PHILADELPHIA - Less than 24 hours after finding out they had lost one of their team leaders for the remainder of the season, the University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team put together one of its most inspired performances of the season Saturday night against archrival Princeton at The Palestra.
It wasn’t enough. The Quakers had sizable leads late in the second half, and again in overtime, but both times the Tigers clawed back and in the end they escaped The Palestra with a 73-71 win in the Ivy League opener for both teams.
With the loss, Penn fell to 6-8 overall. Princeton improved to 10-4.
Penn’s lead with 64-53 coming out of the final media timeout of the second half, but Princeton roared back with nine straight points in less than two minutes, and then answered Jake Silpe’s bucket with four more points to tie the score at 66-66. Penn had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but a scrambled play ended up with the ball in senior Darien Nelson-Henry’s hands and his runner hit off the backboard and the rim to send the game to overtime.
In the extra session, Penn scored the first five points when Darnell Foreman hit a layup and Jackson Donahue knocked down a three-pointer. Again, Princeton responded. The Tigers scored the game’s last eight points – all at the free-throw line – and that proved to be enough.
Penn had its chances. Silpe missed a jumper with the Quakers up 71-68, and then Howard missed a trey and Silpe had a layup that just couldn’t find its way over the rim when the score was 71-70. After Princeton took the lead, Silpe was stripped as he drove the lane in the final seconds, and then Foreman’s layup at the buzzer which would have tied the game rimmed out.
It was an unfortunate sequence for Silpe, who stepped into the breach in Antonio Woods’ absence and put together easily his finest performance of the season with 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Donahue, meanwhile, had his third-straight double-figure scoring game with 16 points. Nelson-Henry finished with a team-high 17 points and had seven boards.
Princeton was led by Amir Bell, who had 28 points. Spencer Weisz and Devin Cannady scored 10 points each, while Henry Caruso had eight points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Penn is off until January 20, when the Quakers host Saint Joseph’s in the second half of a Big 5 doubleheader at the Palestra. La Salle and Temple will play in the first game that night, which will tip off at 7 p.m.
Download: PRINCETON 1.pdf