Penn basketball rolls through Cornell
Quakers hold onto double-digit halftime lead to win, 64-52, at Newman Arena
January 14, 2012, 8:50 pm · Updated January 17, 2012, 8:11 pm·
Henry Chang | DP
ITHACA, N.Y. — For four long years, Tyler Bernardini had never won a game at Newman Arena. The average margin of victory for Cornell at home during that stretch was 17 points.
Saturday night, the fifth-year senior made sure he would leave upstate New York with at least one win, and his 18 points led Penn to a 64-52 win to complete the sweep on Penn’s first Ivy League weekend.
The Quakers (9-9, 2-0 Ivy) held Cornell (6-10, 1-1) to a season low in points — 15 below the Big Red’s season average. For the second-straight night, the Quakers stifled their opponents with man-to-man defense.
“The challenge is, night in and night out, committing to that,” coach Jerome Allen said of his team’s defense. “That’s a credit to those guys and their commitment to playing with one another.”
Penn limited Cornell’s leading scorers Drew Ferry and Chris Wroblewski to eight and four points, respectively. The two went a combined 2-for-8 from three.
Bernardini, who shot 7-for-12, 3-for-4 from three, also finished with eight rebounds to lead Penn.
“It was interesting. Cornell throws different defenses at you, they try to scheme it up a little bit,” Bernardini said. You have to be patient and take what the defense gives you.”
“We’re going to be successful because we’ve got Zack [Rosen] at the point guard and he’s one of the best decision makers I’ve ever played with,” he added.
Rosen, too, was happy to leave Ithaca with at least one career ‘W.’ He matched Bernardini’s 18 on the floor and added five assists.
The Quakers led wire-to-wire after Rob Belcore opened the game with a three. Penn shot 52 percent in the first half, as Zack Rosen went 6-for-7 from the floor to guide the Red and Blue to a comfortable 11-point lead at the break after sophomore guard Steve Rennard nailed a three as time expired.
Rennard played 25 minutes in the tail end of the Ivy back-to-back after Miles Cartwright fouled out just after the final media time out.
Unlike the previous night at Columbia when the Quakers’ nine-point lead evaporated in the final minutes, Cornell could only narrow the deficit to eight in the second half.
Cornell freshman Shonn Miller led the Big Red with 19 points.
Allen hesitated before agreeing that this was his team’s best win yet of the season.
“Hopefully this wasn’t our best game of the year — especially with all the games left.”
As well as the Quakers played, their slate still contains two matchups with No. 25 Harvard.
With a clean record one weekend in, the Quakers return to the Palestra for their final Big 5 matchup against St. Joseph’s Saturday before returning to Ivy play against Princeton.