PHILADELPHIA – A youthful and inexperienced University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team has had trouble dealing with prosperity in the early part of this season. The Quakers had no such trouble on Tuesday night at The Palestra, jumping out to a 20-point lead before the game was 15 minutes old and rolling past an undermanned Marist squad, 59-42.
Penn has now won three in a row for the first time since late in the 2011-12 season. Marist -- which played the game without its two top scorers, both of whom are injured -- fell to 1-8.
Penn simply dominated a majority of the first half, highlighted by a 14-point run that turned a 10-4 game into a 24-4 blowout. It was 35-14 at the break, the fewest first-half points by an opponent since Princeton scored just 13 in the first half of a game on February 14, 2006.
Sam Jones led Penn’s first-half charge, as he scored 10 points in a five-minute span midway through the period and had 13 by the break. Greg Louis was also a catalyst to the first-half blitz, and finished the period with 10 points and six rebounds.
The second half provided little in the way of drama, as Penn’s lead went below 20 points justtwice, at 37-18, and grew to as much sa 28 (59-31) before Marist scored the game's final 11 points in the last three minutes.
Jones finished the game with 19 points, going 5-of-6 on three-point baskets, while Louis nearly had a double-double with 13 points and nine boards. K.J. Lee was the only Marist player to score in double figures, he had 15 points.
With the start of fall-term exams later this week, Penn's next game is notuntil Monday, Dec. 22; the Quakers will be at Vanderbilt that night, tipping off with the Commodores at 7 p.m. Nashville time (8 p.m. Eastern).
Game Notes: Penn has won three in a row for the first time since the Quakers won seven in a row near the end of the 2011-12 season … Penn has won three non-conference games in a row for the first time since winning four such games near the start of the 2006-07 season … Penn has led for all but 2:34 in the last three games, and has not trailed in its last 109:17 of game action … Marist scored 42 points, the fewest by an opponent in a game since NJIT scored just 40 on January 17, 2009 … Penn is 8-0 when holding its opponent under 50 points in the Jerome Allen coaching era … Marist set opponent lows in the Allen coaching era in first-half points (14), field goals made (11), and field-goal percentage (21.2) … For the first time this season, Penn (a) made more three-point field goals than its opponent (6-4) and (b) committed fewer turnovers than its opponent (20-21) … Penn outrebounded Marist 45-31, the seventh time in eight games the Quakers have outboarded their opponent this season ... The 45 rebounds were one shy of the team high in the Allen coaching era, while the +14 rebound margin was a season high… Freshman Sam Jones had 19 points, setting a season/career high in that category for the second-straight game; it was Jones’ second collegiate double-figure scoring game … Jones also set a season/career high with five three-point baskets, and tied season/career bests in rebounds (4) and steals (2) … Jones tied a Penn player high in the Allen coaching era by going 5-of-6 (83.3 percent) from beyond the arc in the game … Jones is the fourth different player to lead Penn in scoring in a game this season (also Tony Hicks, Mike Auger, Darien Nelson-Henry) … Senior Greg Louis nearly had his first double-double this season with 13 points and nine rebounds, both season highs; he tied for game-high honors in rebounds with teammate Nelson-Henry … This was the third double-figure scoring game of Louis’ career, and his first since he scored 10 points against Lafayette on January 8, 2013 … Louis also tied a career high with two steals … Sophomore Matt Howard set a season/career high in assists (4) and tied a season/career best in rebounds (6) … Nelson-Henry tied a career high with three steals … Senior Camryn Crocker tied a season high with two rebounds … Sophomore Matt Poplawski, a walk-on from the men’s soccer team, played eight minutes; that matches the total minutes he had played in his career prior to tonight … Senior Matt Hanessian, a walk-on who played the last three years on the JV program, scored his first varsity points tonight on a first-half basket.