PRINCETON, N.J. - With one minute, 48 seconds remaining in Princeton's 68-52 win over Penn last night, the Tigers fans in Jadwin Gymnasium exploded. They were cheering their senior captain, Nate Walton, who was coming out of the game. Fellow senior Terence Rozier-Byrd checked into the contest for Walton, and the "Jadwin Jungle" was showing its appreciation for the 6'7" center. At the same time, the entire Penn bench stood and began to clap. It was less noticeable and far less noisy, but the Quakers were showing their appreciation as well. At that moment, Lamar Plummer walked off the court for the final time as a Penn basketball player. Before last night's game, Plummer did not imagine his Penn basketball career would end this way. Neither did Geoff Owens or Josh Sanger. For every member of the Penn men's basketball team, last night was the end of their season. Ten of those Quakers, however, will don the Red and Blue again next year. For Owens, Plummer and Sanger, this is it. "Personally, it's been a pleasure to coach Geoff, Lamar Plummer and Josh Sanger in their last collegiate games," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "I wish them nothing but the best, but they'll remain part of our program for a long time to come." With last night's loss capping off one of the most disappointing seasons in recent Penn history, though, there was not much for Penn's senior leaders to be happy about as they exited Jadwin. "Obviously, it's really disappointing," Owens said. "You're remembered for the last thing you've done, and I don't think I did a very good job tonight. "Obviously, it's going to run through my mind a lot. I have a lot of time to think about it, so I'm pretty disappointed about it. I'm just going to have to look back on my whole career and not just the last game." When Owens looks back on his career, he'll see it as one of the most successful ever put together by a Penn big man. In the previous two seasons, he was an integral part of Penn's back-to-back Ivy championship teams, and he leaves Penn as the school's all-time leading shot blocker. For now, though, what is foremost in his mind are the five points and four rebounds he accumulated last night. Plummer also will likely dwell on Penn's missed opportunity at Jadwin, but he did use this season to establish himself as one of the most potent outside forces ever at Penn. This year, he buried 96 three-pointers, enough to break Matt Maloney's Penn season record. And that total was just two short of the Ivy League mark for a season. Plummer scored nine points on 3-of-9 shooting last night. Sanger started the first and final games of his Quakers career, but was used mostly as a role player during his four years. Dunphy recently inserted Sanger back into the starting line-up this past weekend, saying that the 6'8" forward gave the Quakers more energy than sophomore Ugonna Onyekwe at the game's start. Sanger played just four minutes last night. When the final buzzer sounded, the Princeton seniors were the stars; it was Walton who had the Jadwin net hanging from his neck; and it is the Tigers who are now headed to the NCAA Tournament. Penn's seniors ended their careers quietly. Disappointed with an ugly end to an ugly season, there was not much for them to say. A 68-52 loss to their biggest rivals and the idea of sitting at home during March Madness is not the way they wanted to go out. But in a season that began with high expectations that we're never met, it seemed sadly appropriate.Comments powered by Disqus
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