PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/31/2015 – The University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team was trying to keep their momentum moving in the positive direction. Penn was on a two-game winning streak beating Saint Joseph’s in a Big Five game followed by an Ivy League win over Dartmouth the night before. However, in the Saturday game of the Ivy weekend they met the Harvard Crimson, the defending league champions who ended the streak beating the Quakers handily, 63 – 38 at the Palestra. Penn coach Jerome Allen said the seasoned Harvard team knew what they had to do. Experience is a great teacher.
“They (Harvard) came out ready to play,” Allen said. “They’ve experienced winning before, they know what it takes to win. They are familiar with the schedule, the back-to-back. We’re still learning how to win. For many of our guys this is their first experience in playing back-to-back games. It is a complete difference in the approach in how they came out tonight.”
Harvard took an early 10 – 2 lead, then put the game away going on a 9 – 2 run over the last four minutes of the first half to take a 36 – 15 lead into the locker room. A 19 – 7 run to open the second half grew the lead to 33 points.
Penn wound up shooting 30.2% (13 of 43 and 4 of 14 from distance) for the game. The Red and Blue turned the ball over 14 times. Harvard made just under half of their 49 field goal attempts.
“I was really pleased with our effort that our kids brought on the defensive end,” said Harvard Coach Tommy Amaker. “Disciplined defense which is what we need to do particularly on the road. I thought our kids were focused and ready. I thought we were efficient on offense.”
Sophomore guard Matt Howard led Penn with 11 points. He was the only Quaker to score in double figures. Siyani Chambers led four Harvard players who scored in double-digits with 14 points. Forward Wesley Chambers added 11 points and handed out 6 assists. Forwards Steve Moundou-Missi and Agunwa Okolie scored 10 points each. Jonah Travis pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds.
Penn falls to 6 – 11 overall and is 1 – 2 in the Ancient Eight. The Red and Blue go on the road next weekend for games at Cornell and Columbia. There is a way to go until the conference title is decided.
“You must come ready to play every night,” Allen said. “The team that sustains their focus on the eighty minute weekend will be the team that comes out on top.”
Harvard bounced back after a defeat at Dartmouth and improves to a 13 – 5 record, 3 – 1 in the Ivy League. The Crimson have won their last 10 league games on the road. They swept the Princeton – Penn road trip for the second time in program history, which is seen as an accomplishment.
“It has been daunting for everyone in this league,” Amaker said about the weekend in and around Philadelphia. “We recognize the amazing tradition of both programs. We have grown, we have become a relevant program in our league and around the country. Places that are tough to play are because the teams have been very good.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian