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Penn 84 Portland State 74 Like a prize thoroughbred, the Penn men's basketball team pulled away in the stretch to beat Portland State 84-74 in the opener of the Golden Bear Classic on December 28. The Quakers (2-4) advanced to the tournament's title game against California due in large part to the stellar play of senior co-captain Michael Jordan. The Penn point guard was unbelievable from the field -- he shot 9-for-10 and was 5-for-6 from three-point range. Jordan certainly did not give Quakers all of their offense, however. Freshman forward Ugonna Onyekwe added 18 points, and senior guard Matt Langel had 13. Center Geoff Owens and power forward Oggie Kapetanovic rounded out the list of Quakers in double-digits with 10 apiece. Derek Nesland's 21 points led the Vikings (6-4), who were riding the wave of a three-game road winning streak before meeting Penn after having knocked off Cal Poly, Pacific and Air Force. The Quakers went into halftime with a four-point lead, and Portland State hung tough until Penn hit its stride down the stretch. After the Vikings' Hasan Artharee made a pair of free throws to cut the Penn lead to four, Onyekwe hit a jumper and dunked off a feed from Jordan during a 9-3 flurry that put Penn up 79-69 with 1:46 remaining. Portland State would get no closer.

Penn 74 California 71 In the first-ever meeting between California and the Quakers, Penn got the best of the Golden Bears in the championship game of the Golden Bear Classic 74-71 on December 29. The Quakers became the first visiting team to win the tournament since 1995 and the first team to beat Cal at home since 1995-96, breaking a streak of 23 straight wins at the Oakland Coliseum. The Penn backcourt paced the Quakers (3-4), as senior guard Matt Langel scored 19 points and tournament MVP Michael Jordan had 14. The Bears (8-3) did not go down without a fight. Cal's Shantay Legans missed three shots in the final 35 seconds of the contest, including a three-point attempt that clanked off the front of the rim as the buzzer sounded. Sean Lampley poured in 18 points to pace the Bears, who led the game for most of the first half before succumbing to Penn's shooting down the stretch. The Quakers came out of halftime on fire, making their first five three-point attempts, while Cal remained cold. The Bears had kept their opponents to just 55.5 points during the four-game winning streak that led them into the game. Penn surpassed that mark with ease because of 12-for-17 shooting in the second half. Penn may have played their best basketball of the year at the Golden Bear Classic. On the strength of their two quality wins, Jordan was named Ivy League Player of the Week, and Onyekwe was named the Ivy Rookie of the Week.

Penn 59 Kansas 105 Penn hung tough with Kansas at the Palestra last season. On January 4, the Quakers (3-5) got hung out to dry, as the No. 9 Jayhawks (11-2) handed them a 105-59 defeat at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas freshman Drew Gooden scored 20 points and had nine rebounds in the Jayhawks' final tuneup for Big 12 competition. Kenny Gregory and Eric Chenowith added 14 each. Kansas had fantastic shooting all night, hitting 58 percent from the field. This was much more impressive than the weak 36-percent clip that Penn posted for the game. Penn was in the hunt during the first half, but Kansas went on a 19-0 run early in the second half, lengthening a 45-35 advantage to 64-45 with just under 15 minutes remaining. The Jayhawks went on an even bigger run later on in the half, scoring 22 straight points over a five-and-a-half minute span for a staggering 93-47 lead with 7:01 left. Ugonna Onyekwe led the Quakers with 14 points, while both Michael Jordan and Matt Langel logged 13. The Jayhawks did a terrific job of shutting Langel down in the second half, holding him scoreless after he sunk all of his 13 in the first half, including a triad of three-pointers. Turnovers killed the Quakers. The Jayhawks committed just three in the second half, while Penn ended the game with 20.

Penn 65 Villanova 67Malik Allen hit a short baseline jump shot with 0.8 seconds left to give Villanova a 67-65 victory over Penn (3-6) on January 9 in the first game of the newly rejuvenated Big 5 to be held at the Palestra. Allen's almost-buzzer-beater was the first Wildcats (7-4) basket since T.J. Caouette hit two free throws to give 'Nova a 65-57 lead with 2:21 left. Michael Jordan brought the Quakers back into it with five straight points. The Penn run was capped by a Langel three-pointer from way downtown that whipped the sellout Palestra crowd into a frenzy and knotted the score at 65. Wildcats coach Steve Lappas elected not to take a time-out when Langel sunk the trey with 14 seconds left. As Villanova brought the ball up the court and until Allen hit the final shot, the Palestra teemed with Big 5 excitement. "It's just an unbelievable place," Lappas said of Penn's arena. Brian Lynch, who had made just 10 of 44 shots in his previous four games, had 20 points for the Wildcats. He connected on 7-of-11 shots, including a 6-for-7 performance from downtown. The game's other high scorers were Allen with 18, Langel with 19 and Jordan with 17 points. Neither team had more than a five-point lead in the first half, which ended in a 32-32 tie.

Penn 80 Lafayette 76For the second time in three days, Penn faced the same dramatic situation at the end of one of its games -- with the score tied, it needed a defensive stop for the win. This time, the Quakers pulled it out in style. The Red and Blue forced a Lafayette turnover, and Penn guard Michael Jordan brought it right down to the other end and sunk a game-winning 17-footer to make the score 78-76 with .6 seconds left. The Leopards (8-5) called for a time-out that they didn't have after Jordan's bucket, giving the Quakers (4-6) the two technical free throws that brought about the final 80-76 margin. Jordan was once again the key for the Quakers down the stretch, scoring their final six points. He had 19 of his 24 points in the second half on the strength of 6-of-7 shooting. The showdown between Penn coach Fran Dunphy and Lafayette's Fran O'Hanlon, who was one of Dunphy's assistants at the Palestra for six seasons, was a well-played, entertaining one. The Quakers shot 53 percent from the field and 50 percent from behind the arc, while the Leopards sunk 54 percent of their attempts.

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