PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/13/2018 – The University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team won its third Ivy League game in as many tries defeating the Columbia Lions 77 – 71 at the Palestra. Penn’s 6′ 8″ sophomore forward AJ Brodeur set a career record for made three-pointers with 6 scoring 30 points, a season-best. Brodeur also pulled down 8 rebounds.
“I don’t like to think about personal aspects as basketball is a team game,” said Brodeur. “Putting up all these shots in practice, I feel like I am earning the right to shoot these shots and from beyond the arc. When they left me open, I felt like I had to shoot it.”
“If you worked on it, shoot it,” was Penn Coach Steve Donahue’s advice to Brodeur. “That was a big part of the game and it was working.”
Penn would need every one to hold off Columbia who stayed in range, but could not take the lead. Leading by 54 – 50 Penn turned the ball over. As Columbia’s Kyle Castelin went for a layup after a steal, Brodeur got back and blocked his shot with 6:55 to play. That helped Penn extend their lead to 12 at 66 – 54 with under four minutes left.
“That was something I always look for especially in transition,” Brodeur said about the defensive play. “This can change the momentum of the game. If I can bait them into taking a layup because they think I am not going to be there, rising up and blocking the shot is a momentum shift.”
However, Columbia had one more run left in them led by guard Mike Smith who scored 12 of the last 17 points for his team. Smith recorded a team-high 27 points. His layup with 49 seconds to go brought the Lions to within 71 – 69. Much like the Cornell game the night before Penn closed it out with free throws from Max Rothschild and Ryan Betley. The Quakers are growing by these experiences.
“We never had these games,” Donahue said. “Free throw shooting tonight was a key. We are going to be in a position of how to get the ball inbounds, make the right pass. To go to the line and make ten for ten for a team that has not shot well from the free throw line is a good sign.”
Broduer had 22 of his 30 points in the first half. For the game he made 12 of 22 from the floor and 6 of 12 from beyond the arc. Betley contributed a 20-point effort hitting 4 from deep. Caleb Wood grabbed 8 rebounds, a career-best, and Darnell Foreman assisted in 7 baskets which tied his season-high. Penn made 12 of 33 three-pointers.
Quinton Adlesh added 15 points to the Lions total. Lukas Meisner had a game-high 9 rebounds.
The Quakers swept the Ivy Weekend, something they have done four of the last five years. Penn is 3 – 0 in the Ivy League, their best start in the Ancient Eight since 2011-12. The Red and Blue will resume Big Five action next week when they host Temple. How do they approach this?
“We want to play loose and relaxed on every possession, that’s what good teams do,” said Donahue.
Written By: Glenn Papazian