PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/15/2020 – The University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team needed a bounce back win after losing to Brown the previous night. It would be a challenge as the Quakers faced the Ivy League leading Yale Bulldogs. It was a tight contest, and the Red and Blue found a way to earn a 69 – 61 win over the Eli at the Palestra to earn a split over the weekend. How important a split?
“Critical,” said Penn Coach Steve Donahue. “We played the best team in the league and that’s a big win. There are a lot of tiebreakers out there, and that’s one. This is the only league that does this, and it is unbelievably exciting because you eliminate four teams at some point over the next six games, and makes every game so critical. No other league has this.”
It was a hotly contested battle. Yale led 29 – 27 at halftime. In the second half the Bulldogs got out to a 58 – 53 lead with 4:48 on the clock. It was their largest of the game on a basket by Paul Atkinson, who had a game-high 20 points. It would be his last bucket of the contest.
From there Penn went on an 11 – 0 run sparked by AJ Brodeur and Eddie Scott who had all of the points in that stretch. The Red and Blue were up 64 – 58 and 2:05 remained.
The defense took over holding Yale scoreless until 35 seconds remained when Jordan Bruner drained a three-pointer cutting the deficit to 64 – 61. The Bulldogs would score no more. The Red and Blue defended and held the Eli scoreless for over four minutes, and closed out the game impressively. Max Martz and Devon Goodman caused turnovers and forced Yale to take difficult shots.
“We’ve been feeling a sense of urgency since we went down 0 and 2 to Princeton,” Brodeur said. “We try to go with that level of desperation we had in the last two minutes of today’s game. If we can get that mentality through our heads for an entire forty minutes of every game we have left, we are going to be a dangerous team.”
Eddie Scott scored a season-high 18 points for Penn making 6 of 7 from the floor and sank both of his three-pointers. Max Martz had 12 and Devon Goodman added 10 points.
Brodeur led the Quakers with 19 points, 5 assists and 8 rebounds. The senior forward had 7 field goals in the game giving him 705 in his career, and set the all-time Penn record for made field goals breaking the record held by Ernie Beck for 57 years. The record basket came with 2:49 remaining. It was a three-pointer that broke a tie at 58, and gave the Quakers a lead they never relinquished.
“I didn’t realize that I was close to that one,” said Brodeur. “When I came here I knew it was a place that I could play my game and be the player I know I am. Hearing that was no big thing because that’s what I do and the way I play. Hearing that and seeing everyone get up, it meant more to them than it was to me, gave me a greater respect for this program, the Philadelphia basketball community, knowing how much this team means to them. It was an amazing feeling hearing that type of reception for something that I was grinding away at and just playing my game.”
Penn improves to 5 – 3 in the Ivy League. They are in a three-way tie for third place with Harvard and Brown. Yale and Princeton are tied for the top-spot with 6 – 2 records. There are six games left. Who will get eliminated from an Ivy Madness berth?
Written By: Glenn Papazian