Penn fights hard in 70-57 loss to Butler

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Penn junior guard Miles Cartwright.  (Photo: Julie Smith)

Penn junior guard Miles Cartwright. (Photo: Julie Smith)

Andrew Koob(@AndrewKoob)

The Penn Quakers (2-10) certainly didn’t play like a two-win team against the No. 17 Butler Bulldogs (11-2), but still ended the night with another tally in the loss column with a 70-57 loss at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Wednesday.

In a game many expected to be a blowout, the Quakers kept it close throughout the game against the Bulldogs. A 9-2 run in the second half put the game at 42-40 in favor of Butler, but Penn wouldn’t come any closer than that.

Butler went on a 10-2 run before the Quakers had a chance to tie the game or possibly even take the lead. Penn fought back to put the deficit back to three, but couldn’t get that last push as they found themselves on the wrong end of a 10-0 run.

The Quakers’ biggest issue on Wednesday night was their rebounding margin. Penn was outrebounded by a 35-19 margin and a 12-3 difference on the offensive glass. Forward Greg Louis had a team-high five rebounds, including one offensive rebound.

Without leading scorer Fran Dougherty, who missed his second consecutive game due to mono, Quaker guard Miles Cartwright shouldered the scoring load, scoring 15 points, including two corner threes set up by a driving Jamal Lewis that put Penn up 10-8 early in the first half. Freshman guard Tony Hicks was the only other Quaker to score in double-digits, scoring 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting (33.3 percent).

Both Henry Brooks and Darien Nelson-Henry found themselves in foul trouble, as they each had four fouls with 14 minutes left to play in the second half. Brooks fouled out with three minutes left and finished with eight points, four rebounds and three turnovers. Nelson-Henry avoided a fifth foul, but ended the game with five points and only one rebound.

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Penn center Darien Nelson-Henry (Photo: Josh Verlin)

Despite being outrebounded 19-7 and committing 11 turnovers in the first half, Penn only trailed 35-29 with a chance to turn it around in the second half.

Butler’s two leading scorers, guard Rotnei Clarke and center Andrew Smith, had trouble making a big splash in the first half, scoring a combined seven points off of 2-of-12 shooting (16.7 percent). All of Clarke’s shots in the first half were from beyond the three-point line, where the whole team struggled. As a team, the Bulldogs shot 2-of-13 from deep (15.4 percent). Clarke finished the game with six points, while Smith ended with nine points and five rebounds.

While Clarke and Smith struggled, it was forward Roosevelt Jone that carried the team through the Bulldogs’ tough stretch, scoring 15 points and grabbing 5 rebounds in the first half. Jones ended the game with a game-high 24 points and six rebounds on 10-of-15 shooting (66.7 percent).

Penn will take a couple days off before travelling within the city to take on La Salle in the Quakers’ second Big 5 game of the year. Penn lost a close one to Villanova in early December in their first Big 5 game this season.

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