PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/16/2019 – For the University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball time is getting critical. The Quakers came into this game at the Palestra in fifth place sitting just one game behind the fourth spot, needed to get to the Ivy League Tournament. One of the teams they trailed is the Harvard Crimson.
It was a game both teams desperately wanted and needed, and the Crimson took home a 75 – 68 decision in overtime at the Palestra.
“It was a hard fought game on back to back nights,” said Penn Coach Steve Donahue. “Both teams played on a high level. I thought we played well, but sometimes it’s a make or miss game. We missed chances to extend leads. It’s such a fine line. At one end an offensive rebound, they kick it to their best shooter and he steps up and makes it. They were terrific in overtime.”
It took an extra five minutes to decide it. Harvard tied it when they outscored Penn 6 – 0 over the last 55 seconds of regulation getting the equalizer on a three-pointer by guard Bryce Aiken with 5.6 seconds on the clock. Aiken also hit the proximity three. The Quakers had a shot by a floater by guard Devon Goodman was off the mark.
In overtime the visitors took a 71 – 63 lead with just over a minute and a half to play giving up only a goal-tended basket to the Red and Blue. In the extra period the home team went 3 for 10 while the visitors made 4 of 6.
Penn trailed by 28 – 26 at halftime. The Red and Blue stormed out to a lead behind the scoring of AJ Brodeur who had 14 second half points. Goodman also had 14 in the second half to give the Quakers as many as a 7-point lead with just over 6 minutes remaining.
As it was all game long, no lead was safe. The Crimson chipped away and got to within 61 – 58 on an Aiken three-pointer with a minute to go, then off two offensive rebounds Aiken drilled home the tying basket.
“It was another Saturday night in the Ivy League and we were fortunate to come out on top,” said Harvard Coach Tommy Amaker. “I proud of the effort our team had to display. We kept plugging away. Things can happen and change in your favor. We did as best we could to give ourselves a chance.”
Aiken scored a game-high 25 points making 5 of 9 from distance. Forward Justin Bassey added 19 points, he hit a dagger three-point bank shot in overtime with the shot clock winding down at the 1:46 mark. The 71 – 63 margin was the largest of the game. Bassey pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.
Brodeur led Penn with 23 points and Goodman added 22. Guard Antonio Wood took down a team-high 8 rebounds.
Harvard improves to 6 – 2 in the Ivy League, and helped to solidify a playoff spot. Penn drops to 3 – 5 in the Ancient Eight and is tied for fifth place with Brown in the standings, 2 games in back of the four spot held by Princeton and Cornell. It is not an impossible for Penn to get to the post-season, but the road is getting difficult. There is too much that can happen to make any definitive statements as of now.
“In this league, one through eight, there is such a fine line,” said Donahue. “Who comes out, makes plays down the stretch is going to win it. Every team is older, tougher and smarter. A bounce here or a bounce there, we would have won the game.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian