PHILADELPHIA -- After Friday night's second-half performance in an 84-44 win against Cornell, the only question facing the University of Pennsylvania men's basketball team was what they would do for an encore Saturday night against Columbia.
Turned out they would do (almost) the exact same thing.
Just 24 hours after outscoring the Big Red, 19-0, to start the second half Friday night, the Quakers knocked down the first 16 points of the second half against the Lions Saturday night, turning a 37-22 halftime lead into a rout. Add those 16 points to the final 10 points of the first half -- also all scored by Penn -- and you have a 26-0 Quaker run overall.
It was a nice exclamation point to the 1,600th win in the program's history. Penn is just the eighth NCAA Division I program to reach the milestone, joining an elite group -- Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Duke, St. John’s, Syracuse and Temple.
The final score Saturday night was 87-55, but again it was a game in which the final score did not fully demonstrate Penn's dominance. Need proof? Consider that the Quakers' lead never went inside 30 points during the game's final 12:38, and it crested on a number of occasions at 37.
Mark Zoller led the Quakers (8-5, 2-0 Ivy League) with an outstanding performance. The junior forward scored a game-high 21 points, added four rebounds. Perhaps most impressive, he was 8-of-9 from the field (including 2-of-2 on three-pointers). Oh, and he did it in 21 minutes of action.
Ibrahim Jaaber had another smooth game, scoring 18 points (7-of-10 shooting, including 4-of-6 beyond the arc) with two assists and two more steals. Eric Osmundson had 15 points and four assists, while Steve Danley had 14 points, six rebounds and four dishes. For the second-straight night, 10 different Penn players scored as the Quakers shot 51.6 percent from the field and drained 12 trifectas.
For Columbia (7-8, 0-2), Justin Armstrong was the only player to reach double figures; he had 16 points.
What may have gotten lost in the shuffle of Penn's run was that this game was actually pretty tight with a little more than three minutes left in the first half. When Columbia's Kashif Sweet knocked down a layup, he extended a six-point Lion run that made the score just 27-22 in Penn's favor.
However, on Penn's ensuing possession Jaaber drained a three-pointer, and then Zoller rebounded a missed trey by Osmundson and later converted a three of his own on the possession. Danley and Osmundson then scored layups before the break, and the teams went into the locker room with the Quakers' lead suddenly 15.
The onslaught was only beginning.
Columbia's John Baumann missed a layup to start the second half, and Osmundson countered with a trey at the other end. He would hit twoof themin the run, while Danley knocked downsix points (including a three of his own, complete with foul shot for a four-point play) and Zoller and Jaaber scored once apiece. Columbianeeded nearly six minutes in the half before Armstrong hit a pair of free throws. In all, the Lions' scoring drought bridged the halves and covered a span of 9:09.
Penn's blitzessentially took any drama out of the contest, as both teams began going deep into the bench with more than 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Penn is back in action Monday night, hosting its third game in four nights when Lafayette comes to town. The Quakers and Leopards will tip off at 7 p.m.