The Quakers hung onto their second-place spot in the Ivy League on Saturday, holding off Dartmouth to secure a 78-68 victory.
Penn (6-11, 3-1 Ivy) entered the game second in the Ivy League after wins against Brown and Cornell and a loss to Columbia, while Dartmouth (4-10, 1-2) entered third in the conference after beating the Bears and losing to the Big Red.
The Red and Blue spent much of the day working from behind, with the Big Green controlling a lead throughout much of the first half. The Quakers then went on to offset the Big Green’s lead in the second period with a great offensive showing from multiple players. On the afternoon, five Penn players scored in double figures.
The first half started with great defensive pressure from the Quakers, with freshman guard George Smith securing two takeaways in the first three minutes. The first basket for Penn was a fadeaway by sophomore Max Martz that sailed up just enough to get into the basket.
Despite the defense, Dartmouth pulled into the lead with scores from junior forward Cam Krystowiak and guard Brendan Barry. The Big Green was able to expand its lead to 10 points.
“The early pressure helped, but they were impatient and the opponents took advantage of that,” coach Steve Donahue said.
Although the Quakers played from behind, tough shots from Smith and offensive energy from sophomore guard Jordan Dingle were able to keep the Red and Blue going. Martz was also able to get two threes in a row, the second of which came from an open look after a contested offensive rebound from junior forward Michael Moshkovitz.
By the end of the period, Smith led the team with 12 points. Despite the offensive pickup and the great opening defense, Penn ended the half trailing by four.
Penn immediately tied and took the lead in their first few possessions in the second half, starting with a hook shot from Moshkovitz. Dartmouth took the lead again after a couple of turnovers, but Penn quickly tied again with a tough bank shot from Moshkovitz. A three from junior guard Jonah Charles reestablished the lead, and a tough backdoor cut from Martz kept it in check as the second period continued.
“We stayed disciplined in the second half,” Donahue said. “We were also able to force some really contested shots.”
Penn would keep up the big offensive plays as the lead bounced back and forth throughout the second half. A second-half highlight was a great offensive rebound by Williams that set up a floater by sophomore guard Clark Slajchert, whose brother Wes is a senior guard on Dartmouth.
Despite foul trouble from Moshkovitz and Martz, players like junior guard Lucas Monroe and Slajchert continued to build on Penn’s offensive momentum as the period went on. In the final minutes, Slajchert was able to steal an inbound pass for a quick layup to expand the Quakers’ lead.
“We had a lot of good scores,” Donahue said. “They were always able to find an open man.”
By the end of the game, the Quakers were 10 points ahead, their largest lead in the game. Their 60% shooting in the second half propelled them to a comeback win to close out a four-game run at home. Penn had five double-digit scorers: Dingle, Martz (who was 3-for-3 from deep and led with 13 points), Slajchert, Smith, and Williams.
“We all have a sense of getting open looks, no matter who it is,” Donahue said. “We don’t need just one or two guys to win games.”
The Red and Blue will travel to Princeton to face the Ivy-leading Tigers (13-3, 3-0) on Monday at 4:00 p.m.