After fouling out against Harvard, Henry Brooks was in need of a bounce-back effort.
And a bounce back was in order with one of Brooks' best performances of the year.
Brooks's play , along with a diverse offensive attack, was good enough to give Penn basketball a 74-65 win over Dartmouth, salvaging a split after a bad loss to Harvard on Friday.
For three years, Brooks has been plagued by foul trouble when on the floor - he fouled out Friday night against Harvard with more than 10 minutes to go in the game. Brooks' apparent inability to get out of his own way has characterized the Red and Blue’s effort as a whole this season.
But against the Big Green, the fouls disappeared - Brooks only finished with three on the night - and so too did many of the Quakers' usual issues.
The Quakers entered Saturday night’s matchup averaging 16.8 turnovers per game, the second-worst rate in Division I. Yet the issue that coach Jerome Allen likened to a broken record after Friday’s 83-63 loss to the Crimson didn’t crop up nearly as often.
Penn protected the ball well in the first half, committing only five turnovers while pressuring the Big Green into seven turnovers of their own.
And Brooks displayed that pressure on the defensive end over and over again.
"I just wanted to come off the bench and give a spark," he said.
When placed on Dartmouth forwards Connor Boehm and Brandon McDonnell, who had scored 10 points before the first media timeout, Brooks stifled their cuts and thwarted their post-ups. His vicious block on Boehm off the glass with 4:37 to go in the first half sent the Palestra crowd into a frenzy.
"I just was running back in transition, and I saw [Dartmouth] was passing back, and I happened to be in position to get the block," Brooks said. "It was a matter of being in the right place at the right time."
On the offensive end, Brooks had plenty of help.
Five Quakers scored in double figures on the night, including senior guard Steve Rennard, who was a perfect 3-for-3 from behind the three-point line and finished with 11 points.
"I thought [Rennard] was huge," Allen said. "I thought he stepped up, made some shots and - I think more importantly - defensively committed to chasing [Dartmouth guard Alex] Mitola around and not giving him any easy looks."
With Rennard's hands in his face all night, Mitola struggled mightily at shooting, hitting only one of his four shots from the field.
Whenever Dartmouth tried to make a run after the Quakers built up a sizable lead, Rennard and fellow senior guard Miles Jackson-Cartwright would beat them back with their outside shooting.
By the end of the night, the Quakers had hit six of their 14 three-point attempts and committed only 11 turnovers. In a statistical oddity, Saturday night was the first time all season that the Quakers won a game while committing fewer turnovers than their opponent.
Now the Quakers can regroup after following up one of their worst performances of the season with one of their best.
But if Allen has his way, the Quakers won't get complacent. They can't afford to with Yale and Brown coming to the Palestra next.
"Tonight we can enjoy it," Allen said. "Hopefully not too much."
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