HANOVER, N.H. -- Going into last weekend, Harvard's Dan Clemente and Dartmouth's Greg Buth had never defeated the Penn men's basketball team. They had gone through three years of hardship and had suffered six consecutive losses at the hands of the Red and Blue. But with this flawed 2000-2001 Quakers team coming to their home courts this weekend, the two senior standouts knew that this would be their best chance to finally topple mighty Penn. Only one was able to succeed. Clemente wouldn't have it any other way. Behind a raucous, sold-out Lavietes Pavilion crowd, Harvard's senior captain carried his team to a shocking 77-62 victory over the Red and Blue, Penn's first conference loss in exactly two years. But for Clemente, the win was all about redemption. Last year, the 6'6" forward had a chance to pull off a monster upset over the Quakers, but his last-second three-pointer rimmed out as Penn escaped with a 62-61 road victory en route to a perfect 14-0 Ancient Eight record. This year, Clemente dashed Penn's hopes of another perfect season, while cracking the Quakers' 25-game conference winning streak, the longest in the nation. "I had memories of that thing all summer," Clemente said of last year's near-miss. "And people always bring it up. It kills me. It feels real great to get the win just because of that." From the opening tip, Clemente looked like a man possessed. In the first half, he poured in 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including a seven-minute stretch in which he drained two threes and three long jumpers. Clemente finished with 29 points, just three off his career high. The next night, Dartmouth senior Buth looked for similar success against the Red and Blue. And for 20 minutes, it looked as if the Big Green guard might just pull it off. Buth nailed 3-of-5 from downtown and scored 13 points as Dartmouth went into the locker room with a 32-27 lead. On the other side of the court, Lamar Plummer -- Buth's shooting guard counterpart -- connected on just 1-of-3 from behind the arc, giving him three points for the half. But the tides turned in the next 20 minutes of basketball. Plummer ended up outscoring Buth, 21-20, while Penn was able to best Dartmouth, 75-62, and escape New England with a weekend split. The difference came in a key defensive change made by Penn coach Fran Dunphy during the break. "We made the decision to switch [forward] Koko [Archibong] to Greg Buth, which statistically seemed like it helped us," Dunphy said. "Just his size seemed to bother Greg a little bit." Buth obviously felt the presence of Archibong's size and defensive prowess. The senior sharpshooter added just seven points in the second half, while making just 1-of-5 from three-point range. At the same time, Plummer made an adjustment of his own. The Dartmouth defense took away his forte, the three-point ball, so Penn's senior guard had to put the ball on the floor and create. "Teams are looking at him and saying, 'We're not going to allow him to get as many good looks,' and they're setting their defenses that way," Dunphy said. "Now you have to find other ways to help your team, so he found that with his drives to the basket, he found that with stepping up to the foul line which helped us a great deal." Plummer's game-high 21 points included a perfect 10-of-10 from the free-throw line. On a weekend where two senior shooters looked to help their teams pull off the upset over Penn, it was another senior shooter who found a way to keep his team in control of the Ivy League with a strong second-half performance on Saturday.Comments powered by Disqus
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