CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The University of Pennsylvania fell to Delaware in the opening round of the NIT Season Tip-Off Monday night, 84-69. The game was played at the University of Virginia's John Paul Jones Arena.
With the loss, the Quakers (1-1) will play Fairfield in Tuesday's second round at 4:30 p.m.; the Stags fell to the host Cavaliers in Monday's first game, 54-45. (In addition, both teams are now guaranteed to move into the consolation bracket next Monday and Tuesday at sites to be determined.) Delaware (1-1) -- picked by many to finish second in the Colonial Athletic Association this year, behind Drexel -- will meet Virginia in the final at 7 p.m., with the winner of that game moving on to the semifinal round at New York City's Madison Square Garden next Wednesday. The loser will be drawn into a Monday/Tuesday consolation bracket.
Penn's game on Tuesday will not be televised, and the only way Quaker fans can hear it will be via the Internet at PennAthletics.com.
The first half was an even affair most of the way, before Delaware's pressing defense eventually got to Penn's youthful guards. The Blue Hens used an eight-point run to turn a 31-30 deficit into a 38-31 lead, all of the points coming from the foul line. The lead hit double digits once, at 43-33, before a Fran Dougherty layup made it an eight-point game at the break.
For the second game in a row, Head Coach Jerome Allen used all 12 players who dressed in the first half, including Jamal Lewis who made his collegiate debut. Camryn Crocker was unable to play on Monday night with a shoulder injury.
The second half did not start well for Penn, and that may have been where the game was lost. Delaware scored five points in the first 74 seconds, and the score was 50-35 before the Quakers finally got on the board thanks to a Cartwright free throw. However, the Blue Hens kept pushing and pressing, and they scored 12 of the next 14 points to go up by 24, at 62-38. Penn's only bucket in the run was a beauty, as Tony Hicks fed a driving Darien Nelson-Henry on the fast break and the big man collected it for a sweet layin.
Coming off an historic comeback on Friday night, Penn once again proved to have some resolve on this night. At 64-40, the Quakers scored six straight to get inside 20, and then after the Blue Hens went back out to a 23-point lead (73-50) they went on a 15-1 run that got them within single digits at 74-65. Dougherty was the catalyst, hitting a pair of three-pointers among his 10 points in the run.
With more than three minutes left, the Penn fans in the crowd were having visions of another stunning comeback. When Jamelle Hagins turned the ball over, they really got vocal. However, at the other end, Dougherty threw an ill-advised pass that was stolen by Jarvis Threatt. He was fouled going in for the layup by Miles Cartwright, which fouled the junior out of the game. Threatt made the free throws, and that set Delaware off on a 10-4 run in the final minutes.
Dougherty ended the game with a career-high 21 points (14 of them in the second half) and led Penn with six rebounds, while Cartwright had 20 (16 in the first half) to go with five assists.
For Delaware, Devon Saddler led four players in double figures with 19 points, while Josh Brinkley nearly had a double-double (15 points, nine rebounds). Terrell Rogers finished with 14 points, while Threatt had 12.
Delaware outrebounded Penn by a staggering 47-24, and had 23 second-chance points to eight for the Quakers. In a game that featured 55 fouls -- Penn had three players disqualified via the foul route -- the Hens were 28-of-38 from the foul line while the Quakers were just 18-of-29.
Game Notes: Penn wore red uniforms for the first time since March 7, 2006, a 60-59 overtime loss at Princeton ... Penn fell to 18-5 all-time against Delaware, and 39-15 all-time against programs that currently compete in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA); the Quakers face another CAA team on Saturday, hosting preseason favorite Drexel ... For the second time in as many games, head coach Jerome Allen played everyone who dressed in the first half; nine different Penn players scored in the game ... Penn forced 18 turnovers and had 10 steals; in two games so far this year, they have forced 42 turnovers and come up with 22 steals ... Delaware collected 47 rebounds, matching an opponent high in the Allen coaching era (previously set by Duke on Jan. 1, 2012) ... Junior Fran Dougherty had a career-high 21 points (previous high 14, set last year vs. La Salle) ... Dougherty went 1-of-5 from the foul line in the first half, then went 6-of-6 at the charity stripe in the second half ... Dougherty also led Penn with six rebounds ... Junior Miles Cartwright had 20 points, his second straight 20-point outing ... Sixteen of Cartwright's 20 points came in the first half, while 14 of Dougherty's 21 points came in the second half ... After missing the season opener, freshman Jamal Lewis made his collegiate debut, playing 29 minutes at the point and finishing the game with four points, two assists (without a turnover) and three steals before fouling out.