Villanova, Pa. - The University of Pennsylvania men's basketball team fell to Villanova, 74-64, on New Year's Eve at the Pavilion. Sophomore Ibrahim Jaaber led the Quakers with a career-high 22 points, while three other Quakers scored in double figures.
The Quakers (4-4, 1-2 Big Five) cut the lead to as little as five three times in the second half but the Wildcats (7-1, 2-1 Big Five), led by Curtis Sumpter’s 16 points, kept pulling away. With 10:15 on the clock, sophomore Ryan Pettinella snatched the ball from Jason Fraser, sparking a 9-2 run by the Quakers. During that run, Jaaber nailed two free throws, freshman David Whitehurst sank a three pointer, sophomores Steve Danley and Mark Zoller each added a basket from the charity strip and senior Eric Osmundson added a free throw and a lay-up to pull within 54-49 with 7:51 remaining. However, seven Penn fouls sent the Cats to the charity stripe where they hit 12-of-16 en route to their 10 point victory.
Although the Quakers never lead in the game, it remained close much of the first half. Villanova turned a three point lead with 8:42 remaining in the first stanza into an 11 point advantage heading into the locker room.
Four Quakers scored in double figures for the second time this season. Pettinella scored a career-high10 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the free throw line. Osmundson recorded his second-straight double-digit contest, adding 12 for the Red and Blue, while senior Jan Fikiel contributed 10 points.
Shooting troubles plagued both Penn (38.2 percent) and Nova (39.2 percent), as both teams shot under 40 percent from the field. The Wildcats dominated the Quakers on the glass, out rebounding Penn, 44-34.
The Quakers head to California for the second time in three years as they face San Francisco on Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. (PST).
Written by Heather Palmer, associate director of athletic communications.