Quakeaways from Penn men’s basketball’s 84-72 win over Columbia

There haven’t been too many happy moments for Penn men’s basketball over the course of the last two-plus months. But the Quakers got one on Saturday night.

Penn cruised to a fairly stress-free win over Columbia at the Palestra, 84-72. The Quakers (11-17, 3-10 Ivy) roared past the Lions (13-13, 4-9) on the back of standout performances from the two players they expected were going to carry the team on opening night: senior guard Clark Slajchert and junior forward Nick Spinoso.

Spinoso scored a career-high 23 points on 11-for-18 shooting from the field, while Slajchert added 22 and finished with an eye-popping KenPom offensive rating of 163 points per 100 possessions while on the floor. He crossed the 1,000 points scored barrier late in the first half.

For once, it’s all happy Quakeaways.

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Quakeaways from Penn men’s basketball’s 87-81 loss to Cornell

Penn did just about everything right against Cornell on Friday night at the Palestra.

The Quakers came out with more energy despite having no postseason hopes, forcing eight turnovers in the game’s first eight minutes. They hit 15 three-pointers on 33 attempts.  They built a 14-point lead in the second half.

It still wasn’t enough.

The Big Red staved off a Quakers upset bid thanks to the efforts of AK Okereke, who backed up into an uncontested go-ahead three-point jumper with 2:12 to go that put Cornell up for good in an 87-81 win. Okereke finished with a team-high 18 points for Cornell (21-5, 10-2 Ivy).

Penn (10-17, 2-10) got two clean three-point looks to tie from star freshmen Sam Brown and Tyler Perkins in the final two minutes, but neither went down. It’s been that kind of season for the Red and Blue.

What did Penn fans learn from a game effort against one of the best teams in the Ivy League?

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Quakeaways from Penn men’s basketball’s 74-70 loss to Harvard

The dagger is officially in Penn’s season after the Quakers took a difficult-to-swallow road defeat at Harvard, 74-70.

Penn (10-16, 2-9 Ivy) completed a comeback from 17 points down in the second half after Clark Slajchert drained an open three from the right wing off an offensive rebound to tie the game at 62 with 5:45 to play.

But the Quakers were ultimately undone by a terrible break on a 50/50 ball when it mattered most.

With Penn down two points and the clock ticking below 3:45 to play, junior Nick Spinoso poked the ball free from Harvard’s Louis Lesmond in the post. Freshman Sam Brown dove but couldn’t come up with the loose ball. Instead, Harvard’s Malik Mack was able to recover it and swing the ball to Lesmond for an open corner three out of the scramble. Lesmond drained the shot to put the Crimson (14-10, 5-6) up two possessions.

Truth be told, Penn’s season effectively ended well before Saturday. That’s what happens when you lose eight games in a row during a 14-game conference season.

All that’s left to play for now is pride and future development. There’s plenty to rue about Saturday, starting with how …

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Quakeaways from Penn men’s basketball’s 71-64 loss to Brown

PHILADELPHIA — Brown struck the coup de grace on any realistic hopes Penn had of a miracle run to Ivy Madness on Saturday night.

The death blow at the Palestra came in the form of a killer 13-2 run after the Quakers had tied the game at 47 with about eight minutes to go in the game. The Bears’ Kino Lilly Jr. capped it off with a dagger three-pointer to make it 60-49 with 3:14 to play. Penn showed a bit of late life, but it wasn’t enough in what wound up being a 71-64 loss to Brown (7-17, 3-6 Ivy).

It is hard to believe that Penn (9-15, 1-8) has collapsed like this after a nonconference campaign that included a signature win over Villanova and plenty of indicators that the team was heading in the right direction.

But this is the bed the Quakers have made for themselves.

What could Penn fans take away from a miserable evening?

