PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team started slow and never recovered on Wednesday night at The Palestra, falling to Monmouth 71-56.
Monmouth improved to 10-9 on the season, and has won five of its last seven. Penn fell to 4-10.
Monmouth jumped all over the Quakers from the start on Wednesday night, and but for a brief show of life midway through the first half Penn had no answer.
Monmouth’s lead was 10-2 less than four minutes into the contest, and it grew to 12 before the contest was seven minutes gone at 18-6. Matt Howard inspired an 8-2 run for the Quakers over a four-minute span, sandwiching a pair of three-point plays -- one beyond the arc, the other on a layup and foul shot -- around a Darien Nelson-Henry putback. That made the score 23-18 heading into a media timeout.
Out of that break, however, Justin Robinson hit a pair of three-point baskets to push Monmouth back up by 11, and then a Brice Kofane jumper made it 31-18.
Penn never got within single digits the rest of the half, and the period was punctuated by Monmouth’s Max DiLeo who knocked home a trey and then had a steal and a dunk in the final minute to make the score 42-23 at the break.
Monmouth was content to match points with Penn throughout much of the second half, never allowing the Quakers to get closer than 11 in the period.
Howard finished the game with 14 points, one shy of a career high, to lead Penn. Nelson-Henry finished the game with 12 points anda team-high sixrebounds.
For Monmouth, Deon Jones had 17 points while Stewart and DiLeo had 12 apiece.
Penn is back at home again on Saturday, closing out Big 5 play and its non-conference schedule with Saint Joseph’s. That game, which will tip off at 7 p.m., is an advanced sellout.
Game Notes: Penn tied Monmouth in rebounds; the Quakers have matched or beaten their opponent on the boards 12 times in 14 games this season … Monmouth’s 13-0 run bridging the halves was the biggest by an opponent this season … Penn’s 19-point deficit at the half was its largest this season … Monmouth set an opponent low this season by taking just 10 three-point shots … Sophomore Matt Howard scored 14 points, one shy of his season/career high … Howard has reached double figures in the scoring column in three of the last four games; four of the last six contests; and five of the last eight games … Howard became the sixth different Penn player to lead the team in scoring in a game this season (also Tony Hicks, Mike Auger, Darien Nelson-Henry, Sam Jones, Antonio Woods) … Nelson-Henry scored 12 points, his eighth double-figure scoring game this season … Nelson-Henry also led Penn in rebounding for the seventh time this season, with six boards … Woods set a season/career high with two steals and tied a season/career best with four assists … Senior Camryn Crocker knocked down a pair of three-pointers in the game, a first for the senior guard … Crocker’s six points were one shy of his career high … Hicks had eight points, giving him 911 for his career; he needs 89 to reach 1,000.
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