Would the last one out please turn off the lights?
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- As those of you in Philadelphia know full well, the Northeast corridor is getting whacked by a big snowstorm this evening. While it hasn't hit Massachusetts yet, by tomorrow morning it'll be a different story. The forecast is for a foot or so of snow, which is why the Penn men's basketball team is already on its way back south.
So as the blizzard comes nearer, here are a few notes from this evening's 81-68 Quakers victory over Harvard:
Unlike last Saturday's game against Yale, the start of tonight's game was about as good as possible for Penn. The Quakers jumped to an 11-0 lead and kept Harvard off the scoreboard until a layup by freshman point guard Drew Housman at the 13:28 mark. Housman has a lot of potential and is probably the best rookie in the Ivy League this season, but he had to guard Ibrahim Jaaber tonight and it was no contest. The Penn junior guard lit up Housman and the box score for 23 points, three assists and six steals. Housman scored a respectable ten points, of which five came from the free throw line, but committed nine turnovers.
Penn's leading scorer was junior forward Mark Zoller, who finished with 26 points -- including five three-pointers from seven attempts -- and nine rebounds. Zoller was left open from the top of the arc time and again by Harvard coach Frank Sullivan's defense, and made the Crimson pay for it in a big way. Some day, an opposing coach will figure out that he shouldn't be left open, but I'm sure Quakers fans hope that day doesn't come until April of next year.
The game's leading scorer, though, was Harvard forward Matt Stehle. His career high 28 points, of which 22 came in the second half, and the 15 rebounds he pulled down were just enough to make the score respectable and keep Penn coach Fran Dunphy from emptying the bench.
There were two other things worth noting from tonight. First, both teams' coaches wore sneakers in honor of the annual Coaches vs. Cancer Awareness Day. Dunphy is among the most involved people in the country in Coaches vs. Cancer, and the cause always deserves praise.
Second, Harvard's band didn't show up to the game. Penn's was there, but didn't get to play all that much, which meant there was far more canned music than there ought to be at a college basketball game.
Granted, the Harvard band was at the Beanpot ice hockey tournament at the TD Banknorth Garden (known to the rest of us as the Fleet Center, where Penn played Oklahoma State in the 2003 NCAA Tournament), which is pretty much the biggest collegiate winter sports event in Boston. But between that and the fact that the crowd of 2,030 at Lavietes Pavillion was dominated by Penn fans, about the only way you could tell it was a Harvard home game was by the paint on the court.
Some day, the Crimson will win its first Ivy League title in men's basketball. On this night, though, Harvard was once again given a lesson by the Ancient Eight's standard bearer. Enjoy the snow, and the countdown to Tuesday night's showdown with Princeton.