WICHITA, Kan. — Penn men’s basketball might have come short of pulling off the greatest upset in college basketball history, but the Quakers have so much to be proud of.
It was only a few months ago that this very team received zero votes to finish first in the Ivy League, and after losing the first two games of the season to Fairfield and La Salle, there was little reason to be optimistic.
But the Red and Blue rallied in a way that few teams ever have.
Like we saw last week in Penn’s win to get to March Madness, it's never mattered to the players who was getting the glory. Against the Crimson, senior captain Darnell Foreman played one of the greatest halves in Penn basketball history.
Foreman didn’t score a single point in the second half, but do you think that mattered to him when he was sitting on top of the hoop?
Even after receiving one of the least favorable draws in the entire NCAA Tournament — playing as a No. 16 seed against Kansas in their home state — the Red and Blue didn’t waiver. No matter that, historically, No. 16 seeds have gone 0-132 against No. 1 seeds.
“If we play really well for 40 minutes, we have a chance to win it,” coach Steve Donahue said a few days before the game.
Penn played really well for most of the game, but in the end, Kansas was just a little too good. Nevertheless, today’s result shouldn’t distract you from all that these Quakers have already accomplished.
They showed the world that Penn’s capable of competing with any team in the country.
They galvanized a student body that grew eager to become a part of history.
They drew national attention to a program that hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game since 1994.
But most of all, they played for each other.
Foreman made this much clear after the Red and Blue heard they’d be playing against the Jayhawks:
“Just like how teams and people counted us out in the regular season and in non-conference, we were never worrying about that. We were only focused on us and focused on how we can get better.”
It may be the end of the road for this Penn team, but the memories from this season will last a lifetime.
Thank you, Quakers.
YOSEF WEITZMAN is a College sophomore from Lower Merion, Pa., and is a Sports Editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
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