BRONX, N.Y. -- For a little more than a half Monday night, the University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team looked like it was going to be in a dogfight with Fordham as the Quakers went for their fourth-straight road win.
Over a four-minute span, however, The Rams made a run that Penn simply could not answer, and that spelled the difference in a 78-63 Fordham win at Rose Hill Gym.
Penn was up, 43-39, after Mark Zoller knocked down a layup with 16:24 to play in the contest. However, the Quakers would not score again until nearly 11 minutes remained in the game; in the meantime, Fordham ran off 12 unanswered points to take a 51-43 advantage.
Penn (6-5) tried to get back into it, as Ibrahim Jaaber came up with a pair of steals that led to layups by him and David Whitehurst. But Ram guard Jermaine Anderson, who had an outstanding night offensively (a game-high 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field), responded with jumpers on three-straight possessions and that stemmed the tide. Penn never got closer than nine points in the game’s final six minutes as Fordham (6-9) pulled away down the stretch to win for the third time in four games.
Jaaber led Penn in scoring for the ninth time this season with 18 points and added five steals, while Zoller came up with his first double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds (including eight on the offensive glass).
Perhaps the most deceiving stat of the night came on the offensive glass, as Penn had 16 compared to Fordham’s 13. However, the Rams missed just nine of 36 shots in the second half (eight field goals, one foul shot) and got the board on seven of them, leading to numerous second-chance points and keeping Penn at bay.
Zoller scored the Quakers’ first seven points Monday night, and then Jaaber went on a personal seven-point run midway through the stanza that turned a 12-11 deficit into an 18-12 lead. Brian Grandieri then finished a layup off a David Whitehurst pass, upping the lead to eight, before Anderson stanched the bleeding with a three-pointer. That started a brief Ram run that was quelled when Steve Danley got a conventional three-point play to make the score 27-20 Quakers.
A pair of Corey McRae treys instigated a 9-2 Fordham run that tied the game at 29 with 2:30 to play, but Penn freshman Tommy McMahon knocked down consecutive three-pointers that allowed the Quakers to go into the locker room at halftime up 35-32. McMahon finished the game with nine points on three trifectas.
That lead held through the first four minutes of the second half, before Fordham’s Marcus Stout hit a jumper and then Anderson scored a layup and was fouled by Jaaber. He made the free throw, giving Fordham a 44-43 lead. More than a minute passed before Bryant Dunston hit a pair of foul shots, and then on consecutive possessions Stout hit another jumper and McRae drained a three to push Fordham’s lead to 51-43.
Fordham shot a staggering 67 percent from the field in the second half, knocking down 16-of-24 shots, and went 11-of-12 from the foul line. By comparison, Penn was 13-of-38 from the field in the second half (including just 1-of-12 from beyond the arc).
Anderson was joined in double figures by Bryant Dunston, who had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Michael Binns and McCrae who had 12 apiece.
Penn is back in action Friday night, taking on Cornell in the Ivy League opener for both teams. That game begins at 7 p.m. and tips off a seven-game homestand for the Quakers, including three in four days Penn will play Columbia Saturday night and Lafayette Monday.