NEW HAVEN, CONN. -- Some things are naturally confusing, like nuclear physics or the weather patterns of Philadelphia in winter. Then there's the Penn men's basketball team, which has managed to pull surprise after surprise seemingly out of nowhere. A night after being thoroughly outplayed in the second half of an 85-77 loss at Brown, the Quakers (12-16, 9-4 Ivy League) responded with an utter shellacking of Yale, going up by as many as 32 points en route to a 65-38 victory. And a night after going 2-for-10 from three-point range in Providence, R.I., Penn senior Lamar Plummer hit 5-of-8 from behind the arc in New Haven to set the Quakers' single-season record for three-pointers, with 93. Princeton swept the Bears (14-12, 8-5) and the Elis (10-16, 7-6), so Penn now trails the Tigers by one game with one contest remaining. For the Quakers to pull out an Ivy League title, they must defeat the Tigers (15-10, 10-3) on Tuesday at Jadwin Gymnasium, and then again in a potential Ivy playoff next weekend. After the bipolar play of the Quakers this weekend, though, whether Penn can advance past Tuesday is questionable. Penn has struggled on the road in the Ivies, and in facing five pumped-up Bears players on Friday -- not to mention 2,500 boisterous Bears fans in the first sellout in Brown history -- the Quakers had to scratch and claw for every basket and rebound. The teams traded the lead 10 times in the first 20 minutes, with neither squad going up by more than six points. But as the game wore on, Brown began to pull away, as the Quakers were harassed into 14 turnovers and were out-rebounded, 42-38. "We didn't do a good job of checking them out on the boards..." Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "We had a couple of easy basket opportunities that we didn't take advantage of." Penn was down 38-37 at the half, but Brown's Mike Martin hit two threes early in the second frame to put the Bears up 48-42, and Penn never really got back into the game. Martin scored 17 points in the second half, including eight free throws without a miss in the final minute. "Mike Martin had been struggling a little bit with his shooting," Brown coach Glen Miller said. "But he stepped up and hit free throw after free throw. His play off the bench the past six to eight games has been something special." Freshman guard Jeff Schiffner provided a spark off the bench for Penn with 15 points, and sophomore forward Ugonna Onyekwe racked up an impressive, but quiet, 17 points and 14 rebounds. But this was not enough for the Quakers. Penn went a pitiable 8-for-19 from the free-throw line, was out-rebounded by a Brown squad whose tallest player was 6'7" and was unable to stop the penetration of Bears forward Earl Hunt and guard Omari Ware. Penn point guard David Klatsky finished with seven points, seven assists and four turnovers. The sophomore, however, forced lob passes inside and seemed afraid to shoot from the perimeter. When all was said and done, for the third time this winter, students of an opposing Ivy school rushed the court to celebrate an upset win over Penn. In contrast to the problems that Friday exposed, Saturday's game showed Penn's potential. Onyekwe, coming off the bench behind senior Josh Sanger, dominated by scoring 16 points on a variety of jumpers, fast-break lay-ups and leaners off the glass. Penn forward Koko Archibong scored in double-figures for the second consecutive night, and Plummer hit five three-pointers to push him past Matt Maloney's old school record for three-pointers in a season. "I don't even know which shot was the one for the record," said Plummer, who seemed more impressed with Penn's defense than his record. "The main thing we did was play good defense... Yesterday I didn't do too well of a job of guarding, and neither did the rest of the team, so that's why we lost." Plummer contained Yale's leading scorer, sophomore guard Chris Leanza, who could muster only one point. Leanza was not the only Yale player held in check. The Elis went 13:39 without a basket in the first half, turning the ball over six times in that stretch. The Quakers out-rebounded the Elis 44-35, as they stormed out to a 35-13 halftime lead. Penn extended this margin to 50-18 with 13:21 remaining after threes from Plummer and Archibong. All of Penn's players saw action in the final minutes. A Jekyll-and-Hyde team, Penn's dominating win at Yale is far out-shadowed by its untimely defeat at Brown. A loss away from a spring break free of basketball, the Quakers must now get ready for Princeton -- possibly twice. "We're going to prepare for Princeton as soon as we get on the bus," Plummer said after the Yale victory. "We're going to work hard and watch a lot of film. It should be a good matchup, and hopefully we can beat them on Tuesday and then play them again."Comments powered by Disqus
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