Penn falls flat to Yale in final minutes
Quakers fall victim to Mangano, Yale in Penn’s first Ivy loss of the season
February 3, 2012, 8:55 pm · Updated February 5, 2012, 10:29 pm·
Ellen Frierson | DP
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — For the first time in three games, the Penn men’s basketball team didn’t lead wire-to-wire.
And for the first time in four games, the Quakers lost, falling to Yale, 60-53.
“We came out soft, and we ended soft,” Penn point guard Zack Rosen said.
With their first loss in Ivy play, the Red and Blue (12-10, 4-1 Ivy) have an upward battle to fight in order to contend with No. 23 Harvard — which is undefeated in Ivy play — for the league title.
In a sign of what was to come, Penn gave up the first four points of the game. And at the end, the Quakers allowed 10 unanswered points in the final five minutes.
“I didn’t think from the start we looked like we were hungry,” Penn coach Jerome Allen said. “For that, it’s disappointing.”
Yale’s senior big man, Greg Mangano, was held relatively in check by Henry Brooks and Penn’s defense in the first half. Though the 6-foot-10 center scored 10 points off 50-percent shooting for the Bulldogs (15-5, 5-1), the Quakers frustrated him in the paint and the perimeter.
Penn opened the game with impressive ball movement from inside-out, which allowed it to overcome the early deficit. Yale and Penn traded leads throughout the first period — the margin was never greater than four points — and they went into the locker room tied at 29.
Shots weren’t falling for the Quakers, who could have entered halftime with a lead. Three-point attempts by Rosen and Tyler Bernardini went in and out of the basket in the final minutes of the half.
The Bulldogs opened the second half with an eight-point run, and the Red and Blue didn’t lead again until the eight-minute mark. Rosen, who led Penn with 16 points, and Rob Belcore, who was second with 11, cut the deficit with layups in the paint.
“The mark of a good team is when you can overcome your mistakes,” Yale coach James Jones said. “We were still able to overcome some bad play.”
With 5:18 remaining, Belcore capitalized on a Yale turnover for two points. His defense on the inbound forced Austin Morgan to travel, giving Penn the ball. Rosen immediately nailed a jumper deep in the corner to push Penn’s lead to 53-50, but it was the last time the Quakers would score.
Two and a half minutes and a Miles Cartwright missed three later, Penn’s defense left Mangano, who scored 23 points, open on the perimeter. Reggie Willhite fed out the ball to the open Mangano, who drained a trey for the tie.
“Every time [Mangano] was open, he got a bucket,” Allen said.
The Elis next scored on a layup by Morgan to take a 55-53 lead. After Penn failed to counter, Belcore was called for goaltending and Brandon Sherrod made one of two shots.
Down two, the Quakers still had a chance to come back. But Mangano was fouled by Howlett, missed the front end of a one-and-one, but then rebounded his own miss. Howlett fouled Mangano again, and he sank both.
With the loss, every remaining matchup is crucial for Penn’s chances.
“I know what it’s going to take to be champions of this league,” Allen said, “And we don’t have it yet.
“I think we’re a better team. I really do.”