PHILADELPHIA - How bizarre was the latest chapter of the Penn-Princeton rivalry, won Tuesday night by the Quakers, 70-65? Let us count the ways.
*The teams combined to commit 52 fouls and took 57 foul shots.
*Penn's Brian Grandieri was ejected from the game after not one but two technical fouls; they were the first two of the senior's collegiate career.
*Princeton had not one but two players credited with six fouls in the game, as they were hit with technicals AFTER fouling out of the contest.
*Three players were whistled for technical fouls with 9.3 seconds left in the game -- on two completely separate plays.
*Penn, anotoriously poor three-point shooting team, had more treys on the night(5) than Princeton (3). To put that in perspective, the Tigers entered Tuesday night's contest averaging nearly eight threes per game, while the Quakers were averaging less than five.
*The Tigers had a chance to tie the game on a final possession with 9.3 seconds left on the clock, but never got the ball inbounds becausethey werecalled for an intentional technical foul 65 feet away from where the ball was.
*Just three nights after combining for 42 points at Cornell, Andreas Schreiber and Harrison Gaines were shut out against the Tigers.
*Penn was led in scoring by juniors Kevin Egee (15 points) and Aron Cohen(14), who between them had two double-figure scoring games in their collegiate careers -- one each. Egee entered Tuesday's game averaging 3.2 points per game this season, while Cohen was averaging 2.4 ppg.
But maybe the most bizarre aspect of the Quakers' win? Penn, the worst foul-shooting team in the Ivy League entering the contest, won this game at the charity stripe. They did not miss a free throw in the first half, going 15-for-15, and ended the night 31-of-36 (86.1 percent).
That proved to be enough to overcome a game Princeton squad in front of 6,243 fans who braved the elements to get to The Palestra and witness this historic rivalry.
Penn has now beaten Princeton three-straight times, and 11 of the last 13 times. Overall, the Quakers lead the series over the Tigers, 120-97. In addition, Penn's home winning streak in the Ivy League remains intact at 24 games, dating back to the start of the 2004-05 season.
A pair of freshmen, Jack Eggleston and Remy Cofield, aided Egee and Cohen's cause by knocking down 11 points each. And the experienced senior, Grandieri, once again filled the box score as is his wont -- he had nine points, a game-high eight rebounds, and four assists in 33 minutes.
Zach Finley led four Princeton players in double figures with 15 points, while Kevin Steuerer had 13 and Lincoln Gunn and Noah Savage had 12 apiece.
Penn took a 20-19 lead with nine minutes left in the first half on a pair of foul shots by Justin Reilly(of course)and never trailed again in the contest. However, there was more than enough drama for the spirited Palestra crowd, especially in the second half.
The Quakers led, 35-30, at the break, and expanded the lead to as many as eight (46-38) with 13 minutes left in the contest.
With the score 53-48, and seven minutes remaining, Princeton's Marcus Schroeder got inside and hit a layup while being fouled by Egee. he made the foul shot to bring the Tigers within two points.
Gunn fouled Cohen, who made both free throws (of course) but Kyle Koncz knocked down a three-pointer that cut Penn's lead to one, at 55-54.
The teams traded baskets after that, and then after Cohen missed a three-pointer the Tigers got out on a two-on-one break and looked like they would take the lead. On this bizarre night, however, Gunn's pass to Steuerer was mishandled, and instead Penn came back down the floor and got a conventional three-point play from Egee that pushedits lead back to four (60-56).
The Tigers clawed back, as Schroeder found Gunn for a layup and then Savage hit 1-of-2 free throws (by missing one, though, Princeton was again denied tying the contest). The grizzled veteran, Grandieri, responded for Penn with yet another clutch basket, this time just inside the lane, with 2:26 to go. That made the score 62-59.
Finley got the points back for Princeton with a jumper of his own just inside of two minutes, but shortly afterward Koncz fouled Eggleston and he made both foul shots (of course). As the game neared the minute mark, Finley missed a jumper, but Savage was able to get the putback and it was a one-point game entering the final minute of regulation.
What a wacky final minute.
After a timeout, Penn worked the clock down, and as the shot clock neared its expiration Egee was off on a three-point shot. Savage got the rebound, and suddenly the Tigers were playing for the win.
Following a Princeton timeout, the Tigers' effort came from Savage beyond the arc, just in front of the Princeton bench. The shot went long, and Cofield snared the board. He was immediately fouled by Finley with 9.3 seconds to play, and when Grandieri stepped between them to register his opinion of the severity of Finley's foul both he and Finley were hit with technicals. What added to the bizarre situation was that Finley had fouled out on the original foul, and for Grandieri it marked his second T -- he also had the one in the first half -- which automatically ejected him.
After order was restored, Cofield calmly hit both free throws (of course) to make the score 66-63, at which point Penn called timeout. Following the break, Princeton went to inbound the ball needing to go all the way down the floor to tie. Before it was even inbounded, the whistle blew in front of the Tiger bench, nearly 70 feet away from where the ball was at the time.
Savage, who was being guarded by Eggleston, was whistled not just for a foul, but for an intentional technical. That gave HIM six fouls overall, put Eggleston on the line for two shots, and gave the ball to the Quakers following the free throws. Eggleston hit one of the two, making it a two-possession game, and then on the inbounds Egee was fouled and he made one to make the score 68-63.
Koncz dropped a layup in with just under two seconds remaining, and when Princeton fouled Michael Kach on the ensuing inbound he drained both shots (of course) to put the final score at 70-65.
Penn is back in action two more times this weekend, hosting Brown Friday night at 7 p.m. and Yale Saturday night at 6 p.m. The Quakers' game with the Bulldogs will be televised live on ESPN Classic.