Yes, this really just happened. And no, I can't believe it either.
Behind 24 points from Jack Eggleston and 22 from Zack Rosen, Penn upset two-time defending Ivy League champion Cornell at the Palestra, 79-64. The Quakers shot 56.5 percent from the field and won at home for the first time since February 28, 2009 - a span of 351 days.
Penn was 11-for-21 from three and 27-for-48 from the field overall. Cornell shot 56.5 percent from the field (13-for-23) in the first half, but only 33.3 percent (10-for-30) in the second.
It was 32-31 Penn at halftime. You had to think the Big Red would get things fixed in the second half. But it didn't happen.
Ryan Wittman and Louis Dale led Cornell with 16 points each. Dale had a terrible night otherwise, though, shooting 6-for-15 from the field and committing four turnovers before fouling out.
I guess it's okay for the Penn kids to storm the court if it's been that long since the last home win?
The whole thing is kind of unbelievable. But it happened, and now Cornell has some real consequences to deal with when they go to Princeton tomorrow
As for Penn... who knows. They could still lose to Columbia tomorrow, but they looked really good tonight. Having Mike Howlett back after being out for 11 games due to injury made a huge difference inside - he scored nine points and pulled down nine offensive rebounds, including five at the offensive end.
Press conference audio is below. So are the preamble (not that it matters), the live-Tweeting transcript and the stats compilation from earlier this afternoon.
I was in University City this afternoon to talk to some people and I saw the Cornell basketball team walking down Walnut Street towards the Palestra. The players were wearing their usual pregame sweats, but no heavy coats or anything like that.
I guess when you're from Ithaca, this weather is nothing.
The Big Red should feel evem more at home in the Palestra tonight if as many of their fans show up as have in years past. Writing this before the game, I suspect there will be more Cornell fans in the house than Penn fans tonight.
Regardless of who anyone's rooting for, there's little question that all eyes on 33rd Street will be focused on Big Red coach Steve Donahue. The Springfield, Delaware County native is almost a lock at this point to be headed to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year. Already, his name has been connected with Rutgers and Fordham on various websites of various repute.
No matter who's saying what now, if the Big Red are able to win a game in March, Donahue's stock will soar even higher. I've seen Cornell in person twice this season, and I really think this could be the year the Ivy League ends its 12-year NCAA Tournament win drought.
By the way, the Penn fans among you might be interested in this excerpt from Keith Pompey's story on Donahue in this morning's Inquirer:
But Donahue, a Cardinal O'Hara and Ursinus College product, said he is not upset about not getting the Penn job.
"I appreciate that they were willing to consider me, to be honest," Donahue said. "At that point, I hadn't achieved much at Cornell, probably, in a lot of people's eyes. Although I knew I was doing it the right way.
"I never had bad feelings, in all honesty. I appreciate that I was able to continue up here and build what we have up here."
"In my experience there hasn't been a better leader than Jerome was as a player at Penn," Donahue said. "He's got his kids playing hard and sharing the basketball. I love their offense and what they're trying to do."
I'll be Tweeting from courtside at the Palestra this evening, and you can follow along below. Before then, though, here's the weekly stats compilation. You'll see I've added season records to the Teamsheet Tables to give those numbers a bit more context.
Soft Pretzel Logic is Philly.com's college sports blog, with a primary focus on the University of Pennsylvania. You'll also see coverage of the Big 5, other major college sports events in the region, and the annual Penn Relays track and field meet.