Columbia didn’t make a single basket in the final 15 minutes and 18 seconds on Saturday and still outscored Penn, 17-16, during that span.
After the Quakers came away with a big win Friday night at Cornell, coach Jerome Allen stated the key to winning at Columbia:
If the shots don’t fall for the Red and Blue, it is crucial that they stop Columbia from taking advantage of its offensive opportunities.
So the Quakers fulfilled Allen’s gameplan.
The shots definitely were not falling for the Quakers — they went 4-for-24 from the field during the second frame, a mere 16.7 percent shooting — but the same goes for the Lions, who went 0-for-13 in these final 15 minutes.
Of course, Columbia’s points came from the free throw line, as it had raked in 22 points from the charity stripe by game’s end.
It’s not as if Columbia wasn’t giving the Quakers opportunities. This was a second half of lost possessions, with empty results on both sides.
“For the most part, I thought we defended,” Allen said. “We defended their actions when it needed to be, we just didn’t come out from the start with the sense of desperation.”
But it wasn’t just a lack of desperation. The Red and Blue lost their composure in the second stanza.
Though Penn was down by 10 at the end of the first half, the game had yet to get to the low point it would reach late in the second and a few technicals later.
The technical fouls ended any chances at a Penn comeback.
The momentum had started to build for the Quakers and with seven minutes left in the second half, Penn was within nine and looking to close the gap.
Freshman guard Tony Hicks — who led the Quakers to a victory under a 29-point performance the night before in Ithaca — was on fire yet again, bringing in 19 points in his 33 minutes of play. But these feats faded after he committed two technical fouls.
“I just think he has a lot of maturing to do,” Allen said. “From a mental standpoint, I try to evaluate all aspects of the game and it absolutely makes no sense whatsoever for him to receive two technical fouls.”
Though Allen shook his head when asked to describe what happened with these fouls, it was clear that Hicks had something to say to the referees and that Allen was not happy about the lack of a call when Lions’ senior guard Brian Barbour traveled.
A coach should be leading the way for his team and setting an example, and even though the rookie fouled out and committed two technical fouls, Allen was no saint on this front either. And this isn’t the first foul called on the Penn coach this year — he threw a pen down in anger against Fordham back in November to rake in a ‘T,’ and that is just this season.
Penn had only one more foul than the Lions, but three of these were technicals that ultimately shifted the momentum in Columbia’s favor.
Penn just lacked poise. Yes, if shots aren’t falling, a team needs to stop its opponent, but it also has to keep its head in the game and on the court, not on the referees — even if a call may be bogus — or the frustration in lack of execution.
If the Quakers want any chance of finishing at .500 on the Ivy League season, they must stay composed until the final buzzer goes off at the end of the Princeton game in two weeks. Otherwise, every game could look like Saturday night’s disaster.
ALLISON BART is a College sophomore from Philadelphia and is Sports Editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian. She can be reached at bart@theDP.com.