Freshman Wang leads Penn to 89-75 upset win over Miami
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — AJ Brodeur has a message for the rest of the country: sleep on the Ivy League at your own peril.
Freshman Michael Wang scored a career-high 23 points off the bench, Brodeur had 18 points, and Penn upset Miami 89-75 on Tuesday night at the Palestra.
Devon Goodman added 16 points for the Quakers (7-2), who shot 13 for 23 from 3-point range to beat a team from a Power Five conference team for the first time since the 2002-03 season.
Zach Johnson scored 17 points and Chris Lykes had 16 for the Hurricanes (5-4), who have lost four straight and two in a row to Ivy League teams after a 77-73 defeat to Yale on Saturday.
“We have teams now that can take on teams from the best conferences in the country,” said Brodeur, who added eight rebounds and six assists. “I think going forward people are going to take notice. People are going to have to scout us more, pay attention more They’re just going to have to play better. We’re not going to be a team that people sleep on.”
With Miami trailing by 17 with less than 8 minutes left, Lykes reeled off eight straight points to pull the Canes within nine and a Johnson jumper got them within four with 3:20 to go. But Goodman made two straight acrobatic layups to snap a five-minute scoreless drought for Penn and kickstart a 9-0 run that derailed Miami’s comeback bid.
“It would have been a great ending for us if we had just made a couple additional plays at that time,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said.
Although the Hurricanes were allowing opponents to shoot just 27.3 percent from 3-point range coming in, the Quakers blitzed them for 11 3s in the first half on 18 attempts to take a 50-36 halftime lead. Wang led the way with four 3s before the break and the freshman forward from California finished 9 for 12 from the field and 5 for 6 from 3-point range.
“Coach (Steve Donahue) gives me all the freedom on the court,” Wang said. “Coach just tells me if I’m open, I can shoot it. I think that’s what I’m capable of and what I’m going to keep doing.”
Penn extended its lead to 19 on a Jake Silpe 3-pointer midway through the second half, giving the Quakers enough cushion to hold on for the first win over ACC team since they knocked off Georgia Tech on Nov. 19, 2001.
Miami: After opening the season with five straight wins, the Hurricanes are now in somewhat of a freefall heading into a two-week layoff for finals. They’ve been playing without top big man Dewan Hernandez while the school and NCAA reviews his eligibility.
“The best way for us to build is to get some rest and hopefully get one of our best players back,” Larranaga said. “We’re hoping we’ll have him back soon.”
Penn: The reigning Ivy League champs is looking like a very dangerous mid-major squad once again, even after losing last season’s top scorer Ryan Betley to a season-ending knee injury in the opener.
“We lost our leading scorer and I never sensed it would bother us,” Donahue said.
With the Hurricanes shorthanded, Larranaga decided to employ a zone for much of the first half to try to keep their only big man, Ebuka Izundu, out of foul trouble. The Miami coach was pleased with how it worked for “about 12 or 13 minutes” — until the Quakers got hot from 3-point range.
“We practiced the zone for one day, yesterday for 10 minutes,” Larranaga said. “We only had seven guys there. So it’s pretty hard to really practice game-like situations when you only have seven scholarship players.”
Although Penn rarely faces ACC opponents, Donahue is quite familiar with them from his four-year stint as Boston College’s head coach. Tuesday’s win, however, marked the first time Donahue bested Larranaga in 11 tries.
“My experience in the ACC helps in the sense I can honestly speak to the personnel and style of play you’re going to see,” Donahue said. “And I hope our guys learn from it.”
Miami kicks off a four-game homestand vs. Houston Baptist on Dec. 19.
Penn heads to La Salle on Saturday before hosting defending national champion Villanova next Tuesday in two straight Philadelphia Big 5 matchups.