PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania men's basketball team fell in its home opener Tuesday night, dropping an 82-57 decision to defending NCAA champion Villanova.
Penn drops to 2-3 with the loss, while the Wildcats -- ranked second in both national polls this week -- improves to 7-0.
Numbers of Note
*Sophomore Jackson Donahue led the way for Penn with 12 points, all on three-point shots. Donahue has scored a season-high 12 in each of the last two contests.
*Freshman AJ Brodeur finished with 10 points, his team-leading fourth double-digit game of the season.
*Junior Darnell Foreman joined Donahue and Brodeur in double digits with 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field. The junior also dished off a team-high five assists on the night.
*Penn grabbed a season-high 12 steals against the Wildcats, matching the most nabbed passes in the Donahue-era for the Quakers. Sophomore Max Rothschild led the way with a career-high five steals, the most by a Quaker this season and tied for the most by a Penn player in the Donahue era.
How it Happened
Villanova came out on fire Tuesday night, hitting its first six shots of the game and making five of its first eight field goals from behind the three-point line. Jackson Donahue paced the Quakers early, scoring two of his own from long range to help the Red and Blue keep pace through the first five minutes. Penn cut the Wildcat lead to five twice early, at 15-10 and again at 18-13, but the visitors used a 12-0 run to find the separation they sought.
Darnell Foreman was able to end the scoring drought for Penn with a layup, and the Red and Blue traded baskets with Nova for the next few minutes, first on an AJ Brodeur layup followed by a breakaway dunk from the freshman as he finished through contact for the and-one. However, the Wildcats closed the first half on a 9-5 run, first on a three-pointer and dunk from Josh Hart followed by two technical-foul free throws to head into the locker room up 44-25.
Donahue continued his success from behind the arc to start the second half, netting Penn's first six points after the break on his third and fourth three-point makes. The Cats could not be slowed down, however, as their lead swelled to 24 after the first media timeout of the second 20 minutes. Penn never got closer than 18 at any point in the second stanza.
Two-straight and-one opportunities for the Quakers helped the home team offensively midway through the second half, first from Matt Howard, followed by a jump shot make and foul from Foreman. Foreman would then answer a Kris Jenkins three with one of his own, the seventh of the evening for Penn. After a Nova layup, Jenkins would extend the Villanova lead to 25 on his fifth three of the night with over eight minutes left in the game.
Brodeur would enter double-digit scoring on a two-hand slam from Jake Silpe late in the game, his second dunk of the night, before the final buzzer rang with Penn losing 82-57.
Penn will play its second straight Big 5 contest, traveling to Temple's Liacouras Center on Saturday for a 4 p.m. tipoff against the Owls.