Ivy Sends Penn ... Again

CAROUSEL - Closed lanes of the Bay Bridge looking toward San Francisco, California, 2007/9/3.
Even though his team struggled early, Penn Coach Fran Dunphy thought he had a special group this season.

The Quakers proved that Saturday night, winning the Ivy League championship and an NCAA bid with a 69-52 victory over Cornell.

Ugonna Onyekwe, Andrew Toole and Tim Begley each scored 13 points as the Quakers (21-5, 13-0) won the Ivy League title for the second straight year, and for the eighth time in the last 11 seasons.

"It's a phenomenal feeling. There's nothing better," said Toole, a senior guard. "It's a lot different from last year (when Penn won the title in a playoff after ending the season in a three-way tie). There's much less stress."

The Quakers have now won 14 straight and 22 in a row in the Ivy League.

They were in control throughout, using two 10-0 runs in the first half to build a 34-23 halftime lead. Penn hit 13-of-25 shots in the half, including 5-of-9 from behind the arc, while Cornell made only 9-of-29 shots.

Ka'Ron Barnes had 21 points and 13 rebounds for Cornell (9-18, 4-10), which has now lost 10 in a row to Penn.

The season didn't start out all that well for Penn, which won its first game, but then lost to underdogs Drexel and Delaware — causing fans to grumble.

"You can learn from those things, and good teams come back from those types of losses," Dunphy said. "After the Delaware loss, ... I felt good about my guys. I felt we were a good basketball team, and that we would have a good season."

On Saturday, Koko Archibong, Jeff Schiffner and David Klatsky each hit 3-pointers at the start of the second half to give Penn a 43-23 lead, and Cornell never got closer than 12 points.

A 3-pointer by Schiffner at 12:24 gave Penn its biggest lead of the game, 54-33.

Steve Donahue, a former Penn assistant in his second year as Cornell's coach, recruited several Penn seniors. And he had mixed emotions about his team's loss.

"I hate to lose and I know my guys played hard, but I'm also really proud of Penn. They're a terrific group. They're just great people. They know how to win," Donahue said.

Penn will play its final game of the regular season at Princeton on Tuesday.