Miles Cartwright's last-second free throws lead Penn basketball past Brown, 66-64
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - In the first half of Friday night's game against Brown, Penn's Miles Cartwright was the dominant player on the floor. But for most of the second half, he was seemingly invisible.
When the Quakers needed him most, though, Cartwright emerged from the shackles placed on him by the Bears' defense. He scored eight points in the game's final two minutes - including two free throws with under a second remaining - to lead a dramatic Penn comeback that resulted in a 66-64 win at the Pizzitola Center.
"Our guys stayed with it one possession at a time," Penn coach Jerome Allen said. "That's a sign of growth and maturity."
The victory gave the Quakers (9-20, 6-6 Ivy League) a season sweep of Brown (12-15, 6-7). It's a rare bright spot in what has been a rocky ride through conference play for Allen's senior-less squad.
"We've got a fairly young team - some days they're going to look good, and other days they're going to make you scratch your head," Allen said.
Penn held a 33-28 lead at halftime, with Cartwright accounting for 17 of those points. He was also a force on defense, helping the Quakers force Brown into a whopping 18 turnovers. Six of those giveaways were credited as Penn steals.
It was a scenario that Martin had seen plenty of times before. Before taking the helm at his alma mater this season, Martin spent six years at Penn as an assistant under Allen and Glen Miller.
Martin's focus on Cartwright paid off. The junior guard was held to just one field goal attempt through the first 18 minutes of the second half.
"I didn't feel like I had a lot of open looks or good looks in the second half, [and] I didn't want to force anything," Cartwright said.
With Brown focusing on Cartwright, Patrick Lucas-Perry stepped up. He scored 13 of his 15 points on the night after halftime.
Lucas-Perry helped Penn extend its lead early in the second half. The Quakers' advantage grew to 48-37 when Cameron Gunter threw down a slam dunk with 13:56 to play.
Momentum turned Brown's way seconds later, when Henry Brooks clanged a fastbreak dunk attempt off the rim. Bears guard Matt Sullivan got the rebound, and Brown proceeded to outscore the Quakers by a 27-10 margin over the next 12 minutes. The home team's lead was 64-58 after a Sean McGonagill three-pointer with 1:57 on the clock.
Finally, with 1:42 to play, Cartwright broke through. He was fouled attempting a three-pointer, and made all three free throws. A minute later, Cartwright hit a three-pointer to tie the score.
Brown had two chances to go back ahead in the final 13 seconds, but McGonagill missed a layup and Matt Sullivan missed a three-pointer. Penn's Henry Brooks got the rebound and passed the ball to freshman guard Jamal Lewis. Brown had two fouls to give, and forced a stoppage with two seconds on the clock.
Penn's ensuing inbounds pass was knocked out of play with 1.1 seconds remaining. That gave the Quakers another set play, and they were positioned closer to the basket this time.
Cartwright received the inbounds pass, and immediately turned to shoot a three-pointer. He was fouled at almost the exact same time that the buzzer went off.
The announced crowd of 1,324 wasn't convinced that the foul occured before time expired, or that Cartwright was in the act of shooting. But after looking at a replay, the referees sent Cartwright to the free throw line and put 0.7 seconds on the clock.
Cartwright made his first two attempts and intentionally shot the third off the rim. Brown didn't have enough time for a final shot, and Penn ran off the floor victorious.
"I want the ball in my hands in those kinds of situations," Cartwright said. "I wasn't sure he was going to foul me like that, but I did want to take that last shot."
One second might not seem like much time, but Cartwright said he didn't feel rushed to make a play.
"That's enough time for me," he said. "It's enough time to turn [and] maybe get a quick dribble in if I'm facing the basket. In that situation, I knew I had enough time to turn and get a good look."
Cartwright and Lucas-Perry were Penn's only players to score in double-figures on the night. Four Brown players scored at least 10 points, led by McGonagill's 15. Center Rafael Maia contributed 12 points and 14 rebounds, including eight on the offensive glass.
After splitting their first five back-to-backs in conference play, the Quakers will play for their first sweep of an Ivy weekend this season Saturday night at Yale. The Bulldogs' church-like John J. Lee Amphitheater has long served as the Quakers' most difficult road test.
"We've got to start off with a great defensive effort from the tip," Cartwright said. "The last time we played them [a 68-59 Penn loss at the Palestra on February 8], we felt like we didn't defend and communicate as well as we should have."
Yale will be coming off an impressive 71-66 win over Ivy title contender Princeton on Friday. That result, combined with Harvard's 56-51 home win over Columbia, means that the Tigers are a half-game back of the Crimson heading into the final full night of conference action.
Harvard (10-3 Ivy) concludes its regular season Saturday night with a home game against Cornell. Princeton (9-3) has two road games remaining: at Brown on Saturday and at Penn on Tuesday.
If both teams win out, there will be a one-game playoff for the Ancient Eight's automatic NCAA Tournament berth. The Ivy League announced Friday afternoon that the playoff would take place at the Palestra on Sunday, March 17 at 1 p.m., with a national TV broadcast on the NBC Sports Network.