Men's Basketball Stunned by Columbia, 56-55

Box Score (PDF)

NEW YORK CITY -When Columbia's Brian Grimes picked up a loose ball in front ofhis team'sbench, spun, then rainbowed a jumper that somehow dropped through the basket with 2.7 seconds left, the Lions had a 56-55 lead over the Penn men's basketball team.

And Penn fans had to be thinking, Wow...I feel like I have been here before.

And when, after a timeout,Rob Belcore's long inbounds pass was grabbed by Jack Eggleston over two Lion defenders, he landed and Quaker fans had to be thinking, Wow...this is weird.

Because Eggleston landed almost exactly in the spot where, a year ago, Kevin Egee tookan Egglestonpass, turned, and feathered a miraculous jumper that gave the Quakers a crazy win over the Lions.

With the chance for lightning to strike twice, Eggleston was ill-positioned. Having had to come all the way across the court to get the ball in the first place, his momentum was taking him away from the basket. Add to that the fact that two Columbia defenders were all over him, and the combination was too much. Eggleston's shot was short, the buzzer went off, and this year it was the Lions who were running onto the court in celebration.

It was an unfortunate result for the Quakers (5-19, 4-6 Ivy), who had a few chances to put this game away in the second half but could not shake the pesky Lions (10-15, 4-7 Ivy).

A back-and-forth first half ended with Penn up, 30-27, and then the offense flowed through the first few minutes of the second half which allowed the Quakers to go up, 37-29.

Just like that, though, the Lions answered. Columbia scored nine of the next 11 points, moving within 39-38, but Penn got it back up to five points when Darren Smith drained a trey with 10:58 left to make the score 45-40.

Columbia's Niko Scott, who torched the Quakers for 29 points in the first meeting, singlehandedly led the Lions back. His back-to-back treys pushed Columbia into the lead, at 48-45, and then he answered an Eggleston foul shot with another free throw. The score was 49-46 with six minutes to go.

Dan Monckton (team-high 17 points) took control for Penn. He finished a layup, and then a minute later he took a kickout from Rosen and drained a trey from right in front of the Quaker bench, pushing the Red and Blue into a 51-49 lead.

Matt Johnson got one of those points back for Columbia, and then after a Penn turnover Noruwa Agho was fouled and made both freebies to put the Lions back up, 52-51. Once again, Monckton was the remedy, as he drained a three from the opposite corner with 2:36 left.

Penn had a chance to extend its lead after Columbia turned it over, but Belcore was rushed into a three and it did not fall. Another Lion turnover led to a missed shot by Zack Rosen, which Mike Howlett unsuccessfully tried to put back in one motion.

Columbia came back down, and had three chances to tie the game. The first two were off, but the third was good as Grimes put back an Agho miss to tie the score at 54. Out of a timeout, Penn ran a clearout for Eggleston, who was fouled as he went to the basket. He made the first and missed the second, putting Penn up by one.

Columbia had a chance to go for the win, but elected to shoot quickly and got John Daniels into a position where he was fouled by Howlett in the act of shooting. Daniels missed both, though, and Eggleston corralled the rebound. He was quickly fouled, and his front end of a 1-and-1 fell short and into the hands of Grimes. He got the ball to Kevin Bulger, who raced down the right side of the court. A Penn player got a hand on it, shaking it loose, and three players dove after it before it landed in Grimes' hands to set up his winner.

Rosen finished the game with 16 points and five assists, while Eggleston had 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds. For Columbia, Agho finished with 23 points, Scott had 12, and Grimes finished the game with 10 points and eight boards.

Penn returns to action Saturday night at Cornell. The Big Red defeated Princeton Friday night, moving into a two-game lead in the Ivy League standings ahead of the Tigers and Harvard. That means Cornell can clinch at least a share of the Ivy title Saturday night with a win over the Quakers, and if both Princeton and Harvard lose (at Columbia and at home vs. Yale, respectively) the Big Red will clinch their third straight NCAA Tournament bid. Tipoff at Newman Arena is 7 p.m.

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Penn Game Notes:Penn lost a one-point game for the first time since March 7, 2006, a 60-59 overtime loss at Princeton; the last time the Quakers lost a one-point game in regulation was Dec. 8, 2004, a 52-51 loss at Temple ... Friday night'swin gave Columbia a season sweep of Penn for 2009-10; the last time the Lions swept the Quakers was 1967-68 ... Penn shot 11-of-17 (64.7 percent) from the foul line, its worst performance at the line since Monmouth on December 12 (7 of 11, 63.6 percent) ... Penn and Columbia both finished the game with 26 rebounds; the Quakers have matched or bettered their opponent in that category in seven of the last 11 games ... Junior Dan Monckton scored 17 points to lead Penn, the second time this season he has led the Quakers in scoring in a game ... Monckton has scored 35 points in Penn's last two games, and has hit double figures in seven of the Quakers' last 14 contests ... Sophomore Zack Rosen, who entered the weekend leading the Ivy League in conference scoring, had 16 points for his 10th straight double-figure performance; Rosen has reached double digits in 21 of Penn's last 22 games, with the lone exception being his eight-point performance against Saint Joseph's on Jan. 25 ... Rosen also had five assists, the 13th time he has had that many in a game this season ... Rosen went 4-of-4 from the foul line, and enters Saturday's game at Cornell having hit 13 in a row over the last three games ... Junior Jack Eggleston scored 10 points, his seventh straight double-figure scoring game and 19th this season ... Eggleston also led Penn with seven rebounds, the 11th time this season he has led the Quakers in that category ... Sophomore Rob Belcore was held scoreless for the first time in nine games, but dished out four assists for the seventh time this season .... After playing just 13 combined minutes last weekend, sophomore Mike Howlett played 23 minutes Friday night and had seven points and four rebounds ... Senior Darren Smith had five points, giving him 14 in two games against Columbia this season.

Download: Penn24 (@Columbia).pdf