PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Glen Miller’s return to Brown was devoid of much drama, both on and off the court Friday night, as the Penn men’s basketball team rolled to a 77-61 victory at the Pizzitola Sports Center.
The Quakers (12-7, 3-0 Ivy League) jumped out to a double-digit lead quickly and never looked back. Brown (6-14, 1-4) never got closer than 11 points in the second half, as Penn had an answer whenever the Bears tried to get back into the game.
Friday’s subplot, of course, was a familiar one to the Penn players a coach returning to face his former team. Just 10 days ago, it was the Quakers’ former mentor, Fran Dunphy, returning to The Palestra for the first time after 17 years as Penn’s head coach. On Friday, it was Miller returning to “The Pitz” to face a Brown program that he headed for seven years before taking the Penn job last April.
Unlike last week’s extremely media-driven event, Friday’s game was relatively low-key, with no additional media and an indifferent crowd of 2,033. However, itseemed an appropriate place forMiller to reach amilestone victory -- Friday's winwas his200th as a collegiate head coach.
Offensively, the story for Penn was its effort from three-point land. The Quakers knocked down 12-of-20 treys on the night, a 60-percent clip. In addition, Penn outrebounded Brown, 37-21 -- in fact, the Quakers nearly matched the Bears' overall rebound total with 16 offensive boards.
Four players scored in double figures for Penn, led by Mark Zoller who scored 18 (16 in the first half alone). The senior forward also had seven rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Brian Grandieri chipped in with 17 points and five boards, and a huge lift came from sophomore Tommy McMahon who had a career-high 15 points and five boards. Ibrahim Jaaber was his usual steady self, scoring 12 points, snaring nine boards (which tied a career best) and dishing off seven assists with only one turnover.
For Brown, Mark McAndrew had 15 points and five rebounds, while Matt Mullery and Mark MacDonald had 10 points each.
The difference in the first half was Penn’s proficiency from three-point land. The Quakers were matched inside the arc by the Bears, as both teams hit from there nine times. However, Penn went 7-of-10 beyond the arc, compared to Brown which was just 1-of-11. As a result, the Quakers went into the locker room up, 41-26.
McMahon was evidence of Penn’s hot shooting. The sophomore entered Friday night’s game with just one double-figure scoring game in his collegiate career, but had 12 by halftime. He hit both of his trey attempts. Mark Zoller, meanwhile, was a perfect 3-of-3 beyond the arc and had 16 by the break. As a team, the Quakers displayed a solid passing game, with 13 assists on 16 buckets.
In the second half, Brown drew within 12 points with 15 minutes to play, but Grandieri scored off a nice feed from Zoller, and then after a jumper by Brown’s Damon Huffman Jaaber knocked down a trey.
Later on, Brown was able to get within 11 points (63-52) with eight minutes left, but Jaaber again knocked down an open three-pointer, and then Darren Smith scored off a feed from Jaaber that seemed to break the Bears.
Penn will continue this Ivy weekend Saturday night at Yale. Tipoff for that contest is 6 p.m. at the John J. Lee Amphitheater in New Haven, Conn.