Men's Basketball Stopped by Harvard, 56-50

Box Score (PDF)

PHILADELPHIA - In talking about Harvard's national ranking and Ivy League championship opportunities, one of the things that people touch upon is the Crimson's depth. On a night when Harvard's leading scorer did not hit a field goal and the Ivy League's defending Player of the Year matched him, that depth certainly shown through.

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing Corbin Miller.

Who is Corbin Miller? Why, he's a freshman on the Harvard roster. He stands 6-foot-2 and hails from Sandy, Utah. He entered Friday's game averaging 3.4 points per game.

A nearly full Palestra saw him go for 17 on Friday, including eight in a row at a critical juncture of the second half of what would end up a 56-50 Harvard win.

Penn dropped to 12-11 overall, 4-2 in Ivy League play. Harvard, ranked 25th in the latest AP poll and 21stby the coaches,improved to 21-2 overall and is now 7-0 in conference play.

A local scribe, long a basketball observer and reporter, said it best afterward: "The more I watch this game, the less I understand it."

Zack Rosen scored 16 points to once again lead Penn, but he needed a season-high 21 shots to get there (he made six). Tyler Bernardini, the Quakers' second-leading scorer, matched Harvard's Laurent Rivard and Keith Wright with a zero in the field-goal column and finished with two points.

With all that going on, it was an eight-point game with just more than two minutes to go when Rosen hit Rob Belcore for a layup to make the score 51-45. Miller then missed a three -- a rarity in the second half -- and the Quakers had a chance to get within a possession. However, the Crimson locked it down on D, and Rosen's long three-pointer came with Curry in his face and was well short as the shot-clock horn went off.

Harvard ran the shot clock inside a minute, but Rivard lost control of the ball and Rosen came up with it. He and Belcore got a 2-on-1 situation, and Rosen fed his classmate for an easy layup. It was 51-47, and hopes for a miracle finish were still intact.

Penn fouled Miller on the inbounds, though, and with a pressurized 1-and-1 on tap he buried both. Rosen answered with a three-pointer that might have been taken from Penn Park that found nothing but net. It was a one-possession game, with 23.7 seconds still to play.

Miller was again fouled. This time he shot two, and while he missed the first he made the second to get the Harvard lead back to 54-50. Penn worked the ball around and it ended up with Bernardini in front of the Quaker bench. He launched a three, and it was off the mark. The ball hit the floor and became a free-for-all, eventually landing Casey's hands. He was fouled with 1.6 seconds left and hit both to set the score at 56-50.

Penn got off to a good start on Friday night, as Zack Rosen hit a jumper and Miles Cartwright drained a three-pointer on the Quakers' first two possessions. As it turned out, that would be Penn's last three for awhile -- the Red and Blue missed 11 of the other 12 they took in the half.

Despite that significant stat, it was still a three-point Penn lead (17-14) with 6:44 to go. At that point, though, Harvard went on an 11-point run that spanned more than four minutes and left the Crimson up by eight. Four different players scored in the streak.

Marin Kukoc hit a three and Steve Rennard made a foul shot to get four of the points back, and then Rosen knocked down a jumper. That countered three free throws by Harvard in the final two minutes and the Crimson's halftime lead was 28-23.

Harvard had every chance to put this game away early in the second half, but could not do it. Penn went more than four minutes without a point to start the period, but the Crimson could only gain two on its advantage. Penn then whittled away at the difference, and eliminated it completely when Cartwright drained a three from the right wing. That made the score 30-30 with 12 minutes to go. The Palestra was bananas.

Both teams had three-point shots to regain the lead that missed -- Kukoc might have blown the roof off the place if his had gone down -- before Miller knocked down a triple for Harvard right in front of its bench.

Penn struggled to score at that point, and Harvard took advantage. Steve Moundou-Missi rebounded a Harvard miss, and that led to a nice move on the block by him for an easy score. The next time down, Oliver McNally hit a runner from the right side that extended the Crimson lead to seven.

Rosen briefly stopped the run with a jumper in the lane, but Harvard came back with buckets by Kyle Casey (17 points) and Miller that made the score 41-32 with 8:16 to play. That forced Penn coach Jerome Allen to take a timeout. Rosen hit a shot out of that timeout, but Miller drained another trey -- his third of the night -- and it was 44-34 as the game went inside seven minutes.

