PRINCETON, N.J. - The long history of the Penn-Princeton rivalry has been filled with last-gasp comebacks and unforgettable classics. Tuesday night's latest chapter was no exception. Unfortunately, there was no happy ending for Penn as the Quakersfell, 60-59, in overtime at Jadwin Gym after a near-miracle comeback attempt.
Penn (20-8, 12-2 Ivy League) scored just 12 points in the first half and trailed the Tigers (12-15, 10-4 Ivy League) by 16 at the break. But slowly and surely, the Quakers chipped away at the lead, and when Ibrahim Jaaber hit a layup with 37.9 seconds left to cut the deficit to three, it seemed like a brand-new Quaker team was on the floor compared to the one in the first half. And what happened next was the kind of thing you just can't make up.
Steve Danley stole the inbounds pass and outletted to Jaaber, who hit a layup with 30 seconds left to make it a one-point game. Then Princeton's Noah Savage made one of two free throws following after Danley fouled out, before Jaaber hittwo clutch free throws to tie the game for the first time since 0-0.Finally, Princeton's Scott Greenman missed a 10-foot jumper at the buzzer with a chance towin the game, sending Penn intoits second overtime situation in four days after winning 74-68 at Brown Saturday. It was vintage Jaaber --scoring six points in 38 seconds to save Penn's chances and force overtime.
Unfortunately, it would be the Quakers who relinquished the lead in overtime. After darting out to a four-point lead following Greg Kuchinski's layup with three minutes left, Penn wouldn't score again until Jaaber made one of two free throws with nine seconds left to put Penn up one. It was then that Scott Greenman came down the court, fed it to Conway under the basket, and Penn's comeback bid was ruined.
The Quakers are now 2-1 in overtime games this season. The game was the fifth Penn-Princeton tilt of the Fran Dunphy era to go to overtime, and the third in three years.
As for Jaaber, he ended up with a game-high 26 points after scoring just two in the first half -- 22 of them came in the second half. With a three-pointer midway through the second, Jaaber became the 33rd Quaker to join Penn's 1,000-point club (he ended the night with 1,011)
Virtually the entire Penn comeback in the second half took place without the services of Mark Zoller, who fouled out withmore thanseven minutes left after scoring 11 points. With Friedrich Ebede on the bench nursing an injury, and Steve Danley fouling out late in the game, the Quakers managed to nearly pull off the win with just two-thirds of their regular crew.
With the regular season now over, the Quakers can turn their sights on the NCAA tournament. Their opponent and site will be announced live on CBS at 6 p.m. Sunday.