Men's Basketball Edged by James Madison, 60-58

Box Score (PDF)

PHILADELPHIA -The Penn men's basketball team was in a position to win Saturday night's game with James Madison. Down, 60-58, with the ball and 8.5 seconds left, the Quakers inbounded and worked the ball around until it ended up inside with Mike Howlett. The senior went up and was contested by a pair of JMU defenders, Andrew Semenov and Julius Wells. Wells was able to get up and above Howlett's effort, blocking it as the clock expired to give the Dukes the victory.

JMU improved to 3-2 on the young season, while Penn's losing streak moved to three as the Quakers fell to 3-4 overall. Zack Rosen once again led Penn, scoring 15 points and dishing off 10 assists for the second time this season. Henry Brooks established himself on the block Saturday with 10 points, while Miles Cartwright had nine points and five assists and Tyler Bernardini recorded eight points and a game-high nine rebounds.

James Madison got the winning points on its final possession, as Humpty Hitchens held and held and held the ball before driving the lane and hitting a pretty-as-you-like rainbow jumper with 11.7 seconds left.

Penn found its points pretty easily early in Saturday's contest, as Cartwright hit a pair of three-pointers and then Bernardini followed a trey with another jumper just inside the arc. However, the first half ended up being a back-and-forth affair, as the lead changed six times and the game was tied five other times. Not surprisingly, it ended all tied at 29-29.

Penn had the ball to start the second half and it was an eventful possession. Two missed shots were both rebounded in traffic by Rob Belcore, and finally -- almost 50 seconds in -- Cartwright hit a trey. That spurred Penn to the first six points of the half.

James Madison fought back, thanks to A.J. Davis. The junior brought JMU level, hitting a jumper, a layup and a three-pointer unanswered to tie the game at 36-36 just before the first media timeout. When Rosen hit a three out of the timeout, Davis countered with another trey of his own. Then he gave the Dukes their first lead of the half with 13:54 left when he was fouled driving the lane on a fast break and hit the shot. After his made foul shot, Davis' personal run was 13 and JMU's lead was 42-39.

On Penn's ensuing possession, Belcore threw a pass that was deflected, and in the ensuing scramble he was called for traveling. The Quaker bench vehemently protested, and a technical foul was assessed. There was only minimal damage, as Davis (of course) hit one of the two free throws and then the Dukes did not score on the possession. Davis finished the game with 19 points to lead all scorers, while Semenov had 15 and was the only other Duke in double figures.

The good news was that Davis' scoring streak came and end with about 11 minutes left in the game. The bad news was that it ended because Julius Wells hit a trey that extended James Madison's lead to 46-39.

Penn fought back, thanks to its youngsters. With three newcomers on the floor to complement Rosen and Bernardini, Marin Kukoc hit a three-pointer and then Brooks came back with four straight. His free throws with just over seven minutes remaining gave the Quakers a 50-49 lead.

James Madison scored the next five points, however, the big blow being an Andrey Semenov trey from the left corner that made the score 54-50. Penn's next three possessions yielded nothing, and Hitchens added to the Quakers' misery when he stole the ball from Brooks on the drive and went coast-to-coast for an easy layup. That forced Penn to take timeout with just under five minutes left.

Penn had one last fight left. Rosen hit both sides of a 1-and-1 with 4:06 left, and then more than a minute later Kukoc drained a three that made it 56-55. Wells knocked down two foul shots to push JMU to a three-point lead at 58-55, but Rosen responded with a ridiculous three just in front of Penn's bench to tie the game with 1:38 to play.

Hitchens tried to give JMU the lead with a trey of his own, but it was off the mark. However, Rosen was called for a travel with the shot clock at almost zero and about 45 seconds left. That led to Hitchens' heroics.

Penn is back in action on Tuesday, hosting Manhattan College in its fourth home game in a week and its eighth (and final) game in the month of November. The Quakers and Jaspers will tip off at 7 p.m. in The Palestra.


Penn-JMU Game Notes: For the second straight game -- the second in two nights, in fact -- Penn scored 29 first-half points and 29 second-half points to finish at 58 for the game ... Penn got 22 points from its bench; the previous high this season had been 10, in the season opener at UMBC ... Penn set a season high with 17 assists and tied a season best with 10 three-point baskets ... Senior guard Zack Rosen tied a season high with 10 assists -- the fourth double-digit assist game of his career -- and scored a team-high 15 points; he is the only Penn player to score in double figures in all seven games to date ... Rosen also went 4-of-4 at the foul line, and has hit 14 in a row heading into the Manhattan game ... Freshman forward Henry Brooks set a season/career high with 10 points ... Sophomore forward Marin Kukoc set a season/career high with six points, hitting a pair of three-pointers ... Senior guard Tyler Bernardini had eight points, snapping a four-game streak of double-figure scoring games, but tied a season high with nine rebounds (one shy of his career best) ... Sophomore guard Miles Cartwright set a season high with five assists.

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