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Penn men's basketball's quadruple-overtime victory over Monmouth was the first time the Quakers had played in a game that went to four extra periods in 97 years.

Photo: Zach Sheldon

You will never live to see another Penn men’s basketball game like its quadruple-overtime win at Monmouth on Saturday night. 

Why? Because nothing like it has happened in 97 years. And it definitely won’t happen ever again — at least, not in the way this one went down. 

The Quakers’ epic 101-96 victory was by every stretch of the imagination an instant classic. It was the most Penn had scored in over a decade, and its first time in quadruple overtime since 1920. 

With 15 minutes left in the game, the visitors were up by 15 and cruising towards their fourth victory in seven days. But for those last 15 minutes, it looked like the Red and Blue — and the referees, to a certain extent — were conspiring to lose. 

After lighting up the field at over 50 percent efficiency in the first 25 minutes, Penn shot almost 15 percent in the final 15. The rim suddenly became the Quakers’ worst enemy, impenetrable and too formidable for them to overcome. 

But then their worst enemy inexplicably became themselves — two technical fouls indicated a lack of discipline, but four players fouling out laid it bare for all to see. Thank goodness the 21-man team is as deep as it has been in years, or else it would have been left out to dry. 

Depending on how you count coach Steve Donahue’s rotation, it was Penn’s eighth man who became the hero. 

Rookie Eddie Scott — who, by all accounts from the team, is one of the Quakers’ most athletic players in recent history — compiled a highlight reel and a half with 21 points and not a single missed field goal. Two monster dunks, however, cemented his near-perfect night and gave Penn two momentum shifts when it needed them most desperately. 

Scott’s steal-and-layup in quadruple overtime also gave the Quakers the one final surge they needed to survive a game that should have never seen the light of one overtime, let alone four. 

His performance was classic, and his and-one dunk in the second overtime in particular is a memory that will replay in the heads of all who watched for days and weeks to come. 

All three and a half hours of the game were unforgettable and completely riveting to watch. 

That is, if anyone even saw it all in the first place. 

The ridiculous thriller was airing on ESPN3 for all across the world to see, but suddenly, in the middle of the third overtime, people started having connection issues to the stream. There weren’t just technical difficulties — as it turns out, Monmouth’s stadium’s entire network infrastructure crashed. 

It’s unclear why the stadium went dark. Perhaps an overload of people trying to access the stream online. Maybe an explosion of information trying to escape the arena with fans and reporters alike furiously sending updates out to the world. Or possibly even just a plug fell loose amid the earth-shaking tempest hurtling through the place.

But the results ended up being shouted into a cell phone that called into the local radio station, as all internet and radio equipment were rendered useless. It was such an absurd event that Stan Pawlak himself, the sportscaster for Philadelphia’s WXPN, could hardly keep it together. 

“Will someone just win this already?!?” a loud voice from the crowd was heard shouting over Pawlak’s trembling voice on the phone. It was the kind of spectacle that simply defied belief and imagination. The sports gods truly could not have written the script themselves. 

“I don’t even remember everything — I don’t know how you could,” coach Steve Donahue reflected after the game. “We did so many things that were out of character, we just wondered how we were gonna pull this off on the road — this is wild, just crazy.”

Consistency isn’t this team’s strong suit eight games into the new season, but entertainment certainly is. Penn went into double overtime just two weeks ago against La Salle in the Palestra. The result was a heartbreaker for the Quakers, but they can feel nothing short of elation this time around. 

It’s these kinds of emotional extremes that make college basketball worth watching. Penn men’s basketball might not win the Ivy League this year, but odds are the Quakers will make it another captivating campaign. 

And even though you should see many more thrillers in the months to come, you’ll never see another quite like this one. 

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