PHILADELPHIA - For the second-straight night, the Penn men’s basketball team was involved in a game that came right down to the wire at The Palestra.
In fact, Saturday night’s contest against Dartmouth came right down to the final shot in the final seconds.
Down, 68-66, and with just a few seconds left on the clock, the ball went into the hands of the Big Green’s Elgin Fitzgerald. He put in a shot from right under the hoop that hung on the rim...and hung...and hung...before, somehow, falling off. The ball went to Dartmouth’s Alex Barnett, but because it had hung on the rim so long the horn went off before the Big Green junior had a chance at a putback.
That play saved the day for Penn junior Kevin Egee, who had a chance to put the Quakers up three points with 13 seconds to go but could only hit one of two foul shots. He then set up the final inbounds play by swatting a layup attempt by Dartmouth guard Michael Giovacchini.
With the win, the Quakers (7-12, 2-0) remain one of only three undefeated Ivy League teams (with 4-0 Cornell and 2-0 Princeton) and extended their Ivy League home winning streak to 23 games. In addition, Penn downed Dartmouth in The Palestra for the 11th straight season.
Dartmouth fell to 8-10, 1-3 in the Ivy League.
Penn only trailed two times in the game, at 4-2 and then when Barnett hit a pair of foul shots with 1:22 to go to give Dartmouth a 64-63 lead. The Quakers regained the advantage on its ensuing possession, when Brian Grandieri hit a jumper that bounced high off the rim and fell through with a little help from freshman Jack Eggleston.
Dartmouth worked the shot clock after that, but Johnathan Ball was stuffed on his jumper by Justin Reilly, who then rebounded the attempt and got it to Egee who was immediately fouled with 17 seconds to play. Egee hit both foul shots, making the score 67-64.
Penn’s Michael Kach was whistled for a foul on DeVon Mosley when the Big Green inbounded the ball, and Mosley hit both foul shots to make it a one-point game with 14 ticks left. Once again Egee was fouled when he took Penn’s inbounds, setting up the frantic final seconds.
It was a good win for Penn, which looked like it might have this one in the bag only to see Dartmouth storm back. The Quaker led by 12 at the half, and expanded it to as many as 16 (54-38) with 14 minutes left in the game. The lead was still 13 when the game reached the 10-minute mark, but Dartmouth used a 12-2 run soon after that to cut the game down from a 12-point margin to two, setting up the tense finish.
For Penn, the heroes were many. Eggleston scored a career-high 16 points, going 7-of-13 from the field. He also had six rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocked shots in filling the box score.
Brian Grandieri had another double-figure scoring game, with 10 points, and had six boards. Junior Cameron Lewis nearly recorded his first collegiate double-double, with nine points and 10 rebounds, while Egee finished with nine points, four rebounds, three blocked shots and two assists.
For Dartmouth, Barnett the Ivy League leader in scoring and rebounding had 18 points and six boards to go with three steals. Giovacchini was the only other Big Green player to reach double figures in scoring, with 12 points on the strength of three three-point baskets.
Penn travels next weekend for its first two Ivy League road games, hitting Columbia Friday night and Cornell Saturday night. Tipoff for both contests is slated for 7 p.m.