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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 …

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LISTEN: Tiger Takeaways on Princeton men’s basketball’s 77-70 win over Penn

Ivy Hoops Online contributor George “Toothless Tiger” Clark shares his takeaways from Saturday’s 77-70 win for Princeton men’s basketball (17-3, 5-2 Ivy) over Penn (9-3, 1-6), including why the Tigers are sophomore guard Xaivian Lee’s team now:

Quakeaways from Penn men’s basketball’s 77-70 loss at Princeton

Penn men’s basketball put up its best offensive effort in more than a month on Saturday against hated Princeton. It got its best player, senior guard Clark Slajchert, back from injury. It got a dominant performance from junior forward Nick Spinoso.

It still wasn’t enough.

Trailing 62-61 with seven minutes to play, the Quakers gave up a 10-0 run to the Tigers, which was capped by an open Blake Peters three-pointer from the left wing as the shot clock expired with 4:15 to play. When the dust settled, Penn saw itself looking up at Princeton, 77-70, the same final score as the Tigers’ Ivy Madness semifinal victory over the Quakers a season ago.

The result thrilled a sellout crowd for Princeton (17-3, 5-2) at Jadwin Gymnasium and was a painful reminder of just how close Penn (9-13, 1-6) came to glory last March and just what this season could have been before Slajchert suffered a high ankle sprain in December.

Read on for the biggest takeaways from a frustrating night:

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Quakeaways from Penn men’s basketball’s 74-58 loss at Yale

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Penn’s losing streak hit five games after one kill shot too many from Yale Saturday night.

The Red and Blue fell, 74-58, after a 10-0 Bulldogs run over 90 seconds at the start of the second half turned a manageable six-point halftime deficit into a 16-point hole. Penn (9-12, 1-5 Ivy) had already fought-back from a 7-0 game-opening Yale (15-6, 6-0) run to take a lead, then promptly surrendered a 10-0 run to flip the scoreboard back in the Bulldogs’ favor.

A rattled-in three from Niklas Polonowski cut the Penn deficit down to nine points with just over eight minutes to play, but Ivy League Player of the Year candidate Danny Wolf responded with a personal 10-0 scoring barrage to put the game on ice.

If you had told the average fan after the Quakers’ stunning upset over Villanova that Penn would be buried in the Ivy standings before the Super Bowl, they would have told you that you were crazy. But that is the sad reality.

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Quakeaways from Penn men’s basketball’s 70-61 loss at Brown

Penn’s season looks all but over after a late offensive outage spelled doom in Providence, R.I.

The Quakers had a chance to draw with one point of Brown with 5:30 to play after junior forward Nick Spinoso hit an and-one layup over the Bears’ Malachi Ndur. Spinoso line-drive bricked the free-throw and the score remained 56-54 in favor of the Bears.

Penn didn’t make another shot from the field until just 45 seconds remained. At that point, the lead for the Bears had swelled to 11 points in what wound up being a 70-61 win for Brown (6-14, 2-3 Ivy).

It’s hard to see the Quakers responding on the second day of a road back-to-back at Yale, the current league co-leader. Penn (9-11, 1-4) may remain mathematically alive to reach Ivy Madness for a few weeks longer, but the hole this team has dug for itself may be too deep to overcome.

There aren’t too many happy Quakeaways for fans to hold onto as they pick through the wreckage of a season that started with such promise.

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Quakeaways from Penn men’s basketball’s 84-81 loss at Columbia

NEW YORK — Penn’s season is on the verge of flatlining after a pitiful defensive performance.

The Quakers squandered a golden chance to gain sole possession of the fourth and final spot in Ivy Madness in a dispiriting 84-81 loss to Columbia.

The coup de grâce came when freshman point guard Sam Brown lost the handle as he sprinted down the floor to try and get a look at a game-tying three before the buzzer sounded. But the Quakers have much more to regret than one possession.

Penn (9-10, 1-3 Ivy) allowed Columbia (10-7, 1-3) to score 1.35 points per possession, according to KenPom, the single-worst showing the Red and Blue have put up on the defensive end against any opponent all season.

The only saving grace is that Dartmouth managed to upset Brown, which creates a five-way logjam for fourth in the Ivy League. But right now, there’s little reason to hope that Penn can emerge out of that pileup. Not after how …

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