Men's Basketball Falls to Wagner, 71-65

Box Score (PDF)

PHILADELPHIA - You have to tip your hat to Wagner. The Penn men's basketball team tried over and over to gain control of Tuesday night's game with the Seahawks, and in fact the Quakers took the lead at different portions of the second half.

Wagner never blinked, though, and escaped The Palestra with the win, 71-65. So the Hawks are now 4-1 on the young season, while the Red and Blue are 3-2.

The first half was a relatively even affair most of the way, before Wagner went on an 11-2 run late that turned a 21-21 game into a nine-point Seahawk lead. With Latif Rivers leading the way, the Hawks lead was still nine at the break even after Zack Rosen went the length of the floor and hit a floater from the right side. Penn had a balanced attack in the opening 20 minutes, with eight different players scoring and none going for more than six.

Penn got after it to start the second half, scoring nine of the first 11 points to cut Wagner's lead to two (39-37) and forcing the Seahawks into a timeout. That briefly stemmed the tide, but out of the first media timeout Bernardini hit a pair of free throws. A few possessions after that, Rosen hit a jumper in the lane to put Penn up 41-40, its first lead since 17-16.

Wagner answered. The Seahawks got active on the boards, and that led to seven straight points over a four-minute span as the Quakers could not buy a bucket. Rosen finally ended the scoring drought, hitting both sides of a 1-and-1 with 9:47 left to make it 47-43, then drained what is becoming a trademark three-pointer that cut the lead to one.

Wagner again responded. This time Williams drove the lane and hit a layup from distance as he was fouled. He made the foul shot, and the lead was back up to four at the third media timeout. Out of that timeout, Rosen found Bernardini on the right wing and the senior hit his first trey of the game to make it 50-49. Penn then got a defensive stop, and once again Rosen gave the Quakers the lead with a jumper just outside the lane.

Rivers put the Seahawks back up with a contested three from distance, but Rob Belcore tied it at 53 with just under six minutes left when he made a nice move to the bucket for a layup. Orlando Parker immediately scored a layup to put Wagner back on top, but Henry Brooks got his first points of the night when he battled for a rebound off a missed free throw by Bernardini and was rewarded with the ball for an open layup.

Penn had a chance to take the lead after another defensive stop, but Belcore's three-point attempt was off the mark. At the other end, Chris Martin drained a trey to make it 58-55.

Wagner never trailed again. Penn kept getting within a possession, but in the final minute Wagner knocked downsix straight free-throw attempts to keep the Quakers at bay.

Rosen had another standout game, finishing with 23 points -- 17 in the second half --and going a perfect 10-of-10 from the foul line. Tyler Bernardini scored 15 and also had four assists and three steals. For Wagner, Rivers finished the game with 18 points, while Murray had 14 and Martin scored 11. The ultimate difference on Tuesday night may have been the shooting from beyond the arc -- Penn was just 2-of-13, while Wagner was 7-of-11.

Penn is in action twice over the holiday weekend, concluding play in the Philly Hoop Group Classic at The Palestra. The Quakers will face No. 17/16 Pitt Friday night at 7 p.m., concluding a tripleheader, and then play James Madison Saturday at 7 p.m. to finish a doubleheader.

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Penn-Wagner Game Notes: Penn lost despite taking and making more foul shots than its opponent for the first time this season ... Penn made fewer three-point shots (2) than its opponent (7) for the first time this season ... Senior guard Zack Rosen scored a game-high 23 points -- 17 in the second half -- his third 20-point game this season and the 15th of his career ... Wagner's head coach, Dan Hurley, was Rosen's head coach in high school at St. Benedict's Prep ... Rosen shot 10-of-10 from the foul line, the best performance by a Penn player in the Jerome Allen coaching era ... Senior Rob Belcore set a career high with three blocked shots.

Download: Penn-Wagner Box.pdf