HANOVER, N.H. – The University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team’s inexperience in close games was evident down the stretch Saturday night, as a game that was there for the taking went by the boards and the Quakers fell to Dartmouth at Leede Arena, 67-62.
Penn was up by as much as five late in the game, and still held a one-point lead with 3:25 to play. Dartmouth’s veteran players keyed an 8-2 run after that, though, and the Red and Blue did itself no favors down the stretch.
Penn has now lost five in a row and is 7-16 overall (2-7 Ivy League); Dartmouth improved to 10-14, 3-7 in Ivy play.
For two teams at the cellar of the Ivy League, the first half was a pretty clean affair with just eight turnovers.
Camryn Crocker provided a major spark in the opening half. He knocked down a three-pointer on his opening shot, and from there he didn’t stop. The senior finished the half with nine points, setting a new career high before the game reached halftime.
Alex Mitola personally pushed Dartmouth into a 39-30 lead with eight unanswered points, hitting a pair of three-pointers and then following it up with an acrobatic layup over some trees.
Penn got six of those points back, the first on an old-fashioned three-point play by Mike Auger and the second on a trey by Matt Poplawski. Miles Wright scored in the lane, but Sam Jones knocked down a three-pointer. Penn completed the road back as Darnell Foreman and Jones hit back-to-back threes to push the Quakers ahead, 46-43. (16-4 run)
The score was 46-46, but Antonio Woods went on a personal five-point to push Penn ahead 51-46. The teams traded points, before Kevin Crescenzi knocked down a three-pointer (his only points in the game) to jumpstart the Big Green.
The heroes, however, were Mitola and Tommy Carpenter. Carpenter scored on a backdoor to cut Penn’s lead to 55-53, and then Mitola knocked down a three-pointer to give Dartmouth the 56-55 lead. Nelson-Henry briefly put Penn back ahead, but Carpenter gave Dartmouth a lead it wouldn’t relinquish with an old-fashioned three-point play. Mitola added to the cushion with a long two.
Darien Nelson-Henry made it a two-point game with a pair of free throws, but Mitola again scored just inside the arc, and then after a Penn turnover Carpenter put back a Gabas Maldunas miss to make the Big Green’s lead 65-59.
Woods got three of the points back with free throws, and made it a one-possession game with 9.4 seconds left. However, Dartmouth broke the Quakers’ pressure and Connor Boehm iced it with an easy layup.
Nelson-Henry led Penn with 12 points, while Woods finished with 11 and Crocker had 10 (the first double-figure scoring game of his career). For Dartmouth, Mitola scored 18 while Carpenter finished with 13. Maldunas had 12 points and seven rebounds, while Boehm ended the night with 10 points.
Penn is back on the road next weekend, traveling to Brown and then Yale. Both games next weekend will tip off at 7 p.m.