BETHLEHEM, Pa. — As the clock hit triple zeros and Miles Cartwright’s last-second three-point attempt fell short, the Quakers experienced an all too familiar result.
Penn men’s basketball suffered its fourth consecutive loss, a 70-68 fall to Fordham in the first consolation game of the NIT Season Tip-Off tournament.
“We have to play for each other and hold each other accountable,” junior forward Fran Dougherty said. “Right now we’re not there as a collective group.”
Similar to Saturday’s loss against Drexel, the Quakers (1-4) had a big run in the second half but couldn’t finish. The Red and Blue turned a 56-49 deficit at the 11:05 mark into a 61-56 lead in less than six minutes.
The Rams (1-3) couldn’t get back the lead, though, until a succession of fouls — one personal, one technical — on Penn.
Following a call against Dougherty with 1:34 to go, coach Jerome Allen lost his temper with his 6-foot-8 forward, eventually throwing and breaking his pen in anger.
The referees tagged him with a technical for the outburst.
“It was a bad defensive play on our part. I let my emotions get the best of us, the best of me,” Allen said. “It was a judgment call. I didn’t think it merited that, but I shouldn’t even put [the referee] in that position to have him decide to make that call.”
Though the technical played a large role in the final result, Allen said the game is “a summation of the 40 minutes” and should not come down to the final possessions in the first place.
Even in the loss — and despite the untimely foul — Dougherty had yet another big game, tallying 20 points on 9-for-14 shooting, eight rebounds and three blocks in just 23 minutes on the floor.
He was relieved by Greg Louis only five minutes into the game after racking up two quick fouls but came back and led the team with 16 second-half points.
In his five minutes of first-half play, Dougherty snagged four rebounds, three of which were offensive. Four of Penn’s six offensive rebounds came in these first five minutes before Dougherty left the game.
Cartwright also had a big night for the Red and Blue despite a few missteps and turnovers. He tied Dougherty for the team scoring lead with 20 points.
Though the offense performed well enough to win, the play on the other end of the court was not quite where it should have been.
“Our problem is defensively, we can’t defend the ball, plain and simple,” Allen said.
The Red and Blue did, however, hold the Rams to 42.3 percent shooting from the field and outscored them, 40-26, in the paint. But Fordham’s threes plagued the Quakers — the Rams hit 8-for-19 on the night.
Penn still had an opportunity to send the game to overtime after Cartwright had a decent corner look from beyond the arc on the Quakers’ second-to-last possession, but the shot clanged off the rim and Dougherty quickly snared the rebound and put it back for two.
“It’s a shame it didn’t go in. It would have sent us into overtime,” Dougherty said. “That was the way the play was supposed to be drawn out.”
It’ll be a quick turnaround for the Quakers, who tip off against Lehigh on Tuesday night in Bethlehem at 8:30 p.m.