PHILADELPHIA -After a win to open the season, Penn had struggled in the second half of the previous two games, blowing a big lead late against Manhattan and letting Drexel pull away after giving the Dragons a good run through the first stanza.
It was quite the opposite on Tuesday night at The Palestra, as the Quakers used a strong secondperiod to overcome a seven-point halftime deficit and defeat Lafayette, 74-65.
With the win, Penn leveled its record at 2-2 on the young season. Lafayette fell to 1-4.
After falling behind to Lafayette at halftime, 36-29, Penn jumped on the Leopards right from the start in the second half. After allowing the Leopards to hit a three in answer to their initial two -- putting Lafayette up 39-31 -- the Quakers went on a seven-point run as Tyler Bernardini sandwiched a layup and a trey around an Andreas Schreiber dunk. Lafayette was able to get its lead back up to four, at 44-40, but Penn took its first lead since 24-23 when Miles Cartwright got in the lane for a layup.
The Leopards' Nick Petkovich knotted things at 45 with a free throw, but Penn scored the next nine points to burst out to a 54-45 lead. Rosen got things started with a pair of free throws, then his nice feed led to a Conor Turley dunk. Turley followed that with a conventional three-point play, and Rob Belcore ended the run with a jumper.
Penn was never threatened after that, cruising to the victory.
The Quakers used a balanced scoring attack, as four different players finished in double figures. Zack Rosen led the way with team highs in points (16), rebounds (8) and assists (6). Jack Eggleston finished with 12 points, while Schreiber and Bernardini had 10 apiece.
Lafayette was led by Jared Mintz, who had 18 points, and Ryan Willen who finished with 16 and a team-high six rebounds. Ben Wheeler had six assists.
Lafayette used hot shooting in the first half to take a seven-point lead into the break. The Leopards shot 65.2 percent from the field (15 of 23) and were a scorching 71.4 percent from beyond the arc (5 of 7). It was that distance shooting that put the visitors on their first run, a 10-2 streak that turned a 9-5 Penn lead into a 15-11 deficit. Lafayette's second run came late in the period and turned a 24-23 Penn lead into a 33-26 Lafayette advantage. Mintz finished the half with 10 points to lead the 'Pards, while Penn utilized a balanced attack but got five points, five rebounds and four assists from Rosen.
Penn's defense played a major role in the second half, as Lafayette shot just 32 percent and hit only three of its 12 three-point attempts. At the other end, the Quakers shot 66.7 percent from the field (16 of 24) and got to the line 17 times, making 12 of them.
Penn will be back in action Saturday, traveling to Pittsburgh to face the fifth-ranked Pitt Panthers at 7 p.m.
Download: Penn04 (Lafayette).pdf