After taking care of Columbia in its Ivy home opener Friday night, Penn was hoping for some winning deja vu on Groundhog Day against Cornell at the Palestra. Unfortunately, the Quakers got a deja vu of the rest of their disappointing season before this weekend instead.
Cornell held on for a 71-69 victory over Penn Saturday on the strength of 20 points and perfect 8-for-8 shooting from senior forward Errick Peck.
“I thought [Peck] imposed his will no matter who was guarding him,” Penn coach Jerome Allen said. “Whether it was a guard or whether it was a big.”
The Quakers (4-16, 1-2 Ivy) couldn’t have asked for a smoother first half against the Big Red (10-11, 2-2), outassisting Cornell 14-6 and shooting 6-for-12 from three before halftime.
Sophomore guard Patrick Lucas-Perry led the way for the Red and Blue against the Big Red with 14 points, although 11 of those came in the first half.
“Part of our gameplan was to make them take contested three-point shots, and then when they started making them we had to readjust what our thoughts were,” Cornell coach Bill Courtney said. “In particular on Lucas-Perry — because of the way he was shooting. we wanted to stay more attached to him with help.”
The Quakers committed 17 turnovers, four more than the Big Red, and attempted just three free throws the entire game.
“I just thought we relied heavily on the jump shot, not really attacking,” Allen said. “We didn’t go hard to create chances. Some people may say it’s the second game of a back-to-back and guys’ legs aren’t there. But if that is the case, you have to operate as close to the basket as you can.”
Junior forward Fran Dougherty left the game mostly under his own power with what appeared to be an upper body injury at the 16:40 mark of the second half. Dougherty then had his right arm taped up and in a sling. Allen gave no comment on his status after the game.
Even after Dougherty’s exit, the night still looked good for the Quakers. Penn led 51-41 with 13:35 remaining, when Cornell went on a 16-3 run to seize the lead.
“I just think [what fueled the run was] a lack of focus and concentration defensively,” Allen said. “Did I think they were going to make a run? Yeah, I thought they were going to make a run. But I thought we were going to be able to have the poise to stop the run, and it just didn’t happen.”
A three by junior guard Miles Cartwright gave the Quakers a 69-67 lead with 2:15 remaining. Two free throws from Peck tied the game at 69 apiece just a minute later.
With the clock winding down to single digits, sophomore guard Galal Cancer drove inside to give the Big Red a 71-69 edge. The teams then exchanged timeouts with 2.7 seconds left before Penn was called for a five-second violation while inbounding under its own basket, thus sealing the Big Red’s victory.
“We called a play out of the timeout, one of the plays earlier we had some success with,” Allen said. “They made an adjustment. I thought it was a quick five-second call but I’m not reffing.”
“We just switched on all screens,” Courtney said. “We just switched on everything to prevent them from going to the basket but also to make it difficult for them to inbound.”
Cornell’s win marks its eighth in the last 11 games of the series.
The Quakers’ next matchup will be against Yale on Friday at the Palestra.
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