With just a few weeks left before the inaugural Ivy League Tournament for both men's and women's basketball, both of Penn's squads will have meaningful games to come.
Freshman Ryan Betley is currently playing the best basketball of his young career, and by no coincidence at all, Penn is enjoying its best stretch of the season.
The rookie sharpshooter played the game of his life on Friday, scoring a career-high 28, including six three-pointers at a remarkable 60 percent accuracy. He also registered seven rebounds and four assists.
Coming off a sweep of the New York schools last weekend, the Red and Blue kept their momentum going with a pair of dominant performances, blowing out Brown, 96-72, on Friday before upsetting third-place Yale, 71-55, two days later. With the wins, Penn has remarkably clawed back into fourth place in the Ivy League after being four games off not even two weeks ago.
The closest thing I can compare it to is what Liverpool FC manager Jürgen Klopp calls “Heavy Metal Football” — and well, ladies and gentlemen, what the Quakers have finally worked their way into is Heavy Metal Basketball.
Put the funeral pyres away — Penn men’s basketball is back. Boosted by a ridiculous 27-2 first-half run spearheaded by a career-best shooting performance from freshman shooting guard Ryan Betley, the Quakers jumped out to a 25-point first-half lead at Brown and never looked back, cruising to a 96-72 win over the Bears.
Rock-bottom after six games, even we had written this team off. But like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the Quakers have taken the bull that is the Ivy League by the horns and is almost halfway through a Mission Impossible: going from 0-6 to finish in fourth place and make the Ivy League Tournament.
Penn men’s basketball had a diamond weekend against Columbia and Cornell, winning its first two Ivy League games of the season under immense pressure. The pressure was both expected and self-imposed; the result of an 0-6 run bookended by twin loses to rival Princeton. The Quakers (9-12, 2-6 Ivy) knew that another loss meant the end to their post-season chances, and they responded with two of the most spirited performances to date.