PHILADELPHIA - A minute into the second half, Saturday of the third Ivy weekend for the Penn Quakers was looking eerily similar to Friday. After falling behind by eight to Yale midway through the first half, the Quakers had been able to claw their way back into it, finding themselves down 30-29 at halftime the same score as intermission against Brown on Friday. And like Brown the night before, Yale exploded out of the break, opening up a seven point lead just over a minute into the period.
After head coach Glen Miller called time out to stop the bleeding, any similarities between Friday's 66-61 defeat at the hands of Brown and Saturday's tilt with Yale could not be found. Behind the hot shooting of freshman Tyler Bernardini and sophomore Justin Reilly, the Quakers ran out to a 78-65 victory over the Bulldogs. Penn (9-15, 4-3 Ivy) utilized a 23-1 run in the midst of an 11:36 stretch during which Yale (10-12, 4-4) hit only one field goal.
Bernardini led all scorers with 19 points, all in the second half. Reilly finished with 15, a career high. His previous best was 12, which he last accomplished at Monmouth on December 8. All but two of his points were in the second stanza.
After a free throw got Bernardini on the board, his jumper with 16:19 left gave the Quakers a 39-38 lead, their first since the opening minutes of the game. Bernardini and Reilly combined for 11 of the Quakers' next 13 points as they jumped out to a commanding 52-39 lead midway through the period.
A key to Penn's success during that stretch was their ability to take the ball to the rack and get themselves to the foul line. The Quakers were 22-26 from the line on the night, 20-23 in the second half. Bernardini led the way, shooting 10-11 from the charity stripe. Penn was able to draw a fifth personal from Yale's center Matt Kyle with more than 10 minutes remaining in the game. Kyle, who finished with four points and two rebounds, is averaging nearly eight and five a night. Caleb Holmes also fouled out for Yale.
Fittingly, a Bernardini free throw gave the Quakers a 61-41 advantage with 7:52 to play, Penn's biggest lead of the game.
Senior Brian Grandieri and freshman Jack Eggleston also finished in double figures; each put up 12. Eggleston led the Quakers with seven rebounds as Penn outrebounded Yale, 33-30.
Yale ran out to a 16-8 lead early in the first half thanks to three consecutive treys from Alex Zampier, Eric Flato and Nick Holmes. The Quakers cut the lead to 16-14, but Yale rebounded and held off the Quakers as the half wound down. After Grandieri hit a jumper to pull the Quakers within a point at 30-29 with 2:09 to go in the half, both teams missed open shots with time winding down and the score held up going into the break.
The second half opened with Kyle, Zampier and Flato finding themselves free for layups to give the Bulldogs a 36-29 lead before Penn went on its run.
Yale could not get closer than 14 points behind the Quakers until their last possession of the game. Penn dominated the boards in the second half, outrebounding Yale 19-12. Reilly pulled down five boards in the period, while Bernardini grabbed four. Penn also hit on three of six shots from beyond the arc, improving upon a 1-for-5 effort in the first half.
Penn finished its home week 2-1 after defeating Princeton and falling to Brown. With only two home games remaining on the season, the Quakers will now hit the road. They will be in Hanover, N.H. next Friday to take on Dartmouth, and will then travel on to Harvard on Saturday. Both games are at 7 p.m. The Dartmouth game will be carried on Sports Talk 950, while Harvard can be heard on 88.5 WXPN and seen on CN8.