The Pennsylvania Quakers (19-12, 11-3 Ivy) came into the game with high hopes of making it to the tournament, but their dreams were quickly dashed by last year’s Ivy league champions, the Princeton Tigers.
Princeton forward Ian Hummer scored 18 points and recorded 10 rebounds while leading his team to a 62-52 win. This left Penn one game back in the Ivy League regular season standings, and gave Harvard it’s first NCAA Tournament Appearance since 1946.
Penn needed the win to face Harvard in a one-game playoff for the Ivy’s automatic bid. However, they started out of the gates slowly and were down by 17 early. It was an insuperable amount, even though they cut the lead at halftime to 10.
Penn came out of the half and played with renewed vigor, and a Fran Dougherty tip-in with 12:22 to play cut the Tigers’ lead to 3, 34-31. Dougherty finished with 8 points and 7 rebounds off the bench.
Princeton countered with a 7-0 run, capped off by a Douglas Davis 3-pointer, and Penn never came back. Davis and Patrick Saunders joined Hummer as the only three Tigers players in double-figures, with Davis and Saunders scoring 12 and 10, respectively.
Penn never led, and Princeton went on to win it’s 17th straight conference game at home. They finished the game on an 11-12 tear from the line, continually stuffing Quaker runs with good foul shooting.
Penn coach Jerome Allen was not happy with the way his defense, which had led them through most of the season, failed against the Princeton offense.
“How can the team playing for nothing, play harder than the team that is supposedly playing for something? That’s really what blew my mind. OK, the ball wasn’t going in but defensively they just got whatever they wanted.” said Allen.
Senior Zach Rosen, playing most likely his last game as a Quaker, scored 19 points and recorded 2 rebounds. However, it wasn’t the best way to end his Penn career, because he only shot 8-24 (33.3%), and his missed shots really crippled Penn late in the game. For his career, Rosen has averaged over 15 points and 5 assists, proving that he could be considered as one of the top players to play at Penn ever.
Other notable Penn players were Rob Belcore (9 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals), as well Miles Cartwright (11 points, 4 assists, and 3 steals).
For Princeton, Ian Hummer did it all with, adding 4 assists, 4 blocks, and 3 steals to his gaudy scoring and rebounding totals.
The best that Penn can hope for now is a miracle on Selection Sunday, but given their light schedule, dearth of quality wins, and several bad losses, it seems that this fantastic Quaker season has most likely come to an end.