WITH 26.5 SECONDS remaining and a chance to tie the game, Penn sophomore guard Antonio Woods stepped to the free-throw line for a one-and-one opportunity.
After taking one dribble and spinning the ball between his hands, Woods began his shooting motion, launching the ball off the back iron.
An offensive rebound found the hands of junior guard Matt Howard, who passed the ball back to Woods with one more shot to tie the game. Woods missed an elbow jump shot from the left side with 19 seconds remaining, sealing the Quakers' fate in a 65-59 loss Wednesday to Navy at the Palestra.
"I'm disappointed that we lost, but I thought our kids really competed against a real physical, tough Navy team who is playing great basketball right now," coach Steve Donahue said.
Woods, who was 0-for-3 from the free-throw line in the final 30 seconds, finished with a team-high 16 points, 13 of which came in the second half after being limited in the first 20 minutes due to foul trouble.
"I think Antonio has been great each and every day, getting better," Donahue said. "I trust him like no one else, but he's probably not as confident in his shooting right now . . . His foul shooting is in just one of those funks."
With five minutes remaining and a nine-point deficit, the Quakers (4-3) used a 9-2 run to tie the game at 59 with 1:03 left after a pair of free throws from senior center Darien Nelson-Henry.
On the following possession, Navy's Shawn Anderson knocked down a jump shot with 43 seconds remaining to give Navy (7-2) the lead for good, 61-59.
"For us to come back in the second half and play great, inspired basketball and match them punch for punch, I thought we outplayed them in the second half," Donahue said.
Penn shot 50 percent from the field but turned the ball over 18 times, 11 of which came in the first half. The Quakers held Navy to 44.4 percent shooting and forced nine turnovers.
"We kept our energy high and did not worry about what they were going to do," Anderson said. "We just focused on playing hard and getting our hands in the passing lanes."
The Midshipmen jumped out to a 6-0 lead after Penn turned the ball over on its first two possessions.
Penn cut Navy's lead to two points, 10-8, with 16:23 after Nelson-Henry converted an and-one opportunity. But that was the closest Penn would get to Navy in the first half, as the Midshipmen used a 17-7 run over the next 10 minutes.
After a layup from freshman forward Max Rothschild helped the Quakers climb to within single digits with just over three minutes until halftime, the Midshipmen closed the half out on a 7-3 run to take a 37-25 lead into the locker room.
The Quakers were 8-for-19 from the field in the first half, including 2-for-7 from the three-point line.
"Defensively, they are really good," Donahue said of the Midshipmen. "They do a terrific job of forcing hard shots and that definitely affected us in the first half."