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NCAA Tournament First Round: Penn’s upset dreams fall short against Kansas

The Quakers hung around for 30 minutes, but came up short.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Kansas vs Pennsylvania Kelly Ross-USA TODAY Sports Images

Many people around the college basketball landscape tabbed Penn as having a chance of being the first 16 seed to beat a 1 seed. However, those hopes came up short as they fell to the Kansas Jayhawks, 76-60.

The Quakers lived up to the hype that they’d garnered leading up to the game by taking a 16-9 lead in the first 10 minutes. Kansas appeared to sleepwalk through the opening part of the game, and Penn made sure they took advantage.

Penn continued to force Kansas into tough shots, and held a 21-13 lead at the under-8 media timeout. At that point in the game, Kansas was just 6-21 from the floor. As top seeds are wont to do, the Jayhawks found their rhythm.

The Jayhawks used an 11-0 run to go up 22-21 late in the first half, and continued the surge to take a 33-26 lead into the locker room. Kansas ended the half on a 22-5 run, led by 19 points from Devonte’ Graham.

As one might have expected, Penn couldn’t keep up with the Kansas offense. The Quaker deficit ballooned to double digits, and they found themselves trailing 50-37 five minutes into the second half. Penn wouldn’t go away, however, and cut the deficit to 52-48 thanks to a quick 11-2 run.

Free throws prevented Penn from climbing over the hill though. The Quakers trailed 59-51 at the under-8 media timeout, but were just 1-8 from the charity stripe. By the last media timeout, the Quakers trailed by 13 and the clock had essentially struck midnight.

Kansas would go on to win 76-60, but the final score was not indicative of how close the game was until late. Caleb Wood and AJ Brodeur led the Quakers with 14 points a piece, but Penn shot just 22-56 from the floor for the game.

Penn finishes the season with a 24-9 record, which is their best mark since they went 25-7 in 2002 under Fran Dunphy.