Quakeaways from Penn men’s basketball’s 82-69 win at Dartmouth

Penn’s long nightmare is finally over.

The Quakers snapped their eight-game losing streak in style on Friday with an easy win over Dartmouth, 82-69.

Penn (10-15, 2-8 Ivy) led by as many as 24 points in the second half and never trailed after the 12:20 mark in the first half.

The Quakers won on the road for just the second time all season and picked up their first win on the road against the Big Green (5-18, 1-9) in five years.

Penn’s postseason chances may be exceedingly slim — more on that later — but there were plenty of positive signs for the future and a bevy of happy Quakeaways for the first time in nearly two months:

Sam Brown had a career night.

It was a mild surprise when Brown and fellow freshman Tyler Perkins were removed from the starting lineup on Friday. The two have been stalwarts all season long but may have been pressing a bit during Penn’s long losing skid.

Asked to come off the bench, Brown responded by pouring in a career-high 26 points in 26 minutes. He hit six three-pointers on seven attempts, regularly draining in triples from NBA range.

What was most exciting to see from Brown on Friday night was his ability to generate easy finishes at the rim by slashing through the lane. If Brown can develop into a three-level scoring threat, he will be an All-Ivy caliber type of player.

Brown and Perkins — who finished with 10 points thanks to a late burst in the second half — should be Penn’s cornerstones for the next three seasons. A strong close to the season could set them up for excellent summers.

Cam Thrower took advantage of his opportunity.

Thrower was a surprise insertion into the starting lineup on Friday night. The sophomore has yo-yoed throughout the rotation all season. He’s started, come off the bench, and even sat out entirely.

It’s a testament to Penn’s team culture that Thrower was able to immediately perform after his call-up. Thrower finished with a career-high 16 points on 11 shots, good for a KenPom offensive rating of 150 points per 100 possessions while on the floor.

Thrower hit four threes, which was nice to see, but he also made a few smart cuts through the lane.

It’s tough to figure out what Penn has in Thrower, but nights like Friday give him a case for a rotational role next season.

So you’re telling me there’s a chance?

Despite Penn’s disastrous skid, the Quakers are somehow just two games back of the final Ivy Madness spot with four games to play. Harvard, Brown and Columbia are all tied for fourth with a 4-6 record.

The schedule for Saturday — at first glance — seems somewhat favorable. Penn has a chance to pick up a game on Harvard through its head-to-head matchup, while Brown and Columbia will be underdogs against Cornell and Yale, respectively.

Any path to the playoff would require Penn managing to win out at home, which is way easier said than done. The Quakers would need to get through Cornell and Princeton. Beating the latter has been a Sisyphean task for this program.

But a win tomorrow and a little help would at least give the Quakers a pulse heading into the final two weeks of the season.