Chalk this one up to fresh legs and a healthy dose of Zack Rosen.
Penn coach Jerome Allen admitted after Penn’s 64-54 win over Columbia Friday night that when the Quakers dropped their tilt in New York two weeks ago, his players were just plain exhausted.
“I’m never really one for excuses, but I am human,” Allen said, referring to the reality behind the team’s brutal five-games-in-eight-days stretch that culminated in Penn’s 75-62 loss to the Lions on Feb. 12.
“In the back of my mind, I say, when we got to that Columbia game in Manhattan, I think mentally and physically, we were a little tired. We had played three consecutive overtime games. It’s draining. It takes a lot out of you emotionally.”
Now rested and riding an emotional upswing after two wins last weekend, the Quakers took revenge against the Lions (14-12, 5-7 Ivy) and surpassed their Ivy win total from last season.
Rosen, who agreed with his coach about the mental and physical fatigue, carried the Quakers (12-13, 6-5) this time around with 17 points and nine assists. He tied his season-high with 18 shot attempts and dished out at least nine dimes for just the second time this season.
“Sometimes we come out lackadaisical, and that’s on me because I do it. My mindset tonight was just be aggressive and hope that we can get things going on both sides,” he said. “I just wanted to get in the lane and try to make plays.”
He followed that mantra from the first play of the game, spotting up and drilling a three-pointer. But between that trifecta and Rosen’s buzzer-beating three right before halftime, the Quakers shot just 28 percent (8-for-29) and scored 23 points.
They kept themselves in the game defensively, holding Columbia to just 18 points on 34.8 percent shooting.
The Quakers edged the Lions, 41-33, on the boards, including 15 on the offensive glass. Getting his second-consecutive start, junior center Mike Howlett grabbed seven rebounds, while senior Jack Eggleston pulled down a team-high 11.
“[Having Howlett back] probably makes a difference. He’s a big strong body that you have to account for,” Columbia coach Kyle Smith said. “He had several tipouts on the offensive boards. That was the thing I was most frustrated with, just not being able to rebound with them in the first half.”
But it was a total team effort on the glass. Allen pointed to Zack Gordon’s five boards in just 11 minutes off the bench as a sign of the “collective effort” rebounding.
After a quiet first half, freshman Miles Cartwright helped the Quakers seal the victory down the stretch. He hit 8-of-9 free throws after the break, including three early in the half to cap off a 9-0 run and give the Quakers a comfortable 12-point lead.
Despite 11 second-half points by junior guard Noruwa Agho on his way to a game-high 20, Columbia couldn’t cut its deficit below seven as Penn clamped down on defense.Comments powered by Disqus
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