Penn didn’t pull off the historic upset, but it turned in a memorable performance nevertheless.
No. 16 Penn led big in the first half and stayed within striking distance of No. 1 Kansas for around 34 minutes, but the Jayhawks pulled away late to score a 76-60 victory over Penn at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita.
Penn got good looks inside and out early while Kansas struggled with poor shot selection, resulting in a 21-11 Quakers edge with just over seven minutes to play in the first half. But Big 12 Player of the Year Devonte’ Graham responded at that point with nine points in the next four and a half minutes, not including a three-pointer and three free throws on a questionable in-the-act-of-shooting foul call in the final minute, giving Kansas a 33-26 halftime lead and cushioning Graham’s own 29-point, six-assist, six-rebound performance.
Penn made 10 of its first 21 three-pointers but couldn’t overcome an abysmal 5-for-14 (35.7 percent) free-throw shooting clip, especially weighed against the Jayhawks’ 15-for-17 (88.2 percent) shooting output.
The only team in Division I with eight players who scored 20 or more points in a game this season, Penn continued its ensemble effort in the NCAA Tournament, with four Quakers scoring in double figures Thursday: AJ Brodeur (14 points on 6-for-16 field-goal shooting), Caleb Wood (14 points on 4-for-12 shooting), Antonio Woods (10 points on 4-for-6 shooting) and Darnell Foreman (10 points on 4-for-9 shooting). Foreman, Brodeur and Max Rothschild all posted three assists as well, as Penn notched 16 helpers on 22 field goals.
The game marked Penn’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2007, following Penn’s Ivy League Tournament title.
Brodeur put the game and Penn’s season in perspective after the game, per the Daily Pennsylvanian:
AJ Brodeur gives some in-depth analysis and describes his mixed emotions: pic.twitter.com/Ppo2h8Cbv6
— Daily Penn Sports (@DailyPennSports) March 15, 2018