PHILADELPHIA - In its final tune-up before the start of Ivy League play, the University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team used a dominant run at the end of the first half to put away Binghamton.
The final score was 80-45 at The Palestra, the Quakers’ largest win since an 84-44 win over Cornell -- coached at the time by Penn’s current first-year head coach, Steve Donahue -- on January 13, 2006.
Penn (6-7) made a few changes to its starting lineup on Saturday, as senior Darien Nelson-Henry sat for the first time this season. Whatever the reason, it worked -- a young, smaller lineup provided an immediate spark. With the scored tied at 5-5, Penn got three-point baskets from Jake Silpe, Sam Jones and Jackson Donahue. Those, combined with a layup by Nelson-Henry, put the Quakers in front 16-5.
Binghamton (3-10) got back within 19-14 with a little less than eight minutes left in the first half. As it turned out, the Bearcats would not score again for a stretch of 10 minutes, 21 seconds bridging into the second half. Penn took advantage, using a season-high 18-0 run the rest of the period to take a 37-14 lead into the locker room.
Binghamton would score the first points of the second half, but that wouldn’t come until the 17:32 mark of the period. Penn then reeled off the game’s next eight points to make the score 45-16, ending any thoughts of a Bearcats comeback.
Matt Howard scored 23 points, matching his season/career high, and knocked down a career-high five three-pointers. Donahue ended the game with 17 points, giving him 35 in the last two games, and knocked down four more treys. Antonio Woods, who missed much of Monday’s game at Villanova after suffering an injury during the contest, started on Saturday and had eight points, six assists and two steals in 31 minutes. Another spark was provided by Tyler Hamilton, who was one of the first players off the bench in this game and notched his first seven points of the season.
As a team, Penn hit 12 three-pointers, the most by the Quakers since they hit 12 in a 71-69 loss to Cornell on February 2, 2013.
Penn will host Princeton next Saturday at 4:30 p.m., in the Ivy League opener for both sides. That game will be televised live to a national audience on FOX Sports 1, and is preceded by the Penn and Princeton women, who will tip off at 1 p.m.