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Sophomore guard Ryan Betley carried Penn men's basketball in the first half against Princeton, leading the Quakers to a nine point halftime lead.

Credit: Chase Sutton

Big-time players make big-time plays.

Penn men's basketball sophomore guard Ryan Betley made a lot of those in the Quakers' 76-70 win over Princeton on Saturday. His 21 points on 72 percent shooting garnered him the third Ivy League Player of the Week award of his career.

Betley paced the Quakers from the start, scoring or assisting on five of Penn’s first seven baskets. By the end of the first half, he had 19 points, making seven of nine shot attempts. In the second half, Betley was largely held in check, only scoring two points with Princeton’s Amir Bell draped all over him. 

Credit: Chase Sutton and Christine Lam

Luckily for Penn, Princeton’s defensive focus on Betley opened up offensive opportunities for other players. All of Penn’s starters reached double figures in scoring for the first time since the Quaker's double-overtime loss against La Salle. However, in that game, the starters shot an underwhelming 36 percent from the floor, compared to the 50 percent they shot against Princeton. 

More than 20 points from the sophomore is not surprising considering that he has already had five such performances on the season and paces the Quakers with 15.2 points per game. Still, the efficiency at which he’s scoring is remarkable considering his unwavering confidence to take deep three-pointers. In Penn’s loss against Towson earlier in the season, the Downingtown High School West product poured in 25 points on 8 of 12 shooting, including 4 of 7 from downtown.

Betley not only gets buckets in droves, but he also gets them within the flow of the offense. Entering last season, Betley may not have been Penn men's basketball's most highly ranked recruit — that distinction fell to fellow sophomore forward AJ Brodeur — but at this point, he may very well be its most important player. 

If Betley keeps his hot hand, he may help Penn garner more than just Ivy League Player of the Week awards.