For the first time this season, the Quakers could not protect their first half lead.
On Friday night, Penn men’s basketball was unable to extend its five-game win streak, as the team fell to Brown by a score of 75-63 at the Palestra. It was the first time this year the Red and Blue have lost when leading after halftime — they were 9-0 coming into the night.
It was simply not the Quakers’ night in the second half. After leading for more than 15 minutes during the first, and by as many as 11 points at one point, Penn was outscored, 46-28, in the second half.
“Our struggles on offense in the second half were as bad as we have played in a long time. Give Brown credit, they played with great energy. I thought their depth was a factor. We just didn’t play an intelligent game on defense,” coach Steve Donahue said.
The Quakers led the Bears by a score of 35-29 at the half, but with 17 minutes left in the second half, Brown took a lead in the midst of a 28-4 run, a lead that it would keep until the final buzzer.
For the Red and Blue, the second half was highlighted by poor shooting, lackluster defense, and turnovers. In the second half, Brown shot 50% from the field and capitalized from the charity stripe, shooting 13-for-14 on free throws.
Leading the way for Brown were senior guards Zach Hunsaker and Brandon Anderson, who put up 21 and 31 points, respectively. The Quakers did not have an answer for the duo, as no other player for the Bears put up more than eight points.
“I thought they were able to penetrate and get downhill, which hasn’t happened to us all year. We usually contain the ball. Anderson and Hunsaker both got downhill and got looks. It exacerbates the situation on defense when you're not getting anything on offense,” Donahue said.
The Quakers were unable to protect the paint against Brown, getting outscored, 42-22, from close range. While Penn put up only four fast-break points, the Bears were able to score 18 in transition. Furthermore, the Quakers only had two points from the bench.
Penn struggled with shooting the ball, which contributed to Brown's major run. As a team, the Red and Blue shot 32% from the field and 22% from three. Freshman standout Jordan Dingle had an off night. After making three three-pointers in the first half, Dingle went ice cold, finishing the night 3-for-12 from beyond the arc.
“There were about four [three-pointers] Dingle shouldn’t have taken. He’s just a freshman and has to learn,” Donahue said. “I take responsibility as coach because I never got us into a flow on offense. We’ve gotten good looks throughout the season, but we weren’t able to tonight. He may have taken some shots he shouldn’t have, trying to make up for the defensive side.”
Senior forward AJ Brodeur led the Quakers with 19 points and and 15 rebounds.
Had they won tonight, the Quakers would have gone into Saturday’s matchup against Yale with control of the Ivy League on the line. However, a loss to the Bulldogs now could mean that Penn falls to fifth place in the Ancient Eight.
“All I know is that there is a conference tournament in four weeks," Donahue said. "Every game is so valuable. It’s the only league in the country like this. We can’t do anything about this now. We have to prepare for Yale and we have to play a good game."