When Penn basketball met Dartmouth at the Palestra on Jan. 30, the Quakers picked up their first Ivy win of the season largely because they limited Big Green guard Alex Mitola to six points.
On Saturday, the Red and Blue were nowhere near as lucky.
In a game that featured 11 lead changes, Dartmouth rode 15 second-half points from Mitola and managed to surmount Penn's largest lead of the game with a clutch 17-6 run late in the contest, one that allowed the Big Green to pull away with a 67-62 win.
The defeat marks the fifth-straight loss for the Quakers (7-16, 2-7 Ivy), the longest Ivy losing streak for the program since the 1990-91 season.
"When we needed stops down the stretch, we just couldn't come up with them," coach Jerome Allen said. "As much as I applaud a lot of the good things we did ... I don't want these guys to settle for just coming up close."
Though five of Penn's previous six contests had ended in losses of greater than 16 points, Saturday's matchup was close the entire night. When the Red and Blue went ahead, 51-46, on an Antonio Woods three-point play, it marked the largest lead for either team all night to that point.
The contest had been a back-and-forth affair up to that point. Playing without suspended junior captain Tony Hicks for the second consecutive night, Penn began the game energized and focused, a distinct difference from Friday night's 69-46 loss to Harvard.
While the Quakers only hit 10 shots in the opening period, five of those came from beyond the arc. Sophomore guard Matt Poplawski -- starting in Hicks' place -- hit two treys in the first half and senior captain Cam Crocker had nine of his career-high 10 points before halftime.
Although Mitola didn't become a factor until the second half, several of his teammates set the tone for the Big Green (10-14, 3-7) early on. Dartmouth hit four treys of its own in the first half, including two by junior forward Connor Boehm before the half that sent coach Paul Cormier's squad into the break up, 29-28.
To make up for Hicks' absence, the Red and Blue did a remarkable job spreading the wealth offensively. In the first half alone, Woods, Poplawski, Crocker, sophomore Matt Howard and freshman Sam Jones all hit threes for the Quakers while junior center Darien Nelson-Henry also got on the board.
"I thought guys played for one another," Allen said. "They played hard, made extra passes and played with a certain sense of selflessness about them."
Despite the closeness of the opening frame, the Big Green seemed poised to break the game wide open after halftime. After the two squads traded buckets, Mitola scored eight consecutive points for Dartmouth to give it a 39-30 lead.
But the Quakers charged back. A three-point play by freshman Mike Auger and treys from Poplawski and Jones brought Penn back within two.
A three by rookie Darnell Foreman eventually knotted the score up once again, this time at 43. Jones then hit his third three of the contest to cap a 16-4 run for the Quakers, one that gave them a 46-43 lead.
But after cutting their deficit to 55-53, Mitola hit a clutch three before Carpenter drew a foul on a floater to put the Big Green ahead for good. Mitola then canned consecutive buckets to cap off his night with 18 points and give Dartmouth a 63-57 advantage en route to its eventual five-point win.
Now sitting alone in last place in the Ancient Eight, the Red and Blue will next be in action on Friday when they travel to Providence to take on Brown.Comments powered by Disqus
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