Three Quakeaways from Penn men’s critical 83-68 win over Harvard

Junior guard Jordan Dingle notched his third straight KenPom Game MVP award with a 27-point performance that included a 4-for-8 showing from three-point range in Penn’s win over Harvard at the Palestra Saturday. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

PHILADELPHIA — Penn men’s basketball picked up a potentially season-saving win in style on Saturday at the Palestra, dominating Harvard, 83-68.

The Quakers (11-11, 3-4 Ivy) never trailed en route to their third straight win over the Crimson (12-9, 3-4). They scored 1.19 points per possession, according to KenPom. That marked Penn’s most efficient offensive performance so far in Ivy play.

Junior Jordan Dingle once again dominated Harvard. With Crimson star Noah Kirkwood no longer around to defend Dingle, the guard established his shot early on with a quick eight points in the game’s first five minutes. Dingle finished with 27 points on the afternoon on 18 shots and earned his third straight ‘game MVP’ designation from KenPom.

Dingle’s excellence set the Quakers up to run perhaps their most aesthetically pleasing offensive game plan of the season, one of many happy Quakeaways on the day.

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Three Quakeaways from Penn men’s romp over Hartford

Jordan Dingle’s shooting was efficient inside and out in a win over Hartford Monday. The junior guard went 4-for-8 from three-point range and 9-for-13 from the field overall. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Penn’s Monday night matchup against Hartford was a lopsided risk-reward proposition.

A win would mean nothing to the Quakers’ postseason ambitions, while a road loss to the second-worst team in Division I (Hartford entered the game 362nd out of 363 teams in KenPom) would have been one of the worst defeats in program history.

After a bit of a dicey start, Penn turned on the jets and left the Hawks behind, 76-52. The nonconference win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Quakers (10-11).

Penn fell behind early, 19-11, and allowed Hartford (4-17) to start out shooting 8-for-10 from the field. But after coach Steve Donahue made a hockey-style line change, the Quakers’ reserves sparked a 26-9 run over the rest of the first half.

Junior guard Jordan Dingle got a lot more action in this matchup against Hartford than he did in the Quakers’ 75-55 win over the Hawks at the Palestra back in November, in which he played just 18 minutes. Dingle poured in 23 points in 28 minutes on Monday, right in line with his season average.

His performance was one of many happy Quakeaways from the victory.

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Yale men boosted by stellar on-ball defense from Mbeng

Yale coach James Jones called sophomore guard Bez Mbeng the best on-ball defender he’s ever coached. Mbeng played a critical role in Yale’s 70-63 win over Penn Saturday. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

A few things had to go well for Yale to beat Penn last night at John J. Lee Amphitheater and keep its Ivy League title hopes alive.

They did.

Sophomore guard Bez Mbeng played lockdown defense on Penn’s dynamic Jordan Dingle in the second half, holding him to nine points after intermission en route to Yale’s 70-63 win over Penn.

”I love guarding the best player on the other team,” Mbeng said.

”Bez is the best on-ball defender I’ve ever coached,” Yale coach James Jones said, offering high praise in his 24th year at the Bulldogs’ helm after coaching other standout defenders like Trey Phills and Jalen Gabbidon. “He did a fantastic job in the second half on the league’s best offensive player and one of the best in the nation.”

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Three Quakeaways from Penn men’s loss at Yale

Junior guard Jordan Dingle’s 27 points, largely consisting of six three-pointers made on 11 attempts, weren’t enough to avoid a 70-63 defeat at Yale Saturday. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Penn squandered a golden opportunity to gain position in the race for Ivy Madness on Saturday after another brutal second-half offensive performance led to a 70-63 loss at Yale.

The Quakers (9-11, 2-4 Ivy) lost despite a 27-point performance from superstar Jordan Dingle in which the guard hit six three-pointers. After a nice hook shot from Penn sophomore forward Nick Spinoso tied the game at 49 coming out of the under-12 media timeout in the second half, the Red and Blue promptly committed turnovers on their next seven offensive possessions over nearly four minutes of game time.

Dingle, as great as he was on Saturday, committed turnovers on three of those trips, including an offensive foul.

Despite that brutal stretch, Penn still nabbed a 54-53 lead with roughly 5:50 remaining after guard George Smith hit an open three-pointer off an inside-out feed from center Max Lorca-Lloyd. But Yale (13-6, 3-3) immediately responded with a go-ahead jumper from junior guard August Mahoney.

Mahoney would later stick the dagger in the Red and Blue with roughly 90 seconds left. After Dingle hit a tough three to draw Penn within 62-60, Mahoney responded out of a Bulldogs timeout with an and-one finish over Spinoso which extended the Yale lead to five and effectively ended the game.

The Quakers lost a game which KenPom and Vegas expected them to lose. But the way they got there should leave fans with reason for both consternation and hope.

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Three Quakeaways from Penn men’s fast fade-out in loss to Princeton

Penn men’s basketball coach Steve Donahue has work to do to help turn around a season starting to head south after a third loss in four games and seventh straight loss to Princeton Monday. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

PHILADELPHIA — Penn’s season looks like it’s on the verge of spinning out of control after the Quakers delivered a dispiriting offensive performance en route to a 72-60 home defeat against archrival Princeton.

