Men's Basketball Edged by Princeton, 59-56

Box Score (PDF)

PHILADLEPHIA - To understand how Princeton was able to come in and gain a 59-56 win over Penn in men's basketball Tuesday night at The Palestra, all you need to do is look at the foul-shooting statistics.

Penn entered the game shooting 67 percent from the charity stripe, but made good on just 7-of-12 against the Tigers (58.3 percent); if the Quakers make one more on the night, they reach their average.

Princeton entered the game shooting 76 percent from the line, and went a perfect 13-of-13 Tuesday. If the Tigers shoot their average, they make 10 and miss three.

It was that close:addPenn's one make, and Princeton's three misses, and you have a different story on this page.

Instead, Princeton's Dan Mavraides goes back to Central Jersey as the hero, after he drained -- you guessed it -- four free throws in the final 28 seconds to pushthe Tigerspast Penn and give them a share of second place in the Ivy League this year (13-14 overall, 8-6 Ivies). For Penn, meanwhile, a season with heightened expectations ends with a frustrating 10-18 mark overall, 6-8 in the Ancient Eight.

Zack Rosen led the way for Penn, scoring 13 points, grabbing five rebounds dishing off five assists -- exactly his Ivy-leading average for the season -- and collecting five steals. However, what he will likely remember is the game's final play, when he got the ball with 4.4 seconds on the clock, drove just past half-court, and took a long, potentially game-tying three that was no good as the buzzer sounded. Harrison Gaines scored 12 points, while Jack Eggleston and Justin Reilly scored seven apiece.

For Princeton, Mavraides' foul shots capped a 17-point night that led all scorers, while Pawel Buczak scored 15 points (going 7-of-7 at the foul line) and Douglas Davis added 10. The Tigers won despite grabbing just 23 rebounds in the game (to 36 for Penn).

The Penn-Princeton rivalry is storied, mostly because of its importance in the Ivy League -- for so many years, theQuaker and Tigersdominated the Ancient Eight. The last few years have been an exception, and on Tuesday night the crowd provided evidence; with Penn on spring break,it was announced at 4,087, a little less than half of the 8,722 that typically jam the old barn for this showdown. However, those fans saw agame that had all the elements of a typical Penn-Princeton classic. Neither team ever held more than a six-point lead, there were 11 lead changes (eight in the second half).

Princeton hit back-to-back three-pointers with 13 minutes left in the second half to take a 38-32 lead, but Rosen responded with a trey to halve that deficit, then another that turned a five-point game into 42-40 with 10:36 to go. Eggleston hit a foul shot at the exact midpoint of the second stanza, and then Gaines knocked down a layup to put Penn back up, 43-42. after two Gaines foul shots, the score was 45-42 and Penn was on a 13-4 run.

Princeton answered, but it took awhile. Buczak hit a layup with 7:26 to play, and then another came nearly two minutes later to push the Tigers ahead, 47-46. On Princeton's next possession, Buczak hit two more free throws and it was 48-45. A minute later, Marcus Schroeder answered a Gaines bucket with a conventional three-point play, and the Tigers were up 51-47.

Now Penn answered. Gaines scored again on a jumper, and then after Buczak hit two more free throws Rob Belcore drained a three-pointer to make it 53-52. Patrick Saunders put Princeton back up by three with a corner jumper, but Rosen made good on two foul shots with 2:22 left. After both teams missed chances to score, Penn took the lead with just under a minute to play when, on a set play, Rosen found Eggleston in the lane and the sophomore threw it down.

On Princeton's possession, Mavraides got free in the lane, but was fouled hard by Eggleston before he could get the shot off. Didn't matter -- Mavraides made the foul shots. Penn came down, ran a set, and with the game clock inside of 10 seconds Eggleston was given the ball with an open look from beyond the arc. It did not fall, and Mavraides got the board and was fouled.

You know the rest.

Prior to the game, Penn honored the Class of 2009 with a ceremonythat included the families of players Aron Cohen, Kevin Egee, Cameron Lewis and Brennan Votel as well as student managers James Billmyer and Sal Filipello.

Download: Penn28 (Princeton).pdf