NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team hit a massive scoring drought that spanned the two halves on Friday night, and that proved too much to overcome as the Quakers lost at Yale, 69-54.
With the loss, Penn fell to 6-14 overall and 3-3 in Ivy League play. Yale remained tied for first place in the Ivy standings with Harvard, both at 6-1, and the Bulldogs improved to 12-9 overall.
Both teams struggled to manufacture much offense in the first half. Penn held Yale without a point for nearly seven minutes, from the 16-minute mark until just more than nine minutes were left, but could only gain a four-point advantage during the Bulldogs’ drought. However, the Quakers advanced their lead to as many as eight points when Tony Bagtas drove for a layup, then Tony Hicks followed a missed layup by Miles Jackson-Cartwright for the putback.
That forced a Yale timeout, but it turned out to be well-spent. There were 15 points scored the rest of the half after that, and the Bulldogs scored 13 of them. Out of the timeout, Armani Cotton knocked down a three-pointer and then set Eli out on a nine-point unanswered run that pushed them in front, 21-20.
Bagtas ended the run with a short jumper, but that turned out to be Penn’s last points of the half. Meanwhile, Jesse Pritchard hit a jumper and then Cotton and Javier Duren hit foul shots to make it 25-22 at the break.
The second half picked up where the first left off, Yale scoring the first six points to push its lead to 31-22 (and its run to 19-2). Hicks finally got the Quakers on the board nearly four minutes into the period with a pair of free throws, but Yale responded with the next six points to make it 37-24 with just over 13 minutes left in the game.
Hicks again scored, this time on a jumper, for Penn’s first field goal in 9:15 of game action, but Yale again put together the next six points and the score was 43-26. At this point the Bulldogs’ run was a staggering 31-6, and there seemed no hope for the visitors.
Penn made a game of it. Down, 45-29, the Quakers scored eight in a row, pushed by a three-pointer from Hicks and then Jackson-Cartwright’s only field goal of the night. That left Penn down by just eight, at 45-37, and then after a Matt Townsend free throw ended the skid for Yale Dougherty immediately laid one in at the other end to get the Red and Blue within seven with 8:04 still to play.
Penn kept within single digits for several minutes after that, and even got within six points with 4:44 to play on a pair of Hicks free throws. However, Justin Sears got Dougherty to leave his feet on Yale’s next possession and took him to the rack where he was fouled by the Penn senior and made both foul shots. At the other end, Dau Jok-- who had earlier hit a three-point shot-- was off the mark this time from beyond the arc, and on Yale’s next possession Sears finished a Brandon Sherrod miss to push the Bulldogs back up by 10.
Following a timeout, another Penn turnover -- the Quakers committed 20 in the game -- led to Sears being fouled by Jackson-Cartwright and making both freebies. Javier Duren ended the knockout run by hitting a free throw with 2:17 left that made the score 58-45. Penn would not get within single digits again.
Hicks finished the game with 19 points to lead Penn, while Fran Dougherty had 10. Darien Nelson-Henry had 12 points and eight rebounds.
For Yale, which shot an incredible 45 foul shots, Sears ended the night with 25 points and seven rebounds while Armani Cotton had 17 points and 11 boards. Duren finished with 11 despite going 2-of-8 from the field.
Penn returns to action on Saturday night, traveling to Providence to face Brown at 6 p.m. The Bears fell to Princeton on Friday night, 69-65, falling to 12-9 overall and 4-3 in Ivy play.