PHILADELPHIA - It was an emotional night at The Palestra, as the University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team closed out the 2014-15 season by honoring its seniors. A good crowd was also on hand to honor head coach Jerome Allen, one of the all-time great Quakers who is stepping down following the season.
Penn’s opponent on Tuesday night, archrival Princeton, was in no mood for sentiment.
After conceding the game’s first eight points to the Quakers, the Tigers were simply too much. Penn kept it close until halftime, but Princeton broke it open early in the second half and cruised to a 73-52 win.
Penn ends the season with a 9-19 overall record, and will finish 4-10 in Ivy League play. Princeton, meanwhile, ends up an impressive third in the Ivy League at 9-5, and a youthful Tigers squad is eligible for postseason play at 16-14 overall.
Tony Hicks and Sam Jones opened the game with a pair of three-pointers, and then Mike Auger finished an Antonio Woods feed to put Penn up 8-0. Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson called a timeout, and Princeton responded out of the huddle. Hans Brase scored on a jumper right away, and before you knew it Henry Caruso was hitting a pair of three-point baskets to push the Tigers into an 18-15 lead.
Woods hit a jumper in the paint, and then free throws by Matt Howard and Camryn Crocker moved Penn back in front, 19-18, and then Crocker knocked down a trey after a Spencer Weisz tip-in to make the score 22-19. At that point, Caruso knocked down a jumper to tie the score, then Brase hit a pair of free throws and Weisz hit a three. The Tigers never trailed again.
Penn had some life when the teams went to the locker room for halftime, as Antonio Woods went the length of the floor and hit a shot in the lane at the buzzer to make the score 37-31. However, the Quakers did not hit a field goal in the second half until just 8:25 remained, as Darien Nelson-Henry hit a layup in the lane, and those were just the team’s third and fourth points in the period.
Princeton took advantage; the Tigers scored 20 points before Nelson-Henry’s bucket and were up 57-33 when he finally scored. The lead only grew from there, to 27 points, before settling on the 21-point margin.
Woods had eight points and three assists, and led Penn in scoring as the Quakers placed no players in double figures. Hicks and Darnell Foreman added seven each.
For Princeton, Brase had 18 points and nine rebounds while Weisz recorded 16 points and eight rebounds. Caruso added 15 points, and Clay Wilson scored 11.