The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.


George Smith attempts a layup in a game against Columbia on Feb. 3, 2023.

Credit: Samantha Turner

After winning their first conference game of the season against Dartmouth, the Quakers have gone downhill, enduring their third consecutive conference loss. Penn (9-10, 1-3 Ivy) suffered its latest defeat at the hands of Columbia (10-7, 1-3 Ivy). The 84-81 loss finished with the Red and Blue unable to string together critical possessions late in the game.

The first half was an intense back-and-forth affair. Defensively, both sides struggled, but there was strong momentum on offense for both teams. Penn finished the first half with 10 more shots than the Lions, yet the team only held a two point lead at the break. The Quakers countered their field goal inefficiency with 13 offensive rebounds to Columbia’s three — Penn was surviving on second chance points.

The second half was a carbon copy of the first, as neither side could protect a lead, with each side trading blows on the offensive end. One thing in Columbia’s favor was its shooting. The Lions knocked down 48.1% of their three pointers while Penn only managed 32%. Columbia’s Geronimo Rubio De La Rosa was 5/9 on threes to lead the Lions, finishing with 24 points. The Quakers ended the game with a turnover while trailing by three, the eventual nail in the coffin.

“They did a very good job of executing so that usually leads to help and then open shots…We did not shoot it well from three but we didn't get a lot of great looks like we typically do with our offense, and we kind of got what we deserved,” head coach Steve Donahue said postgame. "I just just think this is a young team. Its execution is coming…​​We get a lot of good things, but to win in this league now, on the road in particular, you have got to be good on both sides of the ball."

The Quakers did have some bright spots including junior forward Nick Spinoso’s performance and once again, a solid game from freshman guard Tyler Perkins. Spinoso had 17 points shooting 8/12 from the field while tallying eight rebounds. Perkins had a less efficient game but still managed to score 25 points to go along with eight boards.

“Nick was really good…He's our most veteran player. I thought he played well,” Donahue said of Spinoso. As for Perkins, Donahue said, “I think with Clark [Slajchert] being out for so long, and all this responsibility thrown on Tyler, the ball-handling has been there, but the scoring--he doesn’t know our offense as well as the older guys.” Donahue went on to say, “It's a work in progress. I admire his competitiveness…the way he competes is at a high level.”

The good news for the Quakers is that there are still plenty of conference games left, and there is potential for their season to turn around. 

“I think that the key thing for us is that we continue to grow and develop on both sides of the ball. Executing [needs to get] a little better. [Even] 10% better marginal gains on better cutting, better spacing, and moving the ball. On the defensive side, all being tied together, playing aggressively [and] being able to not give up to the easy shots,” Donahue said.

The Red and Blue will face Brown in Providence on Friday Feb. 2. They stand at a record of 9-10 overall with a 1-3 conference record. If this young team has a run in them, now is the time to start with several conference games still for the taking. Senior Guard Clark Slajchert’s return in the future will also provide an extra boost, giving an inkling of hope for a turnaround.