PHILADELPHIA - The Quakers got a career-high 24 points from Jack Eggleston, including 15 in the second half as they took down defending Ivy Champion Cornell, 79-64 at the Palestra on Friday night.
The Red and Blue shot a season-high 56 percent from the field, including 11-21 from downtown to clinch the upset over the 22nd ranked Big Red as the team virtually led from start to finish.
Sophomore Zack Rosen showed why he is one of the Ivy League's top players, shooting 6-12 on his way to 22 points, five assists, three steals and just one turnover. The Penn defense held Cornell to just 33 percent shooting in the second half and limited big man Jeff Foote to just three second-half points.
Penn opened the game determined to avoid the early deficits which had plagued them in the past, playing the Big Red to a 4-4 tie over the game's first four minutes.
A Darren Smith fast break layup broke the tie and following a Foote dunk the senior dialed up a three for the 9-6 lead. The two teams traded buckets over the next four minutes, before a jumper by Eggleston made it 16-13 with 11:01 left in the half.
Cornell wasn't going down quietly, as they scored seven straight to take a 20-16 lead over the next three and a half minutes. A triple by Rosen ended the run and brought Penn back within one.
The Big Red stretched their lead back to four, on a Chris Wroblewski three with 4:14 left, but Penn outscored Cornell 8-3 over the final minutes of the half, to go into the break with a 32-31 advantage.
In the second half, the Quakers came out firing, scoring the first ten points of the half, pushing their lead to 42-31 at the 15:34 mark, before a media timeout stopped the action. Eggleston had a hand in five of those points with a layup and a three, while sophomore Mike Howlett added a jumper and a Rob Belcore triple made up the remaining five.
Cornell was unable to regroup following the timeout and Penn took advantage, as Rosen hit two free throws and added a shot from behind the arc to extend the Red and Blue lead to 47-31 with 14:41 left.
Foote ended the scoring drought at the 14:09 mark for Cornell, making one of two freebies on an intentional foul call down low against Howlett. Ryan Wittman then ended the possession with a three to narrow the Quaker lead to 47-35.
Penn came up empty on its next possession and a pair of free throws by Louis Dale cut it to 47-37 with 13:44 remaining. However, Belcore answered the call, hitting a deep trey as the shot clock expired to push the lead back to 13.
An 8-2 run by the Big Red trimmed the lead to seven over the next two minutes, before a layup by senior Justin Reilly ended the run. Foote responded with a dunk on the next possession, however a three by Eggleston and a Reilly layup following a nice pump fake on Foote made it 59-47 with 8:40 left.
A 9-2 Cornell run once again cut the lead, this time to five with just under seven minutes left, however that would be as close as they would get as Penn showed its resiliency, scoring seven straight. Jon Jaques ended the run at the 4:01 mark, but the damage had been done as the Quaker lead stood at 68-58.
A twisting tip-in by Howlett pushed the Red and Blue advantage to 68-56 and four straight by Eggleston over the next minute and a half gave Penn an insurmountable 74-58 lead.
Wittman hit a three with 2:03 left, however that was the last gasp for the Big Red as Rosen hit five of seven free throws to ice the game.
Howlett came off the bench following an 11 game absence and contributed nine points and nine boards, including five on the offensive glass. Belcore added ten points, four rebounds, four steals and two assists.
Cornell seniors Ryan Wittman and Louis Dale had 16 points apiece to lead their team, but shot just 6-19 from downtown. Dale added eight assists and two steals.
Penn improves to 3-2 in the Ivy League with the victory and 4-15 overall. The Quakers return to action in the Palestra Saturday night when they host Columbia at 7 p.m.
Penn Game Notes: After starting the season 1-14, Penn has won three of its last four games ... The win was Penn's first over a ranked opponent since Nov. 23, 1998 (Cornell entered the game ranked 22nd in the latest USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll) ... The win snapped a four-game Cornell winning streak in the series between the Quakers and the Big Red ... Penn's 79-point output was its best since Jan. 6 (82 points at UMBC), a span of eight games, and its best in Ivy play since Feb. 28, 2009 (79 at Brown), a span of nine conference contests ... Penn's field goal and three-point totals Friday night (27, 11) were second-best this season -- the Quakers hit 29 field goals at Monmouth on December 12, and 13 treys at UMBC on January 6 ... Penn shot a season-best 56.3 percent from the field (27 of 48) and went 52.4 percent from beyond the arc which is the second-best this season (the Quakers went 54.2 percent at UMBC) ... Penn went 14 of 17 from the foul line, the fourth straight game over 80 percent and the 10th time in 11 games the Quakers have been 75 percent or better ... Penn outrebounded Cornell, 30-25, the fifth time in six games the Quakers have matched or bettered their opponent in that statistic ... Penn had an assist/turnover ratio above 1.00 for the first time since La Salle, a span of six games, and just the fifth time this season (18/12, a 1.50 ratio) ... Junior Jack Eggleston had a career-high 24 points (previous career best 19, set three times) and also set a new standard with four three-pointers (previous career best three, last year at UCF) ... When Eggleston was taken out in the game's final minute, it marked the first time he has been subbed out of an Ivy League game this season ... Sophomore Zack Rosen had 22 points, his sixth game with at least 20 points this season and his team-high 16th double-figure scoring contest ... Sophomore Rob Belcore had 10 points, his first double-figure scoring game since he had 12 at Navy on December 4, and set a new career high with four steals (also the team high for this season) ... Senior Darren Smith had eight points, his 11th time reaching that mark this season but the first so far in Ivy play ... Sophomore Dan Monckton was held scoreless for the first time since November 16 at Villanova, but tied a season/career best with four assists in 23 minutes ... Sophomore Mike Howlett saw his first action since December 12 at Monmouth -- he missed 11 games due to injury -- and contributed nine points and nine rebounds in 18 minutes. Five of his boards were on the offensive glass ... Senior Justin Reilly was 3-of-3 from the field last night, and has made eight consecutive field goals in the last three games; he is 12 of 13 (92.3 percent) from the field in Ivy play ... Junior Conor Turley, who made his 12th consecutive start last night, left the game early with a finger injury and is unavailable for tonight.