Quakeaways from Penn men’s basketball’s 76-62 loss to Yale

PHILADELPHIA — For about 12 minutes in the first half, it looked like Penn and Yale were gearing up for another classic battle Friday at the Palestra.

Then the Bulldogs flipped the switch. Yale used an extended 25-4 run at the end of the first half to take control of the game and never let the hosts back in it in the second half. Final score: Yale 76, Penn 62.

The catalyst for the decisive run came right at the under-eight media timeout for Yale.

Penn junior Nick Spinoso was called for a foul while trying to defend a transition layup attempt from Ivy Player of the Year candidate Danny Wolf, then got a technical foul for arguing with the referees. Wolf and Yale junior guard John Poulakidas sank four free throws on the other side of the break to give the Bulldogs their first multi-possession lead of the game.

Yale (17-6, 8-0 Ivy) and Penn (9-14, 1-7) are two teams heading in opposite directions. Yale has now won 10 games in a row and looks like a team that is justifying every bit of its lofty preseason expectations. The Red and Blue have now lost seven straight, the worst losing streak of Steve Donahue’s coaching tenure at Penn.

There’s not much to say about another generally miserable affair, other than …

Penn’s freshman backcourt remains a reason to watch.

Both Tyler Perkins and Sam Brown finished with 11 points apiece. 

Though Perkins did not score in the second half, he finished with a KenPom offensive rating of 117 points per 100 possessions while on the floor, making him the only Penn starter to finish with a KenPom offensive rating above the breakeven mark of 100 points per 100 possessions. Perkins had several nice drives to the hoop and positioned himself well for a pair of home-run passes in transition from Spinoso.

Brown hit a pair of threes in the second half and had a bunch of other good looks from deep throughout the game that just rimmed out. He even was asked to guard the 7-foot Wolf at times.

Brown and Perkins were asked to carry Penn’s offensive load during Clark Slajchert’s extended absence with a high ankle sprain. The Quakers can only hope that experience will pay off next season when Slajchert is gone.

The Quakers actually did a decent job guarding Danny Wolf.

Wolf obliterated Penn during the first matchup between Penn and Yale in New Haven, Conn. He finished with a 24-point, 12-rebound double-double and hit four threes.

On Friday, Penn abandoned the idea of having Spinoso guard Wolf one-on-one. Instead, the Quakers tried to defend Wolf on the perimeter primarily with guard George Smith and swingman Eddie Holland in the first half. 

Penn was willing to live with Wolf getting easy looks if he got the ball in good position in the post. For the most part, the strategy worked.

Though his counting stats looked good — 14 points and 10 boards — Wolf finished with a KenPom offensive rating of 94 points per 100 possessions and turned the ball over three times. The inefficient game snapped a streak in which Wolf had garnered KenPom game MVP honors in Yale’s prior three contests.

This team somehow still has a pulse.

The Quakers are five-and-a-half point Vegas favorites tonight against Brown, which is relatively surprising when you see how rough things have been for this team lately.

A loss to Brown closes the book on any chance of Penn pulling off some kind of miracle rally to make Ivy Madness.

But if Penn somehow managed to win, it would at least have a shot at pulling itself back into contention. Three of Penn’s next four games after Saturday are against teams also looking to secure fourth place in the standings.

Sweep those and it becomes at least plausible that the Quakers could reach New York.

1 thought on “Quakeaways from Penn men’s basketball’s 76-62 loss to Yale”

Comments are closed.