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Senior guard Lucas Monroe dunks on Brown during Saturday's game at the Palestra on Feb. 18.

Credit: Ellie Pirtle

As February ticks on, eyes turn to March. And in a crucial game to secure a spot, or a higher seed, in next month’s Ivy Tournament, Penn impressed.

The Quakers dominated nearly every facet of the game in a 90-69 win against Brown on Saturday night at the Palestra. Penn currently holds a record of 16-11 overall and 8-4 within their conference, and with Princeton’s loss Saturday, Penn is now tied for first place in the Ivy League standings.

“In a lot of ways we control our own destiny, if we can beat Dartmouth … we want to win against Dartmouth, and when that’s over we want to beat Princeton. If we do that we at least a tie of a championship, and that’s always been the goal,” coach Steve Donahue said. 

The Quakers started out incredibly well with sophomore center Nick Spinoso scoring six early points. Brown was then forced to call timeout after star guard Jordan Dingle hit the first three-pointer of the game. 

The timeout didn’t do much to stop Penn from scoring. The Quakers started raining shots from long range with no answer from Brown. The Bears concentrated most of their offensive firepower in the paint, but Penn was ready most possessions. 

Brown went on multiple scoring droughts while it seemed like every Quaker was scoring. The score ballooned to 30-10 with just six minutes left before halftime.

Almost everytime Brown tried to drive to the basket, there were multiple Quakers swarming making it easier to force tough shots and turnovers. Brown finished the first half 9-33 from the field. The Quakers had all the momentum with multiple starters and bench players contributing — a byproduct of excellent ball movement.

Another key stat from the first half concerned rebounds. Penn had 26 to Brown's abysmal 14, thanks to Max Martz and Lucas Monroe who had seven and four boards respectively at the half. 

Brown was able to make some shots from downtown at the half and cut the lead to 18 with Penn leading 47-29.

The second half was more of the same. The Quakers’ job was to protect their lead and play solid defense — and they did just that. It was perhaps one of their best games of the season from a defensive perspective. It wasn’t just interior defense; Penn absolutely dominated perimeter and transition defense as well. 

“I think some of that is personnel based, playing more Max Lorca-Lloyd, George Smith, [and] Andrew Laczkowski … they’ve just been a much bigger part of what we’re doing [defensively],” Donahue said postgame.

Spinoso also had one of his best highlights of the season with a put-back dunk, which was followed by a Clark Slajchert floater, both of which set the Palestra crowd on fire.  The score was 73-42 with 11 minutes left in regulation. The game was pretty much over at this point. 

In the game’s final minutes, Brown started hitting some more shots from beyond the arc and full court pressing, but Penn remained in the driver's seat throughout. Penn’s top scorer of the evening was Slajchert, who had 19 points.

Donahue commented on Spinoso’s dunk, saying, “I’m probably a little more upset he didn’t check out the play before … Nick has been really good … [that putback] shows how far he’s come.”

The Quakers will play another conference game against Dartmouth next week on February 25th at the Palestra. The game will be streamed on ESPN+ starting at 2pm EST.