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 layup against Yale on Feb. 16.

Credit: Sonali Chandy

In its first game back at the Palestra in 27 days, Penn men’s basketball faced defeat yet again, pushing its losing streak to seven games and all but ending their hopes for a spot in Ivy Madness. 

Friday night’s game was essentially a must-win for the Quakers (9-14, 1-7 Ivy) against a Yale team (17-6, 8-0) that has been nothing but dominant all season long. Penn has struggled immensely since defeating Dartmouth in their first Ancient Eight matchup on Jan. 6, and the dynamic offense of the Bulldogs proved to be simply too much for the undersized Red and Blue. 

“We just didn’t have the poise and confidence to play through the clock that you have to [have] against a team like [Yale],” coach Steve Donahue said. 

Penn got off to a strong start early on, converting on offensive opportunities and playing intense defense to keep Yale at bay. A hook-shot and-one from junior forward/center Nick Spinoso had the crowd hyped, and two free throws from freshman guard Tyler Perkins off of a beautiful full-court pass from Spinoso that resulted in a foul brought the Quakers' lead to six in the early going. 

From then on, it was back and forth until Yale decided to stop playing with its food. The Bulldogs reeled off a 20-2 run towards the end of the first half, erasing an eight-point Quaker lead and ultimately swinging the game in the complete opposite direction. Yale headed to the locker room up 45-30. 

That 15 point deficit at the half proved to be too much to overcome, and while the Quakers did not go down without a fight, Yale never looked as though they were in danger of letting the game slip away. The Bulldogs pushed the lead to 21 with 12:44 to play — their largest lead of the night — and inconsistent shooting from Penn prevented them from truly bridging the gap. 

“I just thought we settled for shots, and some of that has to do with our inexperience at times,” Donahue said. “We’re built on execution, making sure that we get a good one, and I thought they did a great job of making us settle with 10 to 12 [seconds left] on the clock.”

Yale was led by junior guards John Poulakidas and Bez Mbeng who combined for 33 points, along with Mbeng’s 6 assists and 5 rebounds to make for a complete night. For the Quakers, freshman guards Tyler Perkins and Sam Brown tallied 11 points each, a strong showing for an inexperienced duo. 

“I thought the young guys did well. I thought [Perkins] had a really good first half and competed. … Sam Brown I thought was probably rushed a little bit, but he competed well, and we didn’t turn [the ball] over,” Donahue said. 

In his second game back since injuring his ankle against Houston on Dec. 30, senior guard Clark Slajchert struggled to put up the offensive numbers that the Red and Blue have come to expect from their 16.9-points-per-game scorer prior to injury. While he was a steadying presence on the court as usual and led the Quakers in scoring with 12 points, Slajchert and his team simply lacked the firepower necessary to conquer the best team in the Ivy League's top team. 

Tough losses have been the story of Penn’s season, and tonight was no exception. However, the Quakers have a chance to get a much-needed win in a quick-turnaround game against a similarly struggling Brown team Saturday night at the Palestra.