HANOVER, N.H. -- The moon was full over Harvard's Lavietes Pavilion, which is as good an explanation as any for what transpired at the top of the Ivy League standings Friday night. The Penn men's basketball team fell to Harvard, 77-62, two years to the day after the "Heartbreak at the Palestra" Princeton game -- the Quakers' last league loss. Meanwhile, further north, Dartmouth beat Princeton, marking the first time since 1992 that the Quakers and Tigers lost on the same night. "Honestly, I think it's a win our guys expected," Harvard coach Frank Sullivan said. "Our guys knew that we could be in a position to win." While Sullivan was confident in his team's abilities, he was surprised at the 15-point margin of victory. "[The Quakers] have excellent talent," Sullivan said. "They have more experience -- they are the team to beat in the league because they're the reigning champions -- so to beat a team like that by that kind of number is a bit surprising... and encouraging." In addition to snapping the Quakers' (8-13, 5-1 Ivy League) nation-leading, 25-game conference winning streak, the Crimson's (12-8, 5-3) victory marked Harvard's first win over the Red and Blue since 1997. The Quakers and Crimson exchanged leads eight times in the first half, but with nine minutes left in that period, Harvard took the lead and refused to relinquish it, despite several runs by the Quakers. "I think Harvard did a great job, they played well," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "They made big shots when they had to, forced us into 23 turnovers -- we obviously need to clean that up -- but I was real impressed with them." Dunphy pointed especially to a sequence early in the second half where, five minutes after coming out of the locker room trailing by four, the Quakers closed to within one point of the Crimson but failed to take the lead, despite repeated opportunities. "We had a couple chances, a couple of lobs in transition that would've either tied it or put us ahead a couple of times," Dunphy said. "But that's when we turned it over three straight times." For a 1:23 stretch, the Quakers were down, 40-39. During that span, they had four possessions and either missed a shot or committed a turnover on each. The short, two-team scoring drought was broken when Crimson senior Dan Clemente, who dropped in 29 points on the night, hit a three-pointer to swell the lead to four. After Clemente's shot, it was all downhill for the Red and Blue, who would get no closer than three points the rest of the way. "Those were killer plays, and in a game like this, with the run we made, we need to finish that out, and we just didn't do it," Dunphy said. The Quakers bounced back the following night, beating Dartmouth (7-14, 2-6) by a score of 75-62. This game began remarkably like the Harvard tilt, with the teams trading leads throughout the first half and the Quakers heading into the break down by five. In the second half, Dartmouth extended its lead to six in the first 1:30. "I'll be honest with you, I don't know what I said or what we talked about, but again we didn't do a very job of coming out of the locker room," Dunphy said. "We hit that basket early, but then we made some foolish mistakes. You're inclined to call a timeout there." Whatever he said, Dunphy's 30-second timeout worked, as after the short break, the Quakers went on a 24-5 run that had them leading by 13 points at the 8:45 mark. "I just wanted us to tighten our act up and see if we can't finish this thing like we need to," Dunphy said. The Quakers were able to run away from the Big Green in large part because of their almost exponentially improved free-throw shooting. Penn hit 82.8 percent of its shots from the foul line on the game, by far a season high. Senior guard Lamar Plummer led the way, hitting all 10 of his free shots. Even 56 percent-shooting forward Ugonna Onyekwe got into the act, hitting 6-of-7. "I have no idea [where that came from]," Dunphy said. "It's not our M.O., as you well know, but I'll take it."Comments powered by Disqus
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