Max Rothschild caught the ball two feet outside the paint with a defender on his back.
The junior forward dribbled once, twice, then shot the ball with his right hand as his momentum took him across the lane. It swooshed through the net to give Penn a two-point lead with 30.6 seconds left in overtime.
Rothschild’s late bucket proved the deciding basket in Penn’s 95-90 overtime victory against Brown on Friday night at the Palestra as the Quakers (14-6, 4-0 Ivy League) stayed unbeaten in conference play.
“I’ve done that move in practice before and just had confidence in myself, tried to knock it down,” Rothschild said.
Helped by nine Penn turnovers and 13 early points from freshman guard Desmond Cambridge, who led all scorers with 29, Brown built an eight-point lead with less than two minutes left in the first half.
The Quakers used a 9-2 spurt, capped by a buzzer beater three from junior guard Antonio Woods, to close the gap to one before the end of the half as Brown went into the break up 43-42. Woods, who finished with 21 points in the game, nailed another three to give Penn a two-point lead within the first minute of the second half.
Seven ties and 10 more lead changes followed in the next 19 minutes of play. Neither team led by by more than four points until a layup by Brown’s Obi Okolie put the Bears up by six with 3:09 remaining. However, Penn kept Brown scoreless for the rest of regulation and scored the last six points of the half, all free throws, to send the game into overtime.
The lead exchanged hands six more times in overtime, but Penn locked down defensively once again, holding Brown scoreless for the last minute and 30 seconds of the extra period.
“For long stretches, Brown made us look like a poor defensive team,” Penn coach Steve Donahue said. “Yet we were able to figure out a way in the second half, when we had to get stops, and we did.”
Penn came into Friday night 20 days removed from its last Ivy League game. The Quakers picked up right where they left off, improving to 4-0 in conference play. After Harvard’s loss on Friday night, Penn is now in sole possession of first in the league.
“Today was a great example of what we can be as a basketball team and what it takes to win in the Ivy,” Rothschild said.