PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team played arguably its most complete game of the season on Saturday night, and the result was a 79-72 victory over Cornell that was not nearly as close as the score might indicate.
Penn (9-18, 4-9 Ivy League) earns its first weekend sweep on the final weekend of Ivy League play. The Quakers will look to finish the season with three wins in a row when they host Princeton at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday night, following the Penn-Princeton women’s game which tips off at 5 p.m. Both games will be televised live on the CBS Sports Network.
Penn held as much as a 20-point lead in the second half, and Cornell (13-17, 5-9) was still down 12 with 42 seconds left before a final rally set the seven-point margin.
Penn shot 54 percent from the field in the game, draining nine three-pointers, and outrebounded the Big Red 32-28. Perhaps most impressively, the Quakers -- which entered the game last in the Ivy League in assist/turnover ratio, by some margin -- dished off 20 assists (one shy of the team’s season high) and committed just 9 turnovers (one above the team’s season low).
The Red and Blue also showed a balanced attack on Saturday, as six different players hit a double-digit number in the scoring column. Antonio Woods was the ringleader; he collected his first collegiate double-double as he scored a team-high 15 points and dished out 11 assists (against just two turnovers). Sam Jones hit three more three-pointers en route to 13 points, while Darien Nelson-Henry scored 12 and Matt Howard added 11. Darnell Foreman and Tony Hicks scored 10 each.
(Hicks and Howard scored all of their points in the decisive second half, while Jones had 10 of his 13 after halftime.)
Penn used a 14-0 run late in the first half to turn a three-point deficit into an 11-point advantage (27-16). However, Cornell was able to get back within two points by halftime.
Penn would run the lead out again in the second half, and this time Cornell had no answer. The Quakers used an 11-point run early in the period, turning a two-point lead into a 13-point bulge. Shonn Miller (23 points, 8 rebounds) hit a pair of free throws for the Big Red, but Penn responded with nine in a row. In all, it was a 20-2 run that made the score 53-33 with 12 minutes to play. Until the game’s final minute, the closest Cornell got after that was 14 points.
Wil Bathurst added 20 points for Cornell, while Galal Cancer scored 10.