Senior forward AJ Brodeur had scored more than 10 points in 43 of his last 44 Division I games. His lone single-digit scoring performance in that span? It came against Dartmouth. And on Friday night, the Big Green had Brodeur's number once again.
Penn (13-9, 5-4 Ivy) fell to Dartmouth (10-14, 3-6 Ivy) in a crucial conference road game, 66-59. Nothing was going right for the Quakers on offense, as the Red and Blue shot just 36.7% from the field. Senior forward AJ Brodeur scored just eight points on 4-of-16 shooting for Penn, while senior guard Devon Goodman chipped in a team-high 17 points.
Neither team got off to a great start offensively; at the 12:43 mark in the first half, both teams had combined to score a measly 10 points. Dartmouth was able to get out to a nine-point lead with 3:13 left in the half thanks to strong performances by junior forward Chris Knight and junior guard Aaryn Rai. Knight finished the night with 16 points, while Rai chipped in a career-high 18.
"Each game, we are really getting the same looks, but tonight they just weren't falling," coach Steve Donahue said. "I thought Dartmouth did a really good job managing the game clock, and that was a big reason they were able to win."
Penn clawed its way back into the game and was able to cut the halftime lead to one thanks to some late-half heroics from Goodman. The Big Green had six more shots than the Red and Blue in the first half, securing six offensive rebounds to pick up more second-chance opportunities.
Rai and Knight continued to slowly chip away at the Quaker defense, but Goodman and freshman forward Lucas Monroe helped Penn stay around. Monroe scored a career-high 12 points on 3-of-4 shooting, and the 52% free-throw shooter knocked in all five of his shots from the charity stripe.
"[Monroe] did a really good job tonight. He made some really athletic plays and had some great cuts," Donahue said. "It's really the kind of energy I like to see coming off the bench."
The Big Green started to pull away late in the second half, as sophomore guard Trevon Ary-Turner nailed a three-pointer to give the home side a double-digit lead at 60-50. Goodman, freshman forward Max Martz, and junior guard Eddie Scott all hit late threes to extend the game, but their efforts were not enough. Dartmouth hit its free throws down the stretch and was able to come away with the victory.
The loss hurts the Quakers' chances at an Ivy Tournament berth, since Brown (13-9, 6-3 Ivy) and Harvard (17-7, 6-3 Ivy) both won on Friday. The Quakers will travel to Cambridge, Mass. on Saturday to take on the Crimson in a must-win scenario. A Penn loss combined with a Brown win would put the Quakers two games back in the race for Ivy Madness.
"We prepare for every game like it's our last, so this loss doesn't change our mentality in any way," Donahue said. "We are going to focus on Harvard for the next 21 hours."