Out of the media timeout, Rosen hit a long three. It was matched at the other end by Miller. An energetic Penn possession ended with Mike Howlett hitting a putback and the ensuing free throw after he was fouled.

Harvard got one of the points back on a Moundou-Missi foul shot, but Henry Brooks tipped home a missed Rosen trey, and it was a 47-41 game with 4:46 to play.

Wright, last year's Ivy Player of the Year, had just two points but made his presence felt with 13 rebounds. Moundou-Missi had nine points and eight boards. Cartwright ended the night with 12 points, while Fran Dougherty had four points and a team-high seven rebounds.

Penn will host Dartmouth Saturday night to complete the weekend action. The Quakers and Big Green will tip off at 7 p.m. at The Palestra.

***

Penn-Harvard Game Notes: Penn lost to Harvard for the sixth straight time (seventh in eight meetings), and the fourth straight time at The Palestra. Both streaks are firsts in the series ... Penn held Harvard's leading scorer (Laurent Rivard) and last year's Ivy League Player of the Year (Keith Wright) without a field goal in the game. They combined for four foul shots ... Harvard shot just 34.7 percent from the field, becoming the 14th of Penn's 23 opponents to shoot worse than 45 percent (ninth to shoot below 40 percent) ... Penn set season lows in points (50), field goals (18), and field-goal percentage (32.1) ... Penn also set a positive low, in turnovers (7) ... Senior guard Zack Rosen scored 16 points, his team-leading 21st double-figure scoring game of 2011-12 (seventh in a row) and the 81st of his career ... Rosen led Penn in scoring for the 13th time this season ... Rosen took 21 shots in Friday's game, tying his own career high (also 1/20/10 vs. La Salle) which is also a Penn player high in the Jerome Allen coaching era ... Sophomore guard Miles Cartwright scored 12 points, his 11th double-figure scoring game of 2011-12 and 28th career ... Another sophomore, Fran Dougherty, finished with a team-leading seven rebounds, one shy of his season/career high. This was the first time Dougherty led Penn outright in the board category in a game; he had tied for the honor three times previously ... Sophomore guard Steve Rennard tied a season/career high with two assists, while freshman forward Henry Brooks tied a season/career high with two blocked shots ... Senior guard Tyler Bernardini had his lowest point total (2) since being shut out at Pitt on Nov. 27, 2010, and was held without a field goal for just the fifth time in his career-the most recent being that Pitt game.

Record Book Watch: Senior guard Zack Rosen had six assists, giving him 552 for his career which is the program's all-time record ... Rosen played 39 minutes, giving him 3,817 for his career which is also a program mark ... Rosen has 1,540 career points which puts him sixth on Penn's all-time scoring list. (Ron Haigler is fifth, with 1,552 from 1973-75.) ... Senior guard Tyler Bernardini has 1,408 career points which puts him 12th on Penn's all-time scoring list. (Mark Zoller is 11th, with 1,429 points from 2004-07.) ... Rosen has 201 career three-point field goals which is tied with Matt Langel (1997-2000) for fourth all-time. (Jeff Schiffner is third with 220 from 2001-04.) ... Bernardini has 191 career treys, which is seventh all-time. (Garett Kreitz is sixth with 199 from 1995-98.) ... Rosen has made 389 career foul shots which is sixth all-time. (Paul Romanczuk is fifth, with 394 from 1996-99.) ... Rosen has 140 career steals which is sixth all-time (Zoller is fifth with 141 from 2004-07), while Bernardini has 126 steals which is ninth (Paul Chambers from 1989-92 and Shawn Trice from 1992-95 are tied for seventh with 134.) ... Rosen has started 105 games in his career which is tied with Ugonna Onyekwe (2000-03) for third all-time. (Jack Eggleston is second, with 111 starts from 2008-11.) ... Bernardini has made 99 career starts which is tied with Koko Archibong for eighth all-time. (Current head coach Jerome Allen is seventh, with 100 starts from 1992-95.) ... Bernardini has played 3,104 career minutes which is eighth all-time. (Langel is seventh, with 3,245 minutes from 1997-2000.)

Download: Rave Report.pdf