Strong defensive effort leads Penn to a 69-61 win over Cornell

Penn’s Max Rothschild looks to pass down low against Cornell’s Terrance McBride. Rothschild had four first half assists-12012018-0001
Penn’s Max Rothschild looks to pass down low against Cornell’s Terrance McBride. Rothschild had four first half assists

The game plan was well known and Penn’s basketball team followed it to perfection. The Quakers were facing one of the nation’s most prolific scorers who has routinely torched Ivy League and non-league teams alike.

This was not one of those nights.

With Darnell Foreman acting as the primary defender and putting the clamps on 6-foot-2 Cornell junior Matt Morgan, Penn defeated the Big Red, 69-61, during Friday’s Ivy League game at the Palestra.

Penn (11-5, 2-0 Ivy League) has won its first two Ivy League games for the first time since beginning 3-0 in 2011-12. Cornell fell to 6-8, 0-1.

Morgan entered the game fourth in the nation in scoring, averaging 24.9 points per game. He was held to 13 points, shooting 4 of 16 from the field, 1 of 6 from beyond the arc.

“I thought his energy the whole time was terrific,” Penn coach Steve Donahue said about Foreman.

Donahue also used Devon Goodman and Antonio Woods at times on Morgan.

“We are one of the few teams in the league that can throw three guys like that on him,” said Donahue, whose team has 10 straight wins over Cornell.

Penn was led by 6-8 sophomore AJ Brodeur who had 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists. Ryan Betley scored 13 points and Foreman, a 6-1 senior from Pitman High, added 12.

Stone Gettings, a 6-8 junior, scored 16 of his game-high 20 points in the second half for the Big Red, and also had a game-high 17 rebounds.

Cornell got to within 65-61 when Joel Davis scored on a driving layup with 53.2 seconds left. Penn, which shot 11 for 23 from the foul line, then saw Betley make one of two free throws.

Foreman took a charge on Morgan with 44.7 seconds remaining and then hit one of two foul shots with 40.7 seconds left. He would add two more free throws with 18.9 seconds left to seal the win.

“A key was limiting their runs,” Brodeur said.

Penn earned a 34-24 halftime lead and 6-8 junior Max Rothschild showed a versatile game with seven points and four first-half assists.  Betley had 10 points at intermission to lead Penn, but the Quakers were able to keep Morgan well in check. He had just five first-half points, shooting 1 for 8 from the field and missing all four three-pointers.

This was much different than the team’s most recent meeting, when Morgan scored 36 points last year during Penn’s 69-66 win at Cornell.