Box Score (PDF)
PHILADELPHIA - In a matchup that ended with 52 combined fouls between the combatants, Villanova outlasted Penn on Saturday night at The Palestra, 68-55. Miles Cartwright scored a game-high 16 for the Quakers, connecting on all 10 of his free throw attempts on the night.
Penn found itself in a deep hole early in the game, falling behind 14-2 in the opening five minutes of the contest as jumper after jumper found a way to go around and out. JayVaughn Pinkston and the Wildcats had no such trouble. The Villanova sophomore had seven quick points, five of which came at the charity stripe.
The contest was more than eight minutes old before Greg Louis knocked in a jumper from the top of the key for Penn's first field goal, cutting the Wildcat lead in half, 14-7. Back-to-back threes from Patrick Lucas-Perry and Cartwright extended the Quaker surge, slicing the deficit to three points at 20-17 as the clock ticked under eight minutes in the first half.
The remainder of the stanza largely became a free-throw battle as both teams entered the double bonus around the five-minute mark and the whistle continued to sound seemingly every time down the court.
The sequence that seemed to best sum up frustrations on the night for the Red and Blue came in the final minute before the break. After Steve Rennard knocked in a pair from the line, Villanova's lead was down to two, 29-27. A foul called on Darien Nelson-Henry gave Maurice Sutton two free throws, but the veteran Wildcat could only connect on one. A subsequent foul put Camryn Crocker on the line, but neither shot found its mark. Sutton made the Quakers pay with a layup plus the foul in the final 20 seconds of the period. Though he again was off the mark with the freebie, Villanova (5-4) battled for the offensive board and was rewarded with a Achraf Yacoubou trey with four seconds remaining to establish a comfortable 35-27 lead at the half.
After leading the way with 11 points in the first half, Penn (2-7) freed up Cartwright from behind the arc immediately to open the second 20 minutes. The junior knocked down the triple, and Henry Brooks followed with a face-up jumper from the wing to bring the Quakers back within three in the first two minutes of the second half. Held scoreless up to that point, James Bell responded with five quick points of his own to once again put Villanova in command, 40-32.
Brooks and Sutton traded buckets the next time down for either squad, but the Quakers came out of the first media timeout with a four-point blitz highlighted by a Louis three, bringing Penn within four, 42-38.
That would be as close as the Red and Blue would get the rest of the way as foul trouble continued to put its stamp on the game. Villanova righted the ship with a 13-5 stretch, scoring nine of those points from the charity stripe.
Rennard found the range on two straight trips for Penn with under five minutes remaining, but each three was negated by a bucket from Mouphtaou Yarou, keeping Villanova ahead by double-digits throughout the final minutes of the game.
Besides Penn's foul trouble, Villanova was aided in large part by a 40-28 edge on the boards, 15 on the offensive end of the floor. The Wildcats converted those second chances in 18 points.
Rennard was Penn's other contributor in double figures, scoring 12 on the night. Louis set a career best with eight points while Nelson-Henry matched his career-high with seven.
Penn is off until Dec. 21, when it faces Delaware in a rematch from the teams' NIT Season Tip-Off battle in November. The Quakers and Blue Hens get going from Newark beginning at 7 p.m.
Game Notes: Penn fell to 18-42 all-time against Villanova ... For the first time in the Jerome Allen coaching era, Penn was credited with an assist on every one of its baskets (13) ... That said, Penn's 13 field goals were a program low in the Allen era ... Penn hit more three-point baskets (7) than two-point baskets (6) ... Junior guard Miles Cartwright had 16 points, his sixth double-figure scoring game this season and 39th at Penn ... Cartwright led Penn in scoring for the third time this season ... Cartwright went 10-of-10 from the foul line, the best performance by a Penn player since Zack Rosen went 12-of-12 against Delaware almost exactly a year ago (Dec. 7, 2011) ... Cartwright has hit 18 straight foul shots over the last four games and is 40-of-43 (93.0 percent) over the last seven contests ... Junior guard Steve Rennard had 12 points, his first double-figure scoring game this season and third at Penn ... Rennard also tied a career high with three steals ... Junior forward Fran Dougherty was held to two points, his season low, but tied a season/career high with two assists ... For the first time this season, Dougherty did not lead Penn in rebounding; those honors were shared by Cartwright and freshman center Darien Nelson-Henry ... Nelson-Henry also tied a season/career high with seven points and set a new high with 21 minutes ... Sophomore forward Greg Louis set a season/career best with eight points and played 22 minutes, also a season/career high ... Freshman guard Jamal Lewis tied a season/career high with three assists.