Hundreds of Penn fans made the trek to Princeton to cheer Penn on to a 55-46 victory. PRINCETON, N.J. -- Once Ugonna Onyekwe punctuated Penn's 55-46 victory at Jadwin Gym last night with a 360-degree dunk, Frinceton realized what Quakers fans knew all along -- the Tigers were pucked. Penn took the lead, 13-12, on guard Michael Jordan's one-footer with 9:04 remaining in the first half, and never looked back en route to the triumph over the archrival Tigers. The Quakers' defense was largely responsible for the victory, holding Princeton standout Mason Rocca and highly touted freshman Spencer Gloger scoreless through the first half of the game and shutting down the Princeton offense all night long. Last night's win gives Penn a two-game lead in the Ivy League standings. Princeton's hopes of taking the Ivy title away from defending champion Penn now rest on beating the Quakers in the teams' season finale meeting at the Palestra and hoping that Penn is upset by one of the league's six also-rans. But Quakers co-captain Michael Jordan said the race is far from over. "We're not satisfied," said Jordan, a College senior. "When we win the next seven, I'll be satisfied. We haven't done anything yet." The hundreds of Penn fans who made the trek to Princeton, however, certainly understood the significance of last night's game. Despite being mostly tucked away in the far northwest corner of Jadwin's upper balcony, the Quakers faithful cheered loudly throughout the game and stormed the court as the final buzzer sounded. Sporting "Red and Blue Crew" T-shirts and face paint, Penn fans belted out a chorus of "Airball!" chants and made sure to remind the Tigers which team beat Yale last week. "[The seats] suck. But sitting here with everyone else is amazing," Engineering senior Rob Jenkins said. "There's a lot of love and a lot of hate," said Jenkins, pointing first to the Penn student section and then to the Princeton students. With a healthy dose of Ivy League wit, the Penn fans also held up signs offering spelling tips -- "You Can't Spell Princeton Without NIT" -- and career advice, suggesting to Mason Rocca that "bricklaying" was his calling. And when the Princeton band tried to rally the crowd late in the game with a rendition of the "Hey Song," Penn fans inserted their own lyrics of "You Suck!" to take any last hope the Tigers may have had in reserve. At the end of the game, Penn fans swarmed the court, only to be met by a deluge of debris from some angry Princeton supporters. While at first the Tigers faithful threw mini-basketballs, the barrage soon escalated to include plastic water and soda containers for the second year in a row, drawing the ire of Jordan. "I didn't appreciate it at all. A couple of plastic bottles went past my head," Jordan said. "Call me whatever names you want, but after the game is over, it's just ridiculous to be throwing things onto the court." Despite the presence of extra security guards, two separate scuffles broke out between Penn and Princeton fans -- one before the game and one after. "We were walking around the stadium carrying our sign that said 'Can't Spell Princeton Without NIT,'" Engineering sophomore Bob Barsotti said. "And some angry Princeton person came down and attacked us -- actually followed us into the stands." Another confrontation was reported to have occurred outside Jadwin after the game let out, but it was quickly broken up. Still, supporters of both teams acknowledged that last night's contest failed to equal the legendary battles of the recent past. Princeton cheerleader Kacey Guy recalled the excitement of what Princeton fans like to call the "Miracle at the Palestra" -- or what Penn fans remember as the "Heartbreak at the Palestra" -- when the Tigers rebounded last February from a staggering 29-3 deficit. "Last year was great at the Palestra," she said. But Penn fans have a different conception of which of last year's contests was most impressive. "I was here last year at one of the best games of all time," Democratic National Committee chairman and longtime Penn basketball fan Ed Rendell said, recalling the Quakers' Ivy-clinching victory last March at Jadwin.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.