gunter was called for an offensive foul, and during the media timeout the referees upgraded it to a flagrant-1 foul. That gave Cornell two shots out of the break, which Johnathan Gray made, and then the ball back. On the possession, Eitan Chemerinski blew by Gunter's replacement, Fran Dougherty, for a layup and was pushed by the sophomore as he laid it in. After his made foul shot, the Big Red's lead was five.

Cornell's lead crested at six, but Penn fought back. Rosen hit a pair of jumpers to get the score tied, 49-49, and then he fed Bernardini off a fast-break for a trailer three-pointer that found all net and pushed the Red and Blue back in front.

It was 55-52, Penn, when Cornell went on a seven-point run. Drew Ferry started it with a gunner's three, and then Chemerinski put the Big Red ahead with two foul shots. Bernardini then missed a jumper, and Wroblewski's fast-break pass was dropped back by Gray for Miller, who thundered home a slam dunk.

As it turned out, that served to fire up Penn's captain. The rest, as they say, is history. Rosen added six assists (with one turnover) and three steals to his 25-point night. Bernardini aided the cause with nine points.

Drew Ferry led Cornell with 17 points and six rebounds, while Gray scored 15 points and Wroblewski had 14.

Penn will host Columbia Saturday night to complete the weekend action. The Quakers and the Lions will tip off at 7 p.m. at The Palestra.

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Penn-Cornell Game Notes: Penn earned its first season sweep of Cornell since 2006-07 and improved to 145-73 all-time against the Big Red ... Penn won its 14th game this season, a program high since the 2006-07 team went 22-9 ... Penn is 7-2 when scored 70 or more points this season ... Penn improved to 10-1 this season when leading at halftime, 10-4 when shooting a better field-goal percentage than its opponent, and 6-1 when shooting more free throws ... Penn shot 50 percent from the field for the seventh time this season ... Cornell became the 16th opponent this season to shoot below 45 percent from the field ... Penn tied a season high with 12 three-point baskets (also done 12/10 at UCLA) ... Penn has had more assists than turnovers in seven straight games ... Senior guard Zack Rosen scored 25 points to lead Penn, the 14th time this season he has led the Quakers in scoring in a game ... It was Rosen's fifth game this season with 25 or more points, his 10th game with 20 or more, and his 23rd double-figure scoring game ... Rosen had five three-point baskets, the fourth time he has done that this season but the first time since Nov. 25 vs. Pitt ... Rosen also had six assists, the 10th time he has reached that mark this season ... In Penn's last four games Rosen has 20 assists and three turnovers ... Sophomore Miles Cartwright scored 22 points, his best scoring game since Nov. 17 (27 at Rider) ... Friday marked the first time this season two different Penn players scored 20 or more points in the same game ... Cartwright set a career high with five three-pointers and tied a Penn player best in the Jerome Allen coaching era by going 5-of-6 beyond the arc ... Senior guard Tyler Bernardini had a streak of 16 straight starts end, but came off the bench to score nine points in 22 minutes ... Senior Rob Belcore led Penn with six rebounds, the fourth time in six game and seventh time this season he has led the Quakers in that category in a game ... Belcore played in his 100th game at Penn ... Sophomore guard Steve Rennard, who made his first collegiate start, has 10 field goals in Penn's last nine games; all of them are three-pointers.

Record Book Watch: Senior guard Zack Rosen hadsix assists, giving him 561 for his career which is the program's all-time record ... Rosen played 39 minutes, giving him 3,892 for his career which is also a program mark ... Rosen has 1,577 career points which puts him fifth on Penn's all-time scoring list. (Michael Jordan is fourth, with 1,604 points from 1997-2000.) ... Senior guard Tyler Bernardini has 1,432 career points which puts him 11th on Penn's all-time scoring list. (Bruce Lefkowitz is 10th, with 1,443 points from 1984-87.) ... Rosen has 208 career three-point field goals which is fourth all-time. (Jeff Schiffner is third with 220 from 2001-04.) ... Bernardini has 195 career treys, which is seventh all-time. (Garett Kreitz is sixth with 199 from 1995-98.) ... Rosen has made 393 career foul shots which is sixth all-time. (Paul Romanczuk is fifth, with 394 from 1996-99.) ... Rosen has 146 career steals which is fifth all-time (Jordan is fourth, with 147), while Bernardini has 128 steals which is ninth (Paul Chambers from 1989-92 and Shawn Trice from 1992-95 are tied for seventh with 134.) ... Rosen has started 107 games in his career which is third all-time. (Jack Eggleston is second, with 111 starts from 2008-11.) ... Bernardini has made 100 career starts which is tied with Jerom Allen for seventh all-time (Michael Jordan and Geoff Owens are tied for fifth, with 101 starts each.) ... Bernardini has played 3,156 career minutes which is eighth all-time. (Langel is seventh, with 3,245 minutes from 1997-2000.)

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