PHILADELPHIA - Fordham jumped out to a nine-point lead on the Penn men's basketball team late in the first half of Saturday night's game at The Palestra. Penn had an answer for that.
Fordham then built up a double-digit lead at the midway point of the second half, and the Quakers -- playing for the second time in three nights -- had no response as the Rams ran away with a 77-60 victory.
Penn (5-4) lost for the second time in three games, despite another stellar night from senior guard Ibrahim Jaaber. He scored 18 points, led Penn for the third-straight game in rebounds (5) anddished off five assists. Defensively, he came up with three steals, which gives him 242 for his career and ties him with Harvard grad Andrew Gellert as the Ivy League's all-time leader in that category.
Mark Zoller had 14 points, but shot just 6-of-13 from the field -- far below his average of 59.3 percent -- while Steve Danley had 12 points. As a team, Penn had been shooting well lately, but on Saturday night the Quakers were 25-of-56 (44.6 percent) from the field and hit just 6-of-22 three-pointers (27.3 percent).
Fordham (5-3), which returned most of the cast that defeated Penn by 15 a year ago, was led by 21 points and eight rebounds from Bryant Dunston; he shot 7-of-11 from the field. Marcus Stout drained five three-pointers en route to 17 points and also had seven rebounds and seven assists, while Sebastian Greene added 14 points and Brenton Butler had 13 off the bench. As a team, the Rams were 28-of-55 (50.9 percent) from the field and a torrid 12-of-21 (57.1 percent) from beyond the arc.
The teams traded baskets through the first several minutes of the game, before a Tommy McMahon layup and Darren Smith trey pushed Penn out to a 17-11 lead. However, only another Smith trifecta offset an 11-point Fordham run that was keyed by a Greene three.
With the score tied at 25-25, Greene and Stout hit back-to-back threes, and then Stout and Chris Bethel knocked down shots from beyond the arc as Fordham gained a 39-30 lead with less than a minute to play in the half.
Penn got four of those points back before the break whenJaaber hit a jumper in the lane, and then got a steal and layup that just beat the buzzer. Then, out of the halftime, Penn started with the ball and got a layup from Michael Kach. Less than a minute later, Danley hit a three-pointer and the game was tied 39-39.
The teams traded five points each, before a Dunston three and a Bethel dunk put Fordham up 49-44. A Danley layup briefly quelled Fordham's momentum, but Dunston and Greene sandwiched layups around a Butler three to push the Rams' lead to double digits. In all, it was a 23-5 Fordham run that turned this tie game into a rout.
Penn is now off for 12 days due to the University's reading period and final exams. The next game will take place Thursday, Dec. 21 at The Palestra when the Quakers host the University of Illinois-Chicago.