PHILADELPHIA - Things came pretty easily for the Penn men's basketball team early in Saturday's game with Howard.
Maybe a little too easily.
The Quakers shot out to a 9-0 lead in front of a partisan crowd at The Palestra, but that was about the only good news in a game they ended up losing, 80-65.
The game marked a victorious homecoming for Howard head coach Gil Jackson, who spent 16 seasons at Penn as an assistant coach with the Quakers under Fran Dunphy. Howard improved to 1-2 with the win, while Penn fell to 0-3.
Where did it go wrong? Well, start with Howard's Eugene Myatt, who had a huge night offensively with 36 points and five assists. He shot 13-of-17 from the field, including 5-of-5 from three-point land.
As a team, the Bison were simply on fire. They shot 28-of-49 overall (57.1 percent) and were not much behind that from beyond the arc, draining 12 of 22 bombs (54.5 percent). At the other end, Penn was a passable 44.4 from the field (24-of-54) but just 4-of-14 on treys (28.6 percent).
Brian Grandieri led Penn with 17 points and seven rebounds. He was the only Quaker in double figures.
Things looked good early on. Tyler Bernardini hit a layup in the paint, and then Andreas Schreiber got inside before Grandieri hit a jumper in the lane. When Bernardini knocked down a three-pointer, four minutes had gone by and it was 9-0.
Myatt changed that, hitting a pair of treys to make it 11-6, and that set Howard off on a 15-6 run that tied things up at 15-15. Only a few minutes later, the Bison got another trey from Myatt and took a 20-17 lead. They would not trail again.
Penn tied it one other time, at 24-24,when Jack Eggleston knocked down a layup with 6:11 left. However, Howard scored the game's next seven points to establish a comfortable lead, and took a 33-27 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
Penn hung around through the first half of the second stanza, and even cut the lead to two points (49-47) with 11:31 left when Michael Kach hit a layup, was fouled by Timothy Torrance, and made the foul shot.
Kandi Mukole hit a three-pointer to up Howard's lead to five, but Grandieri's layup made it a one-possession game again. The game got a little sloppy after that for the next handful of minutes, before Kyle Riley hit a trey for the Bison with 8:12 left. Schreiber responded with a dunk that made it 55-51, but on the ensuing Howard possession Myatt hit two free throws and then Whitemade a freebie to give the Bison a 58-51 lead.
Grandieri hit two free throws, but Myatt again had the answer, with a three-pointer, and that set the Bison off on a 13-4 run that made the score 71-57 and effectively ended the contest.
Penn is back in action Tuesday night, hosting The Citadel in the second half of a women's/men's basketball doubleheader at The Palestra. The women will tip off at 5:30 p.m., and the men are slated to go at approximately 8 p.m.