If you had told the average Quakers fan prior to the game that Penn (9-10, 2-3 Ivy) would hold Princeton (13-5, 4-1) to 40.4% shooting from the field, four made three-pointers on 25 attempts and just six assists on 23 made baskets, they would have told you that the Red and Blue would likely win by double digits.

Instead, the Quakers one-upped the Tigers’ offensive futility. Penn failed to make a single three-pointer on Monday, and, in fact, has not hit a single shot from long distance since Jordan Dingle’s four-point play opportunity with 3:29 to go in the first half of Penn’s Saturday loss to Dartmouth.

The backbreaking sequence for the Quakers came with roughly 10:38 to go in the second half and Princeton up two, 40-38. The Tigers’ Ryan Langborg freed himself from Penn’s Andrew Laczkowski for a decent look at a three and drained the shot. Penn forward Nick Spinoso was simultaneously called for a foul away from the ball.

Princeton was in the bonus, so standout freshman Caden Pierce calmly drained both ends of a one-and-one to complete the five-point possession. The Tigers’ lead was just seven points, 45-38, but it may as well have been 20, given Penn’s offensive struggles.

Most of the Quakeaways from Monday are ugly, so look away if you must:

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Princeton men pull away at Palestra to beat Penn for seventh straight time, 72-60

Defending Ivy Player of the Year Tosan Evbuomwan turned in a typically robust stat line in Princeton’s win at Penn Monday: 26 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Our George “Toothless Tiger” Clark reports on how the Princeton men pulled away at the Palestra to defeat Penn, 72-60, for a seventh consecutive time:

Three Quakeaways from Penn men’s defeat at Dartmouth

Steve Donahue’s Penn men’s squad couldn’t protect a four-point lead in the final four and a half minutes at Dartmouth, getting outscored 14-6 in that span to drop to 2-2 in Ivy play. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Penn men’s basketball is going to have a long, long bus ride home from Hanover, N.H.

The Quakers threw away a 13-point second half lead and made a series of critical errors in crunch time en route to a 75-71 loss to Dartmouth at Leede Arena.

The defeat at Dartmouth (6-12, 2-2 Ivy) was painfully reminiscent of Penn’s collapses against Saint Joseph’s and La Salle in Big 5 play. In all three contests, Penn (9-9, 2-2) threw away games against inferior opponents it should have easily defeated.

Saturday’s turning point came with about 99 seconds remaining and Penn holding the ball up one, 71-70. Steve Donahue had called timeout to get junior guard Clark Slajchert back in the game for an offense-defense substitution.

Almost immediately after the ball was inbounded, Slajchert used his shoulder to create a little separation from Dartmouth sophomore guard Ryan Cornish, then hoisted a contested three-pointer after just five seconds had come off the shot clock. The ball caught front iron with no Quakers having a prayer at corralling an offensive rebound.

The shot was one Slajchert could hit, but it was far from the best look Penn could have gotten on that possession given the time and score. The Quakers surrendered a game-winning floater from Big Green junior forward Dusan Neskovic 20 seconds after the miss.

But Slajchert wasn’t alone in suboptimal decision-making among the Red and Blue Saturday afternoon:

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Three Quakeaways from Penn men’s 88-69 loss at Cornell

Penn men’s coach Steve Donahue couldn’t find a lineup that worked as Cornell pulled away with authority in the final 10 minutes of his team’s loss at Newman Arena Friday night. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Penn learned the hard way just how far Cornell and coach Brian Earl have come on Friday night, dropping an 88-69 decision to the Big Red in Ithaca, N.Y.

The Quakers were disrupted by Cornell’s uptempo offense and ultra-aggressive defense from the opening tip, even though they matched the Big Red for roughly 30 minutes.

The game flipped when Cornell delivered an emphatic counterpunch to a shot which Penn fans likely thought could have carried the team to victory. Junior guard Clark Slajchert hit a tough three from the left wing through contact to give the Quakers a 56-55 lead with 11:51 to play — and arguably should have had an opportunity for a four-point play.

No matter. On the very next possession, the Big Red’s Greg Dolan drove through the lane, hit a layup and drew a foul on Penn forward Max Martz in the process. The foul, Martz’s fourth, forced Penn coach Steve Donahue to pull the man who had been his most efficient player thus far from the game.

By the time Martz returned to the floor, it was too late. Cornell used the and-one to ignite a game-deciding 17-4 run.

As Quakers fans reflect on Friday’s contest, they’ll find themselves haunted by some ghosts from the team’s past, which are detailed below:

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Three Quakeaways from Penn men’s 76-68 win at Brown

Junior guard Clark Slajchert exploded for 31 points on 11-for-18 shooting in Penn’s 76-68 win at Brown Monday evening. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Penn started off Ivy League play on the right foot Monday, gritting out a 76-68 road win over Brown in Providence.

After a sluggish offensive start, the Quakers (8-7, 1-0 Ivy) leaned on their elite backcourt duo of juniors Clark Slajchert and Jordan Dingle, who combined to score 51 points.

Dingle put the Bears (7-7, 0-1) to bed with about 80 seconds left after he collected a lob pass from forward Nick Spinoso through a triple team and finished through contact at the rim to push Penn’s lead to 70-63. Though Dingle didn’t convert his and-one free throw opportunity, the damage had been done.

Here are the biggest Quakeaways from Penn’s fourth consecutive victory over Brown:

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