For four years, senior guard David Klatsky has remained in the shadows, obscured by the stars of the Penn men's basketball team. Then, last weekend. Then, The Shot. With the Quakers leading by a bucket with less than a minute remaining against a resilient Brown squad Saturday, Klatsky heaved up a prayer with a man in his face and the shot clock ticking away. The ball went in, and the game was over. "That was definitely the best shot of my career," Klatsky said yesterday, minutes before joining his teammates on the bus headed for Boston. The Quakers take on Harvard tonight before traveling to Hanover, N.H., to play Dartmouth tomorrow. "I let it go and in my head I was thinking, 'Wow, that has a shot at going in.' And then it went in and the crowd went nuts," Klatsky said. Can Penn's sixth man pull another rabbit out of his hat this weekend? "Hopefully, we won't need that," Klatsky laughed. Judging by recent history, the Quakers very well might. Harvard's Laviettes Pavilion has not treated the Quakers well of late, as Penn has lost its last two games there. Last season, Harvard edged Penn, 78-75, in overtime behind 28 points from Patrick Harvey. Two seasons ago, then-senior Dan Clemente poured in 29 points to lead the Crimson to a 77-62 victory over the Quakers, a game that ended Penn's well-recognized 25-game conference winning streak. Clemente has since graduated and Harvey has since been ruled academically ineligible and forced to leave the university. Is there another Harvard player who can place the team on his back and carry them to victory?
"They got some other guys who want to prove themselves," Penn shooting guard Tim Begley said. "There will be some kids gunning for us. The team's going to be juiced." Those players include Harvard's new top scorer, Brady Merchant (14.2 points per game), top rebounder Sam Winter (8.5 boards per game) and top passer Elliot Prasse-Freeman (7.8 assists per game). Prasse-Freeman is the all-time Ivy League leader in assists. Regardless, playing at Briggs Cage has proven an extremely tough task for Penn (15-5, 7-0) the last two years, no matter the players on the floor. "I know, speaking for myself, this gym is one of the hardest gyms for me to play at," said Klatsky, who scored six points on 1-for-6 shooting from the field in last year's loss to the Crimson. "They play better at home. And when we come to town, we know it's going to be sold out." The Quakers have not had as hard a time at Dartmouth's Leede Arena, where they have won their last six contests. The Big Green -- led by senior Charles Harris, who is averaging 13 points per game -- is coming off two home victories over Columbia and Cornell last weekend, their first Ivy League wins of the season. Like Harvard (11-10, 3-5), Dartmouth (6-15, 2-6) is out of serious Ivy title contention. Still, Penn coach Fran Dunphy has been around too long to take any games for granted, especially those on the road. "We have seven playoff games left," Dunphy said. "We're in for the fight of our lives." And even after three dramatic home victories over Princeton, Yale and Brown last week that put the Quakers in first place halfway through the Ivy League season, the Quakers will not rest on their laurels. Why would they? "There's really no time to celebrate," Begley said. "In a couple more weeks, if we keep pounding these wins out, we'll have a lot to celebrate then."Comments powered by Disqus
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