PHILADELPHIA - Penn put four players in double figures Saturday night against Saint Joseph's and scored 74 points, about average for what the Quakers have been doing all season offensively.
The Quakers' problems came down at the other end.
The result was an 84-74 loss that, perhaps, was inevitable. The Penn players, who were involved in a pair of emotional Big 5 wins the last 10 days, simply looked like they ran out of gas as the game wore down to its conclusion. That allowed a Hawk team with size and athleticism to take advantage and gain the victory.
Playing in front of a capacity crowd of 8,722 at The Palestra, the teams looked like they might be heading for another down-to-the-wire finish, as the score was 50-46 in Saint Joseph's favor with 13 minutes to play. However, at that point the Hawks (12-8, 2-0 Big 5) scored on six consecutive possessions -- including four times where they missed the first shot but got the rebound and converted the putback -- and opened up a 62-51 lead. Penn (11-7, 2-2 Big 5) never got closer than five after that.
Brian Grandieri led the way for the Quakers, scoring a career-high 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field including a pair of three-pointers. He also had five rebounds. Mark Zoller scored 16 points, giving him 96 in four Big 5 games this season, and also snared six boards and had three assists. Ibrahim Jaaber scored 15 points, dished off eight assists and came up with three steals, while Steