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The Quakers narrowly escaped the Big Green on Friday night, breathing a sigh of relief as the buzzer sounded on a nail-biting 53-51 victory. Penn 24 - Eggleston Credit: Michael Chien

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. ­— With Penn up two and 16 seconds remaining, junior Jack Eggleston — a solid 78 percent free-throw shooter — stepped up to the line for a one-and-one attempt with the chance to make it a two possession game.


Dartmouth pulled down the rebound and a gut-wrenching sequence followed. Guard Jabari Trotter missed a desperation three and the Big Green failed to connect on two putback attempts, sealing their fate.

Although the Quakers were able to hang on for the 53-51 victory Friday, they burned out the next night, falling 80-66 to Harvard.

While Penn hit 12-of-13 from the free throw line against Dartmouth, its lone miss could have cost them their first back-to-back win since Feb. 17th of last year.

“What we need to do is really hold ourselves accountable and really try to execute so that games don’t come down to the last possession,” coach Jerome Allen said.

The Quakers (3-15, 2-2 Ivy) were hurt by poor execution early on in the game, as Dartmouth built an early 10-3 lead.

However, guard Zack Rosen quickly went into attack mode and scored the team’s first 11 points, closing the gap to 12-11 with 14:43 remaining.

Though Rosen did not attempt a field goal for the rest of the half, the Quakers jumped out to a 35-30 halftime lead, thanks to balanced scoring and a sizzling 66.7 field goal percentage.

In the second half, both teams were anemic offensively. The Big Green were held to 27.6 percent shooting while the Red and Blue shot 27.3 percent.

Yet Penn was able to build its biggest lead of the game after a ferocious reverse jam by Eggleston and a layup by Darren Smith gave the Quakers a 41-33 edge.

“That dunk was ridiculous,” Turley said. “That got me kind of hyped.”

It showed.

Conor Turley’s five points in the last 6:56 of play were critical in preserving the win, especially since both teams combined for just 12 points in that same span.

Rosen, who led the way with 16 points, was satisfied with the result but still felt there was much to learn.

“I know we got so much work to do,” Rosen said. “Even the last play, we let them get three offensive rebounds and so, we’re making it tough on ourselves.”

Rosen’s assessment was almost prophetic of the matchup against Harvard the following night, as the Quakers once again made it difficult for themselves by falling into an early 25-9 hole.

Though Penn out-scored the Crimson the rest of the way, it was ultimately not enough to overcome the deficit.

In front of a hostile crowd at Lavietes Pavilion, the Red and Blue appeared frustrated from the start, turning the ball over five times and committing six fouls in the first seven minutes. As a result, the Crimson took advantage of their free throw opportunities, netting 13-for-16 from the charity stripe, including 6-for-6 by star guard Jeremy Lin.

However, Lin was fairly unproductive in the first half. Penn’s 2-3 zone and hard traps forced Lin into three turnovers and 0-for-4 shooting from the field in the half.

Lin’s futility, coupled with Dan Monckon’s lift off the bench — the junior had five rebounds and scored 10 of his career-high 19 points in the first half — enabled the Quakers to pull within nine at the break, down 41-32.

In the second half, though, it was a different story for Lin. The Crimson guard didn’t miss a shot, going 4-for-4 from the field as well as 4-for-4 from the line. He went on to finish with 19 points, six assists, five steals, and three blocks.

The Quakers were derailed by poor shooting and an inability to close out Crimson shooters.

Penn shot just 33.3 percent from the field — compared to Harvard’s 50 percent—and allowed Harvard to shoot 6-10 from beyond the arc.

The Quakers kept the score close in the second half, going on an 11-0 run — eight of those points coming from the foul line — to cut the deficit to six with less than five minutes to go.

But four consecutive threes between guards Christian Webster and Oliver McNally put the game out of reach.

Relieved to get the win, Crimson coach Tommy Amaker had high praise for the effort put forth by Penn.

“Rosen is so hard to guard, and Eggleston...he’s just a tough guy around the goal,” Amaker said. “I thought they were tremendous in using the foul line to get back in that ball game.”

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