It was an intense battle inside, between two of the top players in the Ivy League, and it took a career-best performance for Penn’s AJ Brodeur to best Chris Knight and his Dartmouth team.
Brodeur, a 6-foot-8 junior, scored a career-high 36 points and also contributed 11 rebounds and three blocked shots in Penn’s 82-79 overtime win on Friday at the Palestra.
Knight, a 6-7 sophomore, had 25 points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals.
Penn is now 15-8 and 3-4 in the Ivy League, while hard-luck Dartmouth is 11-12, 2-5.
“Going up against Chris Knight specifically, a long athletic dude who can block shots, who can finish over, under around anyone, it was a really good battle for the whole 40 minutes,” said Brodeur, who shot 15-for-23 from the field.
Make that 45 minutes.
Knight said he was exhausted after battling all game with Brodeur.
“When I saw we were to play them I was preparing all week for an intense matchup and I knew he was going to bring it to me every single time,” Knight said. “We are the top two forwards in the league, in my opinion, and it was a great game.”
Penn had to overcome a 50-39 deficit early in the second half.
“I thought when we got down 11, from that point on I thought we really guarded,” Penn coach Steve Donahue said.
With Dartmouth trailing, 80-79, in overtime, Knight missed an off-balance shot near the basket and Brodeur got the rebound and was fouled with 0.6 seconds left. Brodeur made both free throws to surpass his previous career high of 35 points.
In regulation, Brodeur hit 1 of 2 free throws to tie the score at 70 with 46.8 seconds left. Knight then lost the ball driving to the basket, giving Penn the ball with 18.1 seconds left.
Brodeur missed a forced corner jump hook, forcing overtime.
Dartmouth’s 2-5 Ivy mark is deceptive. The Big Green have beaten preseason favorite Harvard and suffered four of their Ivy losses by five points or fewer.
Brendan Barry, Dartmouth’s 6-2 junior sharpshooter, entered the game shooting 49.3 percent from three-point range, which ranked fourth nationally. Guarded mainly by Devon Goodman, he was 1-for-8 from three-point range. The Big Green entered the game first in the Ivy League and 16th nationally in three-point percentage (.391) and shot 7-for-22 against Penn (.318).
Goodman scored 12 points, Antonio Woods had 10, and freshman Bryce Washington added nine. Michael Wang, a 6-10 freshman averaging 9.8 points, didn’t play and Donahue said it was because of unfavorable matchups.
Penn trailed, 42-37, at halftime, with Dartmouth going on an 11-0 run to close the half. A key contribution came from 6-2 junior Ray Jerome, who scored a career-high six points, all in the first half.