PHILADELPHIA, Pa.—Zack Rosen got the shots he wanted Friday evening—he just couldn’t get them to fall.
Now in his third year as a team captain, Penn’s first-team all-Ivy stalwart has turned in a remarkable senior season so far.
He currently sits in the top three in the league in scoring, assists, and minutes per game and was named one of 20 finalists for the prestigious Bob Cousy Award last month.
But in his final chance to knock off No. 21/25 Harvard in the storied Palestra, the unquestioned heart and soul of the Quakers came up just short, as Penn fell to Harvard, 56-50.
With 23.7 seconds to play in the game, Rosen drained a deep three-pointer to bring Penn within three and keep things interesting, but the rest of his baskets had come few and far between.
Leading his team with 16 points, Rosen shot 6 of 21 from the floor, marking the most field goals he has attempted in a game this season.
“Usually, I’m a `we’ guy. We win. We lose,” said Rosen, who relied on his quickness and an effective use of screens to get open looks at the basket. “[Friday] I felt like I was totally to blame. I didn’t hit the shots that I hit in my sleep, the shots I take day after day.”
In the most recent matchup between the Ancient Eight foes last March, then-sophomore guard Brandyn Curry held Rosen to 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting.
This year, Harvard coach Tommy Amaker again relied on the persistent Curry along with freshman guard Corbin Miller to keep up with the Ivy Player of the Year favorite, but their task was made a great deal easier by Rosen’s off night.
“He’s impossible to stop,” Amaker said of the Quaker star. “I think he missed some shots he’s normally going to make.”
A number of his shots looked on target but rimmed out—a phenomenon that afflicted his teammates early on as well, as the Quakers missed several makeable shots.
And so a four-point first-half showing did not dissuade Rosen from keeping the ball even more in the second.
He certainly did not receive much help from his teammates in the backcourt, as Tyler Bernardini struggled against the defense of Harvard sophomore Laurent Rivard, finishing with two points.
And Penn’s most efficient guard, sophomore Miles Cartwright, was forced to come out late in the second half with a leg injury after picking up 12 points.
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