After a 17-point loss to Columbia to finish last weekend, Penn looked to reverse its momentum and beat last-place Dartmouth. But tonight, the script was flipped, as the Big Green beat the Quakers for just the fourth time at the Palestra since 1959. Here is the Good but mostly Bad and Ugly from a night to forget for Penn men’s basketball:
THE GOOD: Dau Jok makes it rain
After Penn fell behind by double digits early in the second half, the team needed a spark from its inconsistent bench. And Dau Jok was just the player to provide that spark. After hitting a three in the final minute of the first half, Jok reeled off three shots from the beyond the arc to close in on Dartmouth in the final frame. While Jok didn’t lead the Quakers in scoring (that honor, once again, went to Tony Hicks, who led the team with 23 points), the junior captain went 4-for-4 from the field and was one of the few bright spots for Penn.
THE BAD: The (failed) attempt to contain Dartmouth’s freshmen
The matchup featured just one senior combined between the two teams so it was up to the underclassmen to make something happen. And opposite Tony Hicks, it was Dartmouth’s Alex Mitola who was the star of the game. With the game tied at 61 in the final 90 seconds, the freshman guard took over, hitting two free throws before getting a game-sealing And One layup that got the Dartmouth bench fired up. The Quakers once again failed to make the necessary plays to win a close game, and another factor was Big Green freshman forward Connor Boehm, who provided 15 points and six boards off the bench.
THE UGLY: The utter lack of a crowd
It is pretty hard for a 7-19 team to attract much excitement. When you add in the fact that Penn was on Spring Break and facing the even-less exciting Dartmouth, you have a perfect storm of attendance futility. Just 1867 people (officially) came to the Palestra on Friday night to see the Quakers’ latest loss. It felt like even fewer people were in attendance as even the players noticed. Miles Cartwright said, “There was no energy in the building tonight from a crowd standpoint, so when that happens, we have to bring our own energy and we didn’t do that tonight.”