VESTAL, N.Y. – The University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team defeated Binghamton Saturday afternoon at the Bearcats’ Events Center, 79-70. The larger story may have been the path the Quakers took to their second-straight road victory.
Penn (2-5) played almost the entire first half without leading scorer Tony Hicks, who was forced to the bench with two fouls less than two minutes into the game. Despite that, the Quakers led by as much as 11 in the opening period. Binghamton (1-8) was able to get back within three on a couple of occasions before the break, but the Quakers were up 40-34 at the break.
In the second half, Penn was unable to put Binghamton away; however, at the same time, whenever the Bearcats got within a possession the Quakers made the plays to keep their lead intact.
Penn had six players score in double figures on Saturday. Darien Nelson-Henry finished one rebound shy of his second-straight double-double, with 16 points and nine rebounds. The three freshmen in the rotation-- Antonio Woods, Darnell Foreman and Sam Jones-- all scored 11. Sophomore Matt Howard had 10.
And Hicks? He finally got on the scoresheet early in the second half, then quickly went to the bench with a third foul. When the junior guard came back into the game, he proceeded to score 16 points in the game’s final 11:16 to finish with a game-high 18 points.
The closest Binghamton got was 61-59 with 9:23 left in the second half, but Penn scored the next five points as Foreman drained a couple of free throws and Hicks knocked down a three-pointer.
Hicks answered a Willie Rodriguez three-pointer with another trey, but Dusan Perovic and Yosef Yacob had the next four points for the Bearcats which made it 69-66 with 5:36 left. Once again, Penn had the answer: Hicks drove for a layup, and then a Foreman steal led to a Nelson-Henry layup off a Hicks feed. The Red and Blue’s lead was back up to seven, 73-66, inside the final four minutes.
It was nearly three minutes before Penn scored again, but the Quakers locked down at the other end and so when Jones dropped in a jumper from the left elbow Penn’s lead was 75-68 with less than two to play. Hicks finished it off with four foul shots in the final minute.
Foreman also had eight rebounds, four assists and two steals in Saturday’s game, while Greg Louis had seven boards. As a team, Penn outrebounded Binghamton 43-30 and shot 51.0 percent from the field (26-51) including a season-high nine three-pointers
Binghamton was led by Rodriguez, who finished with a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds). Perovic led the Bearcats with 16 points, while Romello Walker added 12 points.
Penn is back at home on Tuesday night, hosting Marist at 8 p.m.; that game will be the second of a doubleheader, following the Penn-Saint Joseph’s women’s basketball game that will tip off at 5:30.
Game Notes: Penn won two in a row for the first time since February 7-8 of last season (Cornell, Columbia) … Penn has won two straight road games for the first time since February 24-25, 2012 (at Dartmouth, at Harvard) … Penn has won two straight non-conference road games for the first time since the 2006-07 season (January 6 at Elon, January 18 at La Salle) … Penn won in the red uniforms for the first time in the Jerome Allen coaching era; the Quakers were 0-10 in such games prior to Saturday … Penn never trailed or was tied in Saturday’s game … Penn scored 79 points, a season high … Penn was 26-of-51 from the field, the third time in five games the Quakers have shot better than 50 percent … Penn hit a season-high nine three-point baskets and shot a season-best 47.4 percent beyond the arc … For the third straight game, Penn made more foul shots than its opponent … Penn outrebounded its opponent for the fifth-straight game and the sixth time in seven contests … Penn’s +13 rebound margin was a season high … Penn had six different players score in double figures, a first in the Allen coaching era … Junior Tony Hicks scored 18 points and led Penn in scoring for the fifth time in seven games this season … All of Hicks’ points came in the second half, and 16 of them came in the final 11:16 … Junior Darien Nelson-Henry set a season high with 16 points, and finished one rebound shy of his second-straight double-double … Nelson-Henry led Penn in rebounding in the fourth-straight game and the fifth time this season … Freshman Darnell Foreman had his first double-figure scoring game at Penn, set season/career highs in points (11) and rebounds (8), and tied a season/career high with four assists … Freshman Sam Jones had his first collegiate double-figure scoring game with 11 points, and tied season/career highs in assists (3) and three-point field goals (3) … Jones has 14 field goals this season; 11 of them are three-pointers … Sophomore Matt Howard had his second double-figure scoring game at Penn, with 10 points, and set a season/career high with three assists … Freshman Antonio Woods tied his season/career high with 11 points … Senior Greg Louis tied a season high with seven rebounds.