On Tuesday, Penn men’s basketball will face off against rival Princeton in the Palestra for the first time during Penn’s school year since 2012. The game will celebrate the Palestra’s 90th anniversary, as it will be the schools’ 236th meeting with each other. But before the Quakers and Tigers tip off in Tuesday’s crazily anticipated matchup, take a look back at the last time the teams met during the school year in the rivalry’s 225th edition.
The date was January 30, 2012, and Locust Walk was buzzing in excitement.
Earlier in the week, President Obama had given the final State of the Union address of his first term and the first Hunger Games movie was still seven weeks away from its premiere. Neither of those could match this day’s anticipation, however.
You see, defending Ivy League champion Princeton was coming to town, and everyone knew that if Penn was going to make a run to its first NCAA Tournament since 2007, beating the Tigers was a must.
Fortunately for the nearly 7,000 Quaker fans in attendance, Penn came to play, walloping Princeton 82-67 to keep its undefeated Ivy season alive.
Of course, it was fun any time the Quakers and Tigers got together, but 6-foot-1 redheaded senior guard Zack Rosen made this night one to remember. The Colonia, New Jersey native torched Princeton for a game-high 28 points and left Princeton’s first-year coach Mitch Henderson stumped in the process.
“We really had no response or answer for Zack Rosen,” Henderson said.
The night also carried some extra meaning for Penn coach Jerome Allen. The victory snapped Penn’s five-game losing streak against the Tigers, but Allen lost a place in the record-books as Rosen’s big scoring night moved him past his coach to eighth on the Red and Blue’s all-time scoring list.
While Rosen was nothing short of phenomenal, several other Quakers also stepped up with big nights. Fifth-year senior guard Tyler Bernardini stretched Princeton’s defense for 14 points and sophomore guards Miles Cartwright and Steve Rennard both chipped in with 10.
On the other side of the court, Princeton got 50 combined points from Ian Hummer, Doug Davis, and Brendan Connolly, but no other Tiger was able to score more than five points in a game that Princeton that never led.
The Quakers’ performance was a strong statement, and the fans at the game certainly took notice with Rosen describing the crowd as “rocking.”
But unfortunately for the Red and Blue faithful, the ending of this story would not be a happy one. Penn would finish just one game short of an NCAA Tournament berth with Harvard just edging Penn for the Ivy crown.
For one Monday night in January though, Zack Rosen and the Quakers gave Penn a little something extra to talk about in classes the next day.