ITHACA, N.Y. - With Tony Hicks forced to sit out Saturday night’s game at Cornell, Quakers head coach Jerome Allen was forced to make a decision on a new fifth starter against the Big Red.
He selected senior Dau Jok.
It was a wise choice.
Jok entered Saturday’s game with 27 points this season. He opened Penn’s scoring with a pair of three-pointers and never looked back on Saturday, finishing the game with 21 (18 of them on six treys).
Penn needed every one of them, escaping the Big Red’s Newman Arena with a 69-65 victory.
So Penn improves to 8-19 overall, 5-8 in Ivy League play heading into Tuesday’s regular-season finale at Princeton. Cornell, meanwhile, ended its season at 2-26 overall, 1-13 in Ivy play.
The score was tied at 40-40 early in the second half, before Fran Dougherty (14 points) took over and gave Penn a lead it would relinquish. He scored six straight to put the Quakers up 46-40, then answered a Nolan Cressler layup with another jumper that made it 48-42.
Cornell got back within two, at 50-48, when Cressler drained a three-pointer. Jok responded with a trey of his own, though, to push it back up to five. Two minutes later, Jok again drained a three-pointer that again pushed a two-point lead to a five-point advantage with 6:47 left.
Nearly two minutes went by without any scoring, before Jok came up with a steal on Devin Cherry. Penn took a timeout, and out of the break Henry Brooks drained a jumper from the left corner that put the Quakers in front by seven, 58-51.
Another minute went by before Cherry scored to get Cornell going again, but Dougherty got the ball on the block and converted. With less than two minutes left, Cressler got Cornell within four points, but Miles Jackson-Cartwright nailed a jumper. Then Cressler turned it over, and Dougherty again scored inside with less than a minute to play.
Cornell got within four points on a pair of occasions in the final minute, but Penn made its free throws -- the Quakers were 19-of-21 from the charity stripe for the game -- and held off the Big Red.
Jok had seven rebounds, which also led Penn on Saturday night. Jackson-Cartwright ended the game with 15 points and five assists, while Dougherty finished with 14 points. Steve Rennard had six assists.
Penn will close its season on Tuesday night at Princeton; the Quakers and the archrival Tigers will tip off at 8 p.m. in Jadwin Gym, the second half of a doubleheader after the Penn and Princeton women play for the Ivy League title at 5:30.