Men's Basketball Foiled by Monmouth, 80-75

Box Score (PDF)

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. -Throughout the second half of the Penn men's basketball game with Monmouth Saturday night, the Quakers seemed to be their own worst enemy as they fought to catch up to the Hawks. Penn would draw within three, but make a mistake that led to a Monmouth basket; the Quakers would get within two, then a rebound would be mishandled by two Penn players trying to get out of each other's way and end up in a Monmouth player's hands for a layup.

However, with just over two minutes to play, Zack Rosen knocked down a pair of free throws, ending a six-point Penn run that finally tied the game at 73-73.

Just when it seemed like Penn's Sisyphean task had been overcome, though, enter Monmouth's Whitney Coleman. On a night when he scored his 1,000th point as a collegian, the guard took a kickout on the left wing from James Hett and calmly swished a three-pointer. That was the dagger in what ended as an 80-75 Monmouth win.

Rosen and then Mike Howlett missed shots at the other end, and Penn could not capitalize on a Hawk turnover as Howlett was off on another jumper. Coleman closed out with four straight free throws down the stretch, giving him 20 points for the night and keeping Penn at bay in the final seconds.

Penn fell to 0-7 with the loss, while Monmouth improved to 3-7.

Monmouth got out to a quick start Saturday night, hitting its first nine shots in the game en route to a 19-10 lead that bulged to 11 (30-19) before Penn made its first run of the night. Dialing long-distance on several possessions, the Quakers went on a 15-3 run that put them in the lead at 34-33.

The teams traded points for a few possessions after that, but the half ended with Monmouth re-asserting control of the contest. While Penn was scoring just a pair of buckets over the final five minutes of the stanza -- a trey from Rosen and a dunk by Jack Eggleston -- the Hawks were getting to the foul line and making the most of those opportunities. When the half ended, MU was 16-of-21 from the charity stripe (compared to Penn's 0-for-2 at the other end) and the Hawks' lead was 50-41.

For Monmouth, Travis Taylor was dominant in the first half, using the paint for 16 points, while Coleman had 11 including the 1,000th point of his collegiate career. Penn, meanwhile, used a more balanced attack as three players had eight points and another had six.

It was still 56-43 early in the second half when Penn stretched a 16-4 run over a six-minute span to cut the Monmouth lead to one, at 60-59. The Quakers drained four three-pointers in the run, and punctuated it with a beautiful assist from Rob Belcore that led to an Eggleston dunk with 10:53 left.

More than a minute went by, with Penn missing three shots in one key possession before MU's Justin Sofman drained a trey. Howlett answered with a layup, and then Penn rebounded a Hawk miss with the chance to tie or take the lead. However, an outlet pass was stolen and led to a Monmouth layup at a 65-61 game.

Penn got back to 66-64, but Sofman hit another trey and then Travis Taylor knocked down a layup that made it 71-64. It was still 73-67 at the final media timeout, but out of that Howlett hit two foul shots and a layup and then a layup on the next possession, then Rosen followed with his free throws to finally tie things up.

Rosen had another strong offensive performance, knocked down five treys for the second time in three games and scoring a team-leading 23 points to go with six assists. Howlett finished with his third double-double this season (16 points, 10 rebounds), while Eggleston had 11 points, five boards and four assists. Belcore ended the night with a career-high nine assists and also had three steals.

For Monmouth, Taylor finished with a game-high 28 points and also had six rebounds and three steals, while Coleman added eight assists to his 20-point night.

Due to the University's final exam period, Penn is now off until December 28 when the Quakers travel to North Carolina to take on Davidson.

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Game Notes: Penn shot a season-best 46.0 percent from the field (29 of 63) ... For the third time in five games, the Quakers hit 10 three-pointers as a team ... Penn's 10-of-23 performance beyond the arc was a season-best, percentage-wise (43.5) ... Penn outrebounded its opponent (36-30) for the third time in five games ... Penn had 25 assists on its 29 baskets Saturday night ... Penn's 25 assists were the most by the Quakers in a game since Nov. 20, 2007 (30 vs. The Citadel) ... Sophomore Zack Rosen reached the 20-point mark for the second time this season ... Rosen has scored in double figures in five straight games (17.8 ppg) ... Rosen also reached six assists for the fourth time this season ... For the second time this season, Rosen hit five three-pointers; that is a Penn player high in the Glen Miller coaching era ... Sophomore Mike Howlett had his third double-double of the season, with 16 points and 10 rebounds ... Howlett has scored in double figures in four of the last five games (11.0 ppg) ... Junior Jack Eggleston scored 11 points, his fifth straight game in double digits and sixth this season ... Sophomore Rob Belcore had a high for a Penn player this year with nine assists and three steals ... Belcore's nine assists were the most by a Penn player since Rosen had nine last year at Harvard (Jan. 30) ... Senior Darren Smith matched a season and career high with three assists ... Junior Dan Monckton matched his career high with six rebounds ... Freshman Brian Fitzpatrick had a season-high eight points and four rebounds in 17 minutes of action ... Junior Zack Gordon scored his first points in a Penn uniform, hitting a layup with 11:23 left in the first half ... DNP-INJURY: Justin Reilly (every game this season), Tyler Bernardini (5th straight game), Andreas Schreiber (5th), Larry Loughery (3rd).

Download: Penn07 (@Monmouth).pdf