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Penn vs. Brown notes: We love Desmond Cambridge, The Palestra, and the Ivy League in general

Some notes from the first game of our trip.

NCAA Basketball: Brown at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

PHILADELPHIA — The Mid-Major Madness Super Bowl Weekend Philadelphia Hootenanny (MMMSBWPH for short) began Friday night at The Palestra, where Penn out-lasted Brown 95-90 in overtime to stay undefeated in the Ivy League.

In a game that was back-and-forth throughout, the Quakers held the Bears scoreless for the final 3:09 of regulation to erase a late six-point deficit, then got just enough stops on defense in overtime to hold on.

Caleb Wood scored 22 on 8-10 shooting to lead the Quakers, and Antonio Woods went 4-8 from three to add 21 points. For Brown, which dropped to 2-3 in the Ivy League and is now in a four-way tie for the all-important fourth spot in the standings, it was a freshman phenom who led the way.

Desmond Cambridge

We love this guy.

It took all of three minutes of this game to realize the Brown freshman is a Certified Bucket Getter, and he doesn’t care who knows it. He scored 29 points, shot 12-19 from the field and 4-7 from three, and was the spark Brown needed to start the game and to stay in it down the stretch. His baskets came in every way imaginable...except for open looks. He doesn’t get those and it doesn’t matter. As Brown coach Mike Martin said after the game, a bad shot for most players is just a normal shot for him. Hand in his face? Two hands in his face? 30 feet from the basket? Doesn’t matter.

“He’s an unbelievable talent and we’re going to let him be who he is,” Martin said. “I’m quite certain that there’s a lot of teams in our league that would love to have a guy who can make those kinds of shots.”

Caleb Wood is valuable off the bench

After the game, Penn coach Steve Donahue had no shortage of praise for his senior guard. Of course when Wood makes eight of his 10 shots, that’s to be expected.

“They were game-planning us a certain way and Caleb Wood kind of messes that up,” he said. “Now it’s not two bigs, you take a big out and put in a 6’3 sharpshooter. I thought that got them on their heels a little bit.”

And Wood’s contributions came at the right time. He scored 17 after halftime, including a stretch of three straight makes that either tied the game or put Penn ahead midway through the second half.

Wood hasn’t started a game this season, but he’s the most consistent three-point shooter on the team, ranks second in the Ivy League in turnover rate, and ranks fourth in offensive rating.

The Palestra is great

I had been there once before, but it was a couple years ago and I needed a reset. Almost every inch of the concourse, the media room, and everywhere but the 94 feet of hardwood is a living shrine to the history of basketball in this city. Chris wrote about his experience last night and I recommend you give it a read. We’ll add some more pictures tonight, probably on our IG story, but it will include a lot of this:

The Ivy League is a mess

The standings heading into Saturday speak for themselves. Keep in mind that the top four teams will advance to the Ivy League Tournament, held at the Palestra in March. A third of the way through the schedule, seven of the eight teams can claim at least a tie for fourth.

Saturday schedule:

Brown (2-3) at Princeton (3-1)
Harvard (4-1) at Cornell (2-3)
Dartmouth (0-5) at Columbia (2-3)
Yale (2-3) at Penn (4-0)

We’ll be at the Yale-Penn game tonight. As friend of the site Jon Rothstein noted a few days ago, Makai Mason will NOT be available for the Bulldogs.