INDIANAPOLIS — Butler’s Roosevelt Jones grabbed a Jamal Lewis pass out of midair, hustled to go coast-to-coast with it and laid it easily into the hoop at the other end.
With the home team now holding its largest lead of the game up 11 points, a frenzied Hinkle Fieldhouse crowd rose to its feet at the 5:50 mark of the second half to salute its hero.
Not even three minutes earlier, Penn had pulled within one possession, 52-49, on a Tony Hicks drive for two with 8:42 to go. But the No. 17 Bulldogs grabbed a chokehold on the Quakers from then to the finish line, going on a 21-5 run to close the game for a 70-57 victory.
“Anytime you play on the road in Division I basketball, there’s a couple things that you gotta make sure you cover if you expect to win: And that’s rebounding the ball and taking care of the ball,” Penn coach Jerome Allen said.
With junior captain Fran Dougherty — their leading scorer and rebounder — out for the second straight game with mononucleosis, the Quakers (2-10) bowed to Butler (11-2) on the boards, surrendering 13 offensive rebounds while pulling in just three of their own.
It all led to the Bulldogs’ 18-4 advantage on second-chance points — the difference in the 13-point final deficit.
“The first thing I looked at when I saw Dougherty was out … I think the thing that you notice is that they were getting outrebounded by eight and then he averaged eight,” Butler coach Brad Stevens said. “I thought it was the difference in the game, the power inside.”
In the paint overall, the Bulldogs outmuscled the Quakers to the tune of 36 points in the house to just 16 for Penn. The Red and Blue also turned the ball over 19 times.
At least the Quakers’ sharpshooting was on Wednesday night — especially beyond the arc, where they drained 8-of-15 attempts. Miles Cartwright made three treys on four tries and led Penn with 15 points on 5-for-14 shooting overall.
“Offensively, I wasn’t overly upset,” Allen said. “Butler played the gaps and non-passing lanes, so we knew we were going to be able to get ball reversals. But really the game just came down to just us not having unforced turnovers, not catching the ball and dribbling it off our foot.”
Defensively, the Quakers were able to limit senior guard Rotnei Clarke — the Bulldogs’ leading scorer who entering averaging 18.1 points per game — to a season-low six points on 2-for-11 shooting.
But it was Roosevelt Jones for whom Penn didn’t have an answer. The 6-foot-4 sophomore dropped a career-high 24 points while hitting 10-of-15 shots from the floor. He also added six boards, three assists, two steals and a block.
“One thing [Jones] does well is he stays within himself,” Allen remarked. “I don’t think he took one jump shot, just tried to close out short. … Just say he did a good job of being physical and picking his spots and doing what he was capable of doing.”
The Quakers’ losing streak has now swelled to five games, and they’ve lost 10 of 11.
They’ll face their second straight Atlantic 10 foe and second Big 5 opponent of the season on Saturday at 2 p.m., when they tip off against La Salle at the Tom Gola Arena. Penn hasn’t beaten the Explorers since the 2006-07 campaign.Comments powered by Disqus
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