Updated on Feb. 4 at 1:10 a.m.
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — For the second straight game, a second-half attempt at a comeback came up short as the Lions were unable to erase a first-half deficit, falling to the Quakers, 62-58.
Penn (4-16, 1-2 Ivy) guard Miles Cartwright led all scorers with 22 points, going a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line and adding a couple of clutch shots late in the game. Senior point guard Brian Barbour led Columbia (9-9, 1-3 Ivy) with 21 points, while senior center Mark Cisco shot 75 percent from the field to finish with 15 points.
Columbia started strong, jumping out to a 7-2 lead at the beginning of the game. But the home team quickly regrouped, and by halftime, the Light Blue found itself in a seven-point hole.
Poor shooting plagued the Lions in the game’s opening 20 minutes, and Columbia had difficulty holding on to the ball.
“We’ve been good all year taking care of the ball, but we turned it over, which led to some transition for them,” Lions head coach Kyle Smith said.
In addition to committing nine turnovers in the first half, the Light Blue was shooting a frigid 25 percent from the field at halftime.
“We just came out flat,” Barbour said. “Didn’t shoot it well in the first half, didn’t shoot it well overall, total, very well, and you can’t do that in this league.”
The Lions played noticeably better in the second half, as they had against Cornell the previous weekend.
Columbia slowly chipped away at Penn’s lead, and a Barbour jumper brought the Lions back within two with 13:28 left in the game. The Quakers responded and rebuilt a nine-point lead, only to have the Lions tie it up at 48 on a free throw by senior forward John Daniels with 5:48 to go.
The two teams went back and forth, with Penn clinging to a narrow lead that vanished when Barbour hit a three with 1:18 to play that again knotted the score at 56-56.
Cartwright missed a three at the other end, and the Lions had a chance to grab their first lead since midway through the first half.
But the promising possession ended prematurely, as sophomore forward Alex Rosenberg was called for a travel. Penn went straight for the jugular, and Cartwright drilled a critical jumper to give the Quakers a two-point cushion.
Cartwright, who was responsible for Penn’s last eight points, was a big reason why the Lions were unable to complete their comeback.
“He’s turned himself into a very good player, and their best player in our eyes,” Barbour said of Cartwright. “He made a big shot down the stretch, breaking that tie and kind of getting the momentum a little bit back on their side. It was big for them in that moment.”
A pair of Barbour free throws got Columbia within two again with nine seconds to go, but the Lions were forced to foul and Cartwright hit both of the ensuing free throws to seal the win for the Quakers.