PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/12/2018 – The University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team won their second Ivy League game of the season defeating the Big Red of Cornell 69 – 61 at the Palestra. It was the second game of a double-header as earlier in the evening the Penn’s women’s basketball team scored a victory over Cornell. In the men’s game the Red and Blue were led by forward AJ Brodeur who scored 18 points and had 9 rebounds, one board shy of a double-double. He also handed out a game-high 6 assists and had 2 steals.
Credit this one to the defense twice holding Cornell off the scoreboard for a lengthy period of time. Penn felt it and capitalized.
“Those defensive runs ends up deciding who wins most games.” said Brodeur. “We can capitalize off the other team’s mistakes. Down the stretch we did a good job of holding them to a limited number of points.”
The Quakers got early separation holding the Big Red without a field goal for nearly eight minutes en route to a 34 – 24 halftime lead. Cornell would battle back in the second half cutting the deficit to 4 points three times.
The key sequence came when holding a 50 – 46 lead Penn went on an 8 – 2 run. During that span Cornell turned the ball over 4 times. With 3:53 to play the Quakers had the ball and got three offensive rebounds in that possession to get the clock down to 2:46 left to play.
“We found a way to slow them down, and we got some turnovers,” Penn Coach Steve Donahue said about closing the game out. “That was a key part of our game. There is a chance of so much more growth on the offensive end.”
The Big Red still played tough to the end. The Red and Blue could have put more space between them, but made only 6 of 12 at the charity stripe at the end.
“They missed a bunch of foul shots,” Cornell Coach Brian Earl said about staying in contention. “We kept fighting an got to the rim a little bit. Sometimes games come down that way. We pushed the pace a little bit. We kept at it.”
In addition to Brodeur Penn got 13 points from Ryan Betley, who had 4 steals, and 12 from Darnell Foreman. Although the Quakers were outrebounded 41- 35, and 8 to 5 on the offensive end, they allowed only one offensive rebound for the visitors in the second half. Brodeur and fellow forward Max Rothschild combined for 11 assists in the game along with 11 rebounds.
“A lot of assists go big to big because teams will have to double-down on offense and that leads to a chain reaction of other players coming down which leaves our shooters wide open,” Brodeur said about the offensive contributions of the front line.
Cornell forward Matt Morgan, who came into the game as the one of the leading three-point shooters in the nation, was held to 13 points. He made 1 of 6 from beyond the arc in the lowest point producing game of the season for him. Stone Gettings was the rock for the Big Red scoring a game-high 20 points. He also set a career-mark pulling down 17 rebounds.
Penn returns to action on Saturday against Columbia. Still early, but for now they sit atop of the Ivy League standings.
“We can hang our hats on defense and continue to grow on offense, that bodes well for us,” Donahue said.
Written By: Glenn Papazian