Men's Basketball Tops Davidson, 69-64, in Season Opener

Box Score (PDF)/ Postgame Quotes

PHILADELPHIA - As Saturday night's season-opening game played on between the Penn and Davidson men's basketball teams, you felt like this was a game the Quakers needed to win. After a few years of injuries and youth and inexperience, there were almost exclusively juniors and seniors in the lineup throughout Saturday's game at The Palestra.

Not just juniors and seniors -- experienced juniors and seniors.

Well, Penn got the win, 69-64. It was Jerome Allen's first in the official capacity of John R. Rockwell Head Coach of Men's Basketball (he gained six last year as the interim head coach), and it was nice revenge from the 79-50 beating Penn took at Davidson last season in Allen's interim debut.

The juniors and seniors played a big role in Saturday's victory. However, the biggest role might have been played by a freshman.

Zack Rosen was called for a pair of fouls early in the first half, and immediately came to the bench. He didn't leave it until the second half started. He didn't need to.

Miles Cartwright introduced himself to the Penn community with arecord-setting debut. The first-year guard went for 18 points -- more than any freshman has ever scoredin a season openerfor Penn -- and addedthree steals and two assists in a dynamite first half.

In the second half, the veterans took over. Jack Eggleston finished with 11 of his 15 points and seven of his game-high 11 rebounds in the second stanza, while Rosen reminded everyone of his value with 13 second-half points en route to 16 in the game.

That said, the game wasn't decided until late. Nobody held more than a four-point lead throughout much of the second half, until Eggleston hit a big three-pointer that capped a five-point run and gave Penn a 63-57 lead with 2:20 left.

JP Kuhlman, one of the Southern Conference's Rookies of the Year last year -- Davidson had two of them, if you can believe that -- got one of the points back at the foul line with 1:50 left, but Rosen matched it with 1:19 to go. Clint Mann then cut the lead to four with 1:06 to play, setting the stage for arguably Penn's biggest possession of the night.

The Quakers wound the shot clock down, and just before its expiration Rob Belcore spun into the lane and laid the ball up. It missed, but Belcore grabbed his own rebound and was immediately fouled. Belcore kept it interesting, missing both free throws, but this time Tyler Bernardini -- remember him? -- leaped for the rebound. He was fouled, and by this time less than 25 seconds were on the clock. He made one.

Kuhlman quickly cut the deficit to three, but Eggleston was fouled out of a timeout and made both of his shots. He did the same thing a few seconds later, after a Tom Droney layup, and that was that.

Penn led by as many as 11, at 36-25 with just under four minutes remaining. Davidson scored 13 of the last 16 points in the stanza, though, punctuated at the final buzzer when Clint Mann drained a three-pointer on an inbounds play with just 0.5 left on the clock.

Rosen had early foul trouble and sat almost the entire half. His misfortune was freshman Cartwright's gain, however. In his first half as a collegian, Cartwright was 6-of-8 from the field (2-of-3 on treys) and made all four of his free throws.

Cartwright was the catalyst on a 20-5 Penn run that turned a 20-16 deficit into the 36-25 lead. His steal and layup gave the Quakers the lead at 21-20, and a personal nine-point run pushed the Red and Blue's 26-22 lead to 35-25.

In his first action in nearly a year, Bernardini had six first-half points and finished with seven, a number Belcore matched in the scoring column.

For Davidson, Brendan McKillop and Mann finished with 12 points apiece, while De'Mon Brooks had 11 and Jake Cohen added 10.

Penn returns to actionWednesday nightat Manhattan College. The Quakers and Jaspers will tip off at 7 p.m.

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Postgame Notes: Saturday's game had nine ties and 19 lead changes ... The win was Penn's first ina season opener since 2005-06 (82-77 over Siena) ... Penn avenged a 79-50 loss to Davidson from a year ago, and evened the series with the Wildcats at 5-5 ... Senior Jack Eggleston hadhisseventh collegiatedouble-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds ... All of his 11 boards came on the defensive glass ... Eggleston's 15-point effort was his 44th career double-figure scoring game ... Eggleston, who played the entire game,also established a career high with four blocked shots ... Junior Zack Rosen scored 16 points (13 in the second half), his 39th career double-digit scoring effort and 15th in a row dating back to last season ... Rosen has scored 10 or more points in 26 of Penn's last 27 games ... Freshman Miles Cartwright set a Penn freshman record by scoring 18 points in a season opener ... The last Penn player to score at least 18 points in their debut was Matt Maloney, who opened his Penn career with 22 points against Virginia on Nov. Dec. 1, 1992 as a sophomore after transferring from Vanderbilt University ... All ofCartwright's18 points came in the first half ... The last time a freshman led Penn in scoring in a season opener was Nov. 11, 1999, when Ugonna Onyekwe scored 14 points in the Quakers' 67-50 loss at Kentucky (he tied for team-high honors with Matt Langel) ... In his first action since last year's second game at Villanova, senior Tyler Bernardini had seven points (six in the first half) and three rebounds in 22 minutes ... Another senior who missed much of last year, Andreas Schreiber, got the start at center and played 10 minutes with two points and three boards ... Senior Dan Monckton, juniors Mike Howlett and Larry Loughery, and freshman Marin Kukoc did not dress for the game due to injury.

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