On Friday and Saturday, the men’s basketball team (13-12, 6-6 Ivy) faced off against Princeton (17-8, 8-4 Ivy) and Penn (16-11, 8-4 Ivy). Princeton handed Bruno a 78-67 loss, and Penn dominated, winning 90-69.
After Brown leapt to third in the Ivy League standings with a triumph over Cornell the previous weekend, Brown’s losses pushed them to fifth in the Ivy League rankings, one spot from qualifying for the Ivy League tournament.
“I don’t think what we saw this weekend is who we are, but we have to own that it is who we were this weekend,” said Head Coach Mike Martin ’04 in a post-game press conference. “I’m confident we will learn from it.”
It “wasn’t the week we (were) expecting to have, but a perfect opportunity is up ahead for us to bounce back,” wrote Aaron Cooley ’25 in a message to The Herald. “Last week we simply got outplayed, but we’re not a team that’ll let adversity keep our head low.”
Princeton 78, Brown 67
Cooley, Nana Owusu-Anane ’25, Kino Lilly Jr. ’25, Dan Friday ’24 and Paxson Wojcik ’23 started in the game against Princeton. Brown did not lead at any point in the game, scoring their first point down 6-0 in the fourth minute on a free throw by Friday.
With 8:15 left in the first half, Princeton led 25-14. Owusu-Anane snagged an offensive rebound — one of his seven of the game — leading to a dunk that would spark an 8-0 run for the Bears to make the score 25-22. But Princeton continued to pull away, finishing the half leading 39-29.
Princeton kept up their strong play to begin the second half, taking a 51-36 lead with 13:46 left on the clock. Kimo Ferrari ’24 and Felix Kloman ’24 combined for Bruno’s next nine points, cutting the deficit to 10 on a 9-4 run.
The Bears would inch as close as eight points, trailing 55-47 with eight minutes to play, but Princeton’s strong inside play allowed them to hold their lead, ultimately prevailing 78-67 over the Bears.
Owusu-Anane tallied 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Wojcik and Lilly Jr. scored 15 and 10 points, respectively. Bruno reached the charity stripe 34 times against Princeton, but their woes at the line continued as they went just 23-34 (67.6%) from the line. With a cumulative free-throw percentage of 62.53%, the Bears rank 347th out of 352 D-1 teams in free-throw percentage over the course of the season. Brown also shot 21-56 (37.5%) from the field and 2-16 (12.5%) from behind the arc against Princeton.
Penn 90, Brown 69
The following day, Brown fell to Penn 90-69. The Quakers, after beginning the game leading 9-0 — and holding Bruno scoreless for three minutes — led for the entirety of the contest.
“We weren’t as ready as we needed to be to compete at the level we needed to tonight and that falls on me as a head coach,” Martin said regarding Penn’s hot start. “I have to get these guys more ready to play at a higher level from the very beginning.”
Penn controlled the game on both ends of the court in the first half, leading by as much as 27 points. The two teams entered halftime with the score at 47-29 in Penn’s favor.
The Quakers took a game-high 34-point lead, 76-42, with 10:31 left in the match. Wojcik then hit back-to-back threes to spark a run that would bring Brown within 18, but the deficit proved too large to overcome, with Penn winning 90-69.
Wojcik, the Bears’ top scorer, tallied 24 points on 6-10 shooting (60%) and scored nine points of his 24 from the free-throw line. Perry Cowan ’23 contributed nine points and Owusu-Anane grabbed 15 rebounds along with three blocks.
The Bears shot 22-65 from the field (33.8%) and an impressive 12-27 (44.4%) from three-point range. With a 13-19 (68.4%) performance from the free-throw line, Bruno was able to raise its season-average free-throw percentage.
After dominating Cornell the previous weekend in front of a lively home crowd, the Bears struggled when playing on the road.
“Playing at home in front of a huge crowd is always great and allows us to feed off of the energy from our fans,” Wojcik wrote in a message to The Herald. “Road games are always tough, but I don’t think being on the road affected our play.”
“I think the difference between Cornell and this past week is that we had to find our own energy to get us going,” Cooley added. “If we want to get this last regular season road game against Columbia in the winner’s column, we’re going to have to shift the energy and level of focus that we play with.”
Brown faces off against Columbia in New York on Friday at 2 p.m. in its final road match and penultimate contest of the season. The game can be streamed on ESPN+.