Penn loses the little momentum they had

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Penn senior Justin Reilly will play his final two games at the Palestra this weekend. (Ed Hille/Staff Photographer)

For a team with so many Ivy League championship banners in the rafters, aspiring to win one game each weekend is not a lofty goal by Penn standards.

Nonetheless, this year's Quakers gained some momentum from splitting each of their first four Ivy weekends this season. That streak came to an end Saturday as the Quakers were routed at Cornell after losing in the final seconds Friday at Columbia.

This weekend, Penn hosts Harvard and Dartmouth. Penn won a close game at Dartmouth last month, then lost at Harvard the next night. Junior forward Jack Eggleston said the Quakers learned a lesson from their trip to Boston.

"Against Harvard, we turned the ball over and let them get out in transition," he said. "If we can be patient and take care of the basketball and limit their transition opportunities, that will help."

Senior send-off. Penn's seniors will play their final game at the Palestra on Saturday. Andreas Schreiber and Darren Smith may be granted some extra eligibility because of injuries suffered over the last few seasons, but it will certainly be the last home game for Drew Godwin and Justin Reilly.

Eggleston is intent on making sure that the graduating players leave the Palestra with fond memories.

"You always want to finish on a high note," Eggleston said. "We're going to do our best to get them a win."

Ivy update. Cornell clinched a share of the Ivy League title with its win over Penn on Saturday, but the Big Red hasn't claimed the league's NCAA tournament bid just yet.

A win at either Brown or Yale this weekend would seal the title, as the Ivy League has no conference tournament. But even if the Big Red wins one game, a loss in the other could do serious damage to the team's NCAA tournament seeding.

Cornell's hopes for a decent seed were dented when the Big Red lost to Penn at the Palestra last month. But Cornell coach Steve Donahue said the loss helped motivate his squad for the rest of the season.

"I'm not so sure that loss wasn't the right thing for us at that time," said Donahue, a Delaware County native and former assistant at Penn and Philadelphia University.

Big Red forward Ryan Wittman refused to be drawn in on whether his team could become the first Ivy League squad to win an NCAA tournament game since Princeton beat UNLV in 1998.

"We've got to take it one game at a time," Wittman said. "I know that's pretty cliché, but I think we learned our lesson the last time we played Penn at the Palestra."