Three Quakeaways from Penn men pushing past Columbia

In addition to grabbing seven rebounds in just 20 minutes, senior guard Lucas Monroe made key plays the box score of Penn’s win over Columbia Friday at the Palestra doesn’t do justice. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Penn’s Friday night contest against Columbia at the Palestra likely won’t be featured much in the team’s end-of-season highlight reel, but the Quakers got the job done with a 74-65 win that was a bit closer than the final score indicated.

Though the Lions (6-17, 1-7 Ivy) never led past the 17:43 mark of the first half, they managed to close a deficit that swelled to as much as 18 points to five at multiple instances late in the second half.

But Columbia could get no farther. Junior guard Jordan Dingle twice quelled Lions rallies, once through an and-one to push Penn’s lead from 60-54 to 63-54 with 3:41 to play, and a second time through a three-pointer from the left wing to turn a 65-60 advantage into 68-60 with 2:20 to play.

With six games left to play in the Ivy season, Penn (12-11, 4-4) has a clear — though far from automatic — path to Ivy Madness, one of a small handful of Quakeaways from the Red and Blue’s third consecutive win.

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Ivy men’s week five roundup: Ancient Eight’s Top 10

After another exciting weekend of Ivy hoops that saw all the home teams holding serve, the league standings have a tie at the top, and seven teams are separated by only two games. 

Yale continued its dominance of Princeton, winning for the eighth time in their last nine matchups.  Meanwhile, Penn, losers of three straight league contests, won its third straight over Harvard in a must-win game at the Palestra. 

Cornell, missing Nazir Williams, took care of Brown, which was without Kalu Anya, Dan Friday and Malachi Ndur.  Dartmouth continued its strong league play with a victory over Columbia, its third league win it its last four contests and finds itself over .500 at the halfway point for the first time since 2009.

Saturday results
Yale over Princeton, 87-65
Penn over Harvard, 83-68
Cornell over Brown, 80-73
Dartmouth over Columbia, 83-73

Cornell 5-2 (15-5, overall)
Princeton 5-2 (14-6)
Yale 4-3 (14-6)
Dartmouth 4-3 (8-13)
Harvard 3-4 (12-9)
Brown 3-4 (10-10)
Penn 3-4 (11-11)
Columbia 1-6 (6-16)

The second half of the schedule starts with a big back-to-back weekend, highlighted by a matchup between the league leaders at Jadwin Gymnasium and Yale looking for revenge against Dartmouth at Leede Arena.

Fri., Feb. 3
Yale at Harvard, 5:00 p.m.
Brown at Dartmouth, 6:00 p.m.
Columbia at Penn, 7:00 p.m.
Cornell at Princeton, 7:00 p.m.

Sat., Feb. 4
Yale at Dartmouth, 6:00 p.m.
Brown at Harvard, 6:00 p.m.
Columbia at Princeton, 6:00 p.m.
Cornell at Penn, 6:00 p.m.

Below are 10 of the top performances from the weekend: – 

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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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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 84-55 blowout win at Columbia

Junior guard Jordan Dingle poured 33 points on 11-for-17 shooting in Penn’s road rout of Columbia Saturday night. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

NEW YORK — Penn bounced back from its loss to Cornell in pretty much the best way possible: by delivering an absolute beatdown of an overmatched opponent. The Quakers hammered Columbia, 84-55, on the back of a 65.2% shooting night from three-point range.

The bulk of that outside shooting came from junior guard Jordan Dingle. The overwhelming favorite for Ivy Player of the Year hit seven of his nine attempts from distance, raising his season three-point shooting percentage from 32% to 35.8% in the process.

Despite committing 17 turnovers, Penn’s offense was able to bury the Lions thanks to a series of opportunistic offensive outbursts. The Quakers generated runs of 15-0, 16-2 and 14-2 over the course of the evening.

Penn also delivered a season-best performance on the defensive end, holding Columbia to just .77 points per possession, according to KenPom.

It all added up to an easy, relatively stress-free win — and plenty of happy Quakeaways, to boot:

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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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