PHILADELPHIA - A slow start by the University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team proved fatal on Saturday. The Quakers fell behind by double digits before their game with Penn State was five minutes old and never recovered, ultimately losing 83-71 at The Palestra.
Penn (1-2) was down just 7-5 after two furious minutes, but while Penn State continued its relentless attack the Quakers went quiet. As a result, the Nittany Lions (2-1) scored the game’s next nine points to go up by 11 with 15:46 still left in the first half.
Another killer PSU run began before the midway point of the period, a 12-point Nittany Lion streak that covered nearly four minutes and turned this game into a rout. Miles Jackson-Cartwright ended PSU’s run with a pair of free throws, but it only made the score 37-20. Penn State responded with 10 of the next 12 points -- the punctuation on a 22-4 run -- that made the score 47-22. The half ended with the score 47-24 in the Nittany Lions’ favor.
Penn came out of the locker room with some life, allowing PSU the first bucket of the stanza but then reeling off 10 points in a row to make the score 49-34. The Quakers never really threatened the Lions, however, as the closest they got was 12 points on three separate occasions.
The best chance Penn had at momentum was probably with a little over four minutes to play, the score 73-61, and the ball in Patrick Lucas-Perry’s hands. The junior was Penn’s top three-point shooter a year ago, and is always a threat from behind the arc. He missed this time, though, and PSU got the board. Tim Frazier, who missed this game last year to injury but was an absolute monster on Saturday, hit two foul shots at the other end. Then Fran Dougherty missed both ends of two free throws, and Frazier got a layup to make it 77-61.
Penn was led by Darien Nelson-Henry, who had a career-high 21 points including an 11-for-11 performance at the foul line. Dougherty and Tony Hicks had 14 points, while Jackson-Cartwright (6 points) led the Quakers with five assists.
For Penn State, Frazier finished the game with 29 points and seven assists. His backcourt mate, D.J. Newbill, had 19 points, while Ross Travis had six points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.
Penn is off for nearly the entire week, before heading to Iowa City, Iowa to face its second-straight Big Ten Conference opponent, the University of Iowa. The game will pit Penn senior Dau Jok against his younger brother, Hawkeye freshman Peter Jok, and of course Iowa is coached by former Penn basketball player Fran McCaffery.
Game Notes: Penn lost to Penn State for the eighth time in the last nine meetings … for the first time this season, Penn shot a worse percentage from the field than its opponent … Penn shot 40 foul shots, a team high in the Jerome Allen coaching era … Penn had fewer turnovers than its opponent for the second time this season; the Quakers are 0-2 in such games (1-0 when committing more turnovers) … Sophomore Darien Nelson-Henry scored 21 points, a career high … He is the third different player to lead Penn in scoring in a game this season, and the third to score at least 20 points in a game … Nelson-Henry went 11-of-11 at the foul line, the best performance by a Penn player at the charity stripe since Zack Rosen went 12-of-12 against Delaware on Dec. 7, 2011 … Senior Fran Dougherty had his first double-figure scoring game of 2013-14 on Saturday, with 14 points … Dougherty also tied a career high with two assists … Sophomore Tony Hicks also scored 14 points; he and Nelson-Henry are the only players to hit double figures in scoring in each of Penn’s first three games this season … Freshman Dylan Jones had a season/career high with five points.