Game 28: Harvard – The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Good Bad & Ugly


What a difference a night makes. After fizzling away Friday night against Dartmouth, the Quakers were back with a vengeance, getting the underdog victory over Harvard, 75-72. In a league of upsets, a truly dominant team has yet to emerge, though the Crimson had come into the weekend looking like the cream of the crop of the Ivy League, before being swept by Princeton and Penn. In front of a crowded Palestra, despite it being spring break, the Quakers avenged a loss in Cambridge from earlier this season, and just like the second matchup against the Crimson last year, came away with the win.

THE GOOD: The freshmen

The rookie Quakers — Darien Nelson-Henry and Tony Hicks in particular — controlled the court tonight and led Penn to its win. Nelson-Henry brought in 18 points on the night on an 8-for-13 performance from the field, which was in addition to 11 rebounds — three of which were offensive — and three steals. Hicks, who led the Red and Blue in scoring, went 9-for-17 to rake in 24 points for the Quakers as well as three steals, four boards and a team-high five assists.

THE ALSO GOOD: The Quakers’ defensive effort

Though the Crimson went on a run in the second, Penn kept Harvard to 26.1 percent shooting in the first half. Though four Harvard players scored double-digits, including a 20-point performance — 10 of which came from the free throw line — from sophomore forward Wesley Saunders, the usual executers were kept to low shooting percentages. Sophomore center Kenyatta Smith was limited to 2-for-7 shooting, senior guard Christian Webster went 5-for-14 and freshman guard Siyani Chambers was kept to 1-for-5 in his 40 minutes of play.

THE BAD: Fouling

The most memorable of the fouls was junior forward Dau Jok’s unnecessary last-second foul as Chambers was bringing down the ball to finish off the first half. But this was just one of many. The Quakers quickly went over the limit in both frames. In the first half, Penn made it to the bonus with seven minutes and 25 seconds left, reaching 12 in the frame, while in the second it reached this point with nine minutes and 59 seconds left after jumping to six quick fouls beforehand and 13 total in the second half. It seemed as though there was constant whistling coming from the referees. The Crimson raked in 24 points on 33 opportunities at the charity stripe.

THE UGLY: Three-point coverage down the stretch

Though the Quakers maintained the lead throughout the game, a win started to look questionable as Harvard started making shot after shot from beyond the arc. The Crimson went 8-for-11 from three in the second half, after just going 2-for-10 in the previous stanza. The Crimson were notching almost every opportunity for a trey during this frame, with junior guard Laurent Rivard leading the way, going 4-for-4 from beyond the arc during the second half. In the final five minutes and 41 seconds, the Crimson brought in 15 points from three-point shooting, including notching two in the final 13 seconds. Harvard actually outscored Penn, 46-37, in the second half but the Quakers had built up a big enough cushion in the first to maintain the lead until the final buzzer.

Turn Back the Clock: Nov. 15, 2003

The Quakers halt a Crimson comeback, 32-24
November 15, 2003

There’s been quite the trend in years past of vying for the Ivy League championship against Harvard. For the second year in a row, Penn clinched the Ivy title outright in a close matchup at Harvard Stadium, one game before finishing the season undefeated in the league.

But the Crimson wouldn’t let a win come too easy for the Quakers, who jumped out to an early lead.

The Red and Blue reached a 22-point advantage, 22-0, before Harvard came charging back.

To commence the game, Penn QB Mike Mitchell found tight end Brian Adams five plays in for an 11-yard touchdown, putting the Quakers up by seven.

This scoring streak continued for Penn. In the following scoring drive, and in the first play for that matter, Mitchell passed the ball 44 yards to wide receiver Dan Castles for the second Quakers touchdown, putting them up 14-0.

And it was still the first quarter.

Another pass from Mitchell to fullback Kevin DeSmedt a couple minutes later for a seven-yard touchdown followed by a two-point conversion put the Quakers at what seemed to be a huge advantage.

The Crimson answered with a 65-yard drive for a touchdown, which the Red and Blue matched in the second half with a 91-yard drive, running into the endzone.

The second half was big for Harvard, who scored on a safety followed by a touchdown on a 5-yard pass. The Quakers answered yet again, countering with a field goal.

In the final minutes, Harvard fumbled the ball but managed to get it back in time to drive down the field for the eight-point touchdown play. Penn began their drive, but ended up needing to punt with less than a minute to play.

Within the final minute, Harvard made it 71 yards down the field. But in the final moments of the game, six yards from potentially putting together a game tying play, Penn linebacker Steve Lhotak tackled Harvard QB Matt Fratto, ending the game and securing the title for the Quakers.

From the other side of the Ivy title

The DP wasn't the only publication today with Penn on the cover page. The Harvard Crimson featured the injured Billy Ragone celebrating after the Quakers won and got at least a share of the title Saturday afternoon. Below is the top portion of the front page of today's Crimson: