The Quakers Keep Hope Alive for an Ivy League Tournament Berth
PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/3/2023 –
It is the second half of the Ivy League season. The University of Pennsylvania came into the game holding fifth place in the standings, one game out of a playoff spot. A time of urgency as the Red and Blue can not afford stumbles. The Columbia Lions gave the Quakers a tussle. Penn was able to hold them off for a 74 – 65 win at the Palestra. Presently, Penn is tied for fourth place at 4 – 4 with Dartmouth and Brown with lots of basketball to be played.
Quakers guard Jordan Dingle led the way with a game-high 25 points. He knows this is the time that matters.
“We are not where we pictured ourselves at the beginning of the season, but we’re progressing at a good rate,” said Dingle. “We’re moving forward. Everything is positive right now. We got a little bit of momentum and we need to keep it going.”
Closing the Game Critical for the Red and Blue
Penn took a 55 – 38 lead midway through the second half and appeared to be in control. Then, Columbia mounted a charge behind guards Zavian McLean, who scored a team-high 19 points, and Avery Brown with 18 points. McLean scored 17 points in the second half. The Lions cut the lead the 5-points on three occasions and had chances to make it a one-possession game.
Over the last 10 minutes of the game Penn got three baskets, two from Dingle; a three-pointer and a traditional three-point play. Of their last 19 Penn points 8 came from the field, 11 from the foul line. With 20.9 seconds on the clock guard George Smith put the game away at 73 – 62 with a tap-up-and-in layup off a scramble that Columbia nearly turned into a steal.
“They fought to the very end, but I’m proud of my guys for staying poised and level headed,” Dingle said. “Just keep on working through the mistakes and not beating ourselves up.”
“I thought in the last four minutes when they were really coming at us, we kept them at bay,” said Penn Coach Steve Donahue.
Two Runs that Gave Penn Separation
With just under four minutes to play in the first half, leading by two-points the Quakers got separation by going on a 10 – 0 run for a 35 – 23 lead. In the second half holding a 42 – 33 lead the Red and Blue scored 11 of the next 13 points to take their largest lead at 53 – 35. Both runs were important, and the Red and Blue did it in different ways.
“We went small for that stretch,” said Donahue about the first half spurt. “I thought we moved the ball, got shots, and did a really good job. In the second I thought it was more our defense, getting in transition, making good decisions when we got over half court.”
“They’re both important, but I never thought we put them away.”
What the Numbers Say
Smith was the other double-digit scored for Penn with 14 points. However, eight of the nine Penn players scored.
Rebounding turned out to be a key for the Quakers. The advantage was 45 – 29 overall, and 15 – 10 on the offensive glass. Boards were a factor in keeping the Red and Blue offense in motion.
“It meant a lot especially those offensive rebounds,” Donahue said, “They are making you go one-on-one. If you settle for that and not go after the ball, you can get into a rut.”
It is an old school Ivy Weekend. Penn hosts second place Cornell. The Big Red is tied for second place with Yale at 5 – 3. A win for Penn would be a big step towards securing an post season spot in the Ancient Eight.
Written By: Glenn Papazian