The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

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


Freshman guard Tyler Perkins attempts a three point shot against Dartmouth on Feb. 23.

Credit: Nathaniel Sirlin

HANOVER, N.H. — Who will end their losing streak first? 

That was the seminal question as Penn men’s basketball traveled to New Hampshire for a late-season matchup with Dartmouth — a matchup between two teams tied for last in the Ivy League. The host, Dartmouth, found itself in a five-game rut, while the Red and Blue were in the midst of their own eight-game slide. And in the end, it was Penn who snapped their skid, downing the Big Green 82-69 for a much-needed win.

"It feels unbelievable,” coach Steve Donahue said of the Quakers finally returning to the win column. “There’s a collective pain that we’ve all had over this last stretch, and [the team] has never not come to work. And to get a win, it’s unbelievable.”

Credit: Nathaniel Sirlin

Junior forward Nick Spinoso dunks against Dartmouth on Feb. 23.

The Quakers (10-15, 2-8 Ivy) came into Friday’s matchup off of a crushing seven-point loss to Brown, a game in which senior guard Clark Slajchert’s 32-point performance was not enough to carry the team to a victory. Up north, the Big Green (5-18, 1-9) faced a similar outcome, losing by nine in a tough matchup with Ivy-leading Cornell. 

Throughout the first half, the Quakers were able to bury Dartmouth in a hole deep enough that the Big Green could ultimately not dig out. Penn’s scoring was nearly all Slajchert in the early going, with two contested floaters and a deep three giving him seven of Penn’s first 11 points. Slajchert also generated opportunities for his teammates, finding junior forward/center Nick Spinoso for a slick pick and roll layup.

For both teams however, the story from behind the arc defined the entirety of the half. The Quakers missed their first eight three-pointer attempts, and it was a similar story for Dartmouth, which shot just 13.3% from three in the first half.

Credit: Nathaniel Sirlin

Penn men's basketball celebrates after a three pointer against Dartmouth on Feb. 23.

But, thankfully for Penn, freshman guard Sam Brown decided tonight was the night to light up the arc. Brown ended the half with his own personal scoring run, shooting 4-for-4 from three and 6-for-10 from the field overall. Brown ended the first half with an impactful 16 points to fuel Penn’s 17-point halftime lead, putting the game safely within Penn’s grasp.

“A lot if it is just my guys finding me,” Brown said of his shooting success. “Nick [Spinoso] is one of the best passing bigs I’ve ever seen in my life. And when somebody on our team is hot, we find each other.”

In the second half, the Big Green, led by forward Dusan Neskovic, tried valiantly to level the double-digit hole, including three quick threes to begin the half. But the Quakers' offense did not slow down. 

Ultimately, the Quakers' efficient playmaking and sustained team ball play led to four players in double digits, with an especially important performance from sophomore guard Cam Thrower, who poured in 16 points and four three-pointers. The “simple and efficient” playstyle, as Donahue called it, led to a win fueled by the fundamentals, and more importantly, one that ended a lengthy losing streak.

Credit: Nathaniel Sirlin

The Penn men's basketball team smiles on the bench during a game against Dartmouth on Feb. 23.

“The key is having a short-term memory,” Brown said. Despite his 26-point performance, Brown was much happier with a long-awaited Penn win than with any individual accolade. “I’d much rather have zero points and for us to get a win, than have thirty points and the loss.”

Brown hopes the Quakers can “sustain the energy” as they travel 90 minutes south to face off with Harvard on Saturday at 7 p.m. And while his “short-term memory” was key to getting this win, perhaps the Quakers can take a moment to relish this win for a little longer.