PROVIDENCE, R.I. —The Penn men’s basketball team wasn’t about to let its quest for an Ivy title come to a halt this weekend.
The Quakers rallied after their first Ivy loss to Yale and, with some help from senior forward Rob Belcore, emerged victorious over Brown Saturday, 65-48.
“We know what we’re getting from him every night — his hard work and effort,” freshman Henry Brooks said of Belcore’s performance. “But tonight it prevailed on the stat sheet.”
Although it took nearly two minutes for either team to put points on the board, in the end, the Red and Blue (12-10, 4-1 Ivy) coasted past the Bears (7-16, 1-5) for their 100th win in the history of the series.
“Talk about bouncing back — that’s the magic of the Ivy League,” Belcore said. “That’s what you have to do. That’s what good teams are supposed to do. We’re a senior-led team, [myself], Zack [Rosen], Tyler [Bernardini] and Mike [Howlett]. We’ve been through the ringer for a long time and we’re not going to let this team fold.”
Belcore led the charge for the Quakers in the first half with 10 points — an impressive effort for the defensive stalwart. His stellar play continued after halftime, as he recorded his second double-double of the season. Belcore finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, along with three steals.
“I have no explanation,” Belcore said of the multitude of open shots he was given. “I don’t know Brown’s game plan, I don’t know what they were doing out there. I was just open. I had looks and I took them.”
Penn jumped out to an early lead, entering the locker room up, 36-21. But Brown went on an offensive run at the beginning of the second half, in which junior forward Andrew McCarthy racked up nine of his 20 total points. The Bears narrowed the Quakers’ lead to eight points with 12 minutes remaining on the clock.
“To [McCarthy’s] credit, he made some shots,” Allen said. “But to be quite honest with you, we took the foot off the gas a little bit at the start of the second half and we gave up two quick buckets and our interior defense wasn’t ready to play at the start of the second half.”
Belcore held himself personally responsible for McCarthy’s play at the beginning of the second.
“My guy got two easy buckets in the paint,” he said. “That’s something I shouldn’t have done. As someone who prides [himself] on [his] defense, that was completely unacceptable.”
Rosen propelled the Quakers’ offensive productivity, albeit in an atypical way. He put up his first points with 0:19 remaining in the first, scoring a trey to ice Penn’s first half lead. He netted 11 points on the night and led the team with five assists.
“That meant that [Rosen] was making the right decisions and trusting his teammates and letting the game come to him,” Allen said. “And that says a lot, when you [have] a guy who’s been scoring the ball at will to just have a selfless approach just about the game and playing it the right way.”
The Quakers face Harvard in a game of paramount importance Friday. The matchup, which pits two of the Ancient Eight’s top teams against each other, has strong implications on the title race.
“I don’t have to say [much] about how big of a game this is for league standings and just how well Harvard’s playing,” Belcore said. “We know what we have to do.”
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