With their backs against the wall, the Quakers have showed up.
At the half, Penn men’s basketball leads Yale 46-30. With Brown beating Princeton earlier in the day, this contest has become an elimination game for the Quakers (17-11, 5-7 Ivy), who are a game out of fourth place.
Right from the start, everything seemed to go the Quakers’ way. Junior forward AJ Brodeur picked up three steals and senior guard Antonio Woods poured in seven straight to open up a nine-point lead for the Quakers before the first media timeout.
The Red and Blue took that hot start and continued to play well for the rest of the half. With Yale (19-6, 93) struggling to find open shots due to a suffocating Penn defense, the Quakers took advantage of the opportunities they had. Despite only outrebounding the Elis by four boards, Penn seemed to dominate the glass, and used the extra chances to pour in 10 second-chance points.
And the points came from everywhere on the floor — the Quakers had 22 points in the paint and six three-pointers. Woods and Brodeur paced the team with 15 and 12, respectively.
Every time the Bulldogs seemed primed to make a run to close the gap, someone stepped up for the Quakers to silence it. Once it was a steal and breakaway layup for guard Devon Goodman. Then it was a step-back three for Woods. But no matter who it was, the Quakers found a way to get the ball into the basket. The only reason the Quakers couldn’t pull away further was Yale’s Alex Copeland, who seemed to single-handedly will the Bulldogs back into the game with big shot after big shot. He finished the half with 12 points.
If the Quakers hold on to the lead, tomorrow night’s showdown with Brown will be a de-facto play-in game for the final Ivy League tournament spot. Penn's lead is hardly guaranteed to stay; the Quakers have struggled in the second half throughout Ivy play. Whatever happens, this game will not disappoint.
Read the full recap here.