In a season full of ups and downs, of close calls and near misses, it was only fitting that in the final home game of the 2001 season, the three seniors of the Penn men's basketball team would propel the Quakers to their largest victory of the year. Playing in their final contest at the Palestra, Lamar Plummer tied his career-high with 23 points, Geoff Owens recorded a double-double and Josh Sanger pulled down five rebounds, as Penn trounced Harvard by 23 points. For Plummer, this success was anything but guaranteed. A question mark heading into this winter, Plummer came off the bench as a freshman and sophomore and missed the final 23 games of last season for personal reasons. Now, the senior is the Quakers' leading scorer and is on pace to break Penn's single-season record for three-pointers. And Plummer's offensive reemergence could not have come at a better time. After a pair of disastrous games in New York last weekend that saw him go 2-for-20 from the field, Plummer reversed course and was the game-high scorer against both Dartmouth and Harvard. Yet even after Saturday's win, it seemed that Plummer didn't quite realize that his four years in the Palestra had come to an end. "I looked at Geoff today, and I watched as it hit him, and I don't think it really hit me yet," Plummer said. "I really don't have any sentiments right now. I think it'll all set in after we hopefully win the Ivy League championship and after all that is over and done." For Owens, by contrast, this moment was a long time coming. Now in his fifth year at Penn, the 6'11" center is the heart and soul of this Quakers squad. "Big" missed his entire sophomore season with a heart condition and has toughed his way through a broken jaw, shin splints and foot injuries to become one of the most fearsome competitors in the Ivies. And it's clear that Owens has picked up a few things along the way -- as evidenced by the fact that the starting centers for Dartmouth and Harvard combined for only three points and six rebounds before they each fouled out. More than a little credit for their limited success goes to Owens. "It was good to get [Sigafoos] out of there," Owens said of the 6'11" Crimson center, who fouled out in six minutes of play. "He was a little wild with his arms, throwing his arms everywhere, and I think I got him on a couple of fouls by acting a little bit, because he was a little bit wild. "That's what I was trying to do, to use a little bit of my experience to get him in foul trouble." Yet even after a weekend that saw Owens record his 13th career double-double and lead Penn to two huge wins, the captain remains focused on the final few games, not the recent past. "Obviously, like Lamar said, we were so focused on winning the games this weekend that while it crossed my mind that it was senior night, I never really thought about it," Owens said. "And I guess after the game when I was walking off, I kind of looked up and realized it. This was my last game, and that this was a great place to play. "But we still have a job to do, and three more games to win." Not to be lost in the shuffle on Saturday were the five rebounds pulled down by Sanger, who has plugged along, largely unnoticed, for the past four seasons. Ever since he was thrust into the spotlight as a freshman, starting in his first college game in place of the injured Owens, Sanger has been a tireless contributor to the Red and Blue. And while he has seen his playing time decrease over the past three years, the 6'8" senior showed he can fight with the best of them inside, helping shut down Harvard's Dan Clemente early on in Saturday's victory. "I though Josh Sanger gave us nice energy early in the game guarding Clemente, who obviously had hurt us badly up in Boston," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. All three have had their ups and downs in Red and Blue uniforms over the past four -- or five -- years. So it was fitting that these seniors closed out their home careers at the Palestra on a high note with two convincing victories.Comments powered by Disqus
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