CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — In a hackfest which featured 55 personal fouls between both teams, the ability to capitalize at the charity stripe predictably played a significant role in the outcome of Monday night’s NIT Season Tip-Off opening round game between Penn and Delaware men’s basketball.
While the Blue Hens found twine on 28-for-38 free throws, the Quakers converted just 18-for-29. Unsurprisingly, Delaware prevailed, 84-69.
“That’s a basic part of basketball that people don’t put a lot of value and emphasis on,” Penn coach Jerome Allen said. “I think as a coach I need to do a much better job of getting our guys to the line and trying to create a game-like situation as best I can.”
But it wasn’t just the foul trouble that concerned Allen.
“The game is simple — you have to rebound the ball, you have to defend and you can’t turn it over,” he said. “For the most part, I just think we didn’t play with a certain sense of desperation right from the start.”
Indeed, the Quakers (1-1) were outplayed in nearly every facet of the game. The Hens (1-1) out-rebounded them 47-24, eclipsed the 40-point threshold in each half and forced 18 turnovers. They also committed seven fewer fouls than Penn did.
Though the first half was mostly back and forth, the Blue Hens ended the frame on a 13-4 run, forcing the Quakers into an eight-point deficit as they headed to the locker room.
Halftime couldn’t slow Delaware’s momentum either, and the team opened up its lead even further in the second, beginning with a 7-0 run to open up a 15-point advantage before Penn finally recorded a point.
“They got a lot of offensive rebounds, and we were fouling over the top a lot,” junior Fran Dougherty said of the team’s defensive breakdowns.
Three Penn players fouled out, including junior guard Miles Cartwright, who managed to stay on the floor for just 28 minutes. On 6-for-12 shooting, he scored 20 points on the night — second only to Dougherty’s game-high 21 — and also dished out five assists.
But his time on the bench cost the Quakers dearly, especially at the end of the first half.
With 5:13 remaining in the first and Penn up, 29-28, Allen substituted freshman Jamal Lewis for Cartwright, who had just picked up his second personal. When Cartwright returned at the 2:19 mark, the Blue Hens had turned a one-point deficit into a seven-point advantage.
The loss relegates Penn to a consolation game Tuesday afternoon against Fairfield, which lost its opening round game to host Virginia. The Stags are helmed by former Princeton coach Sydney Johnson, who left the Tigers following the 2011 NCAA tournament. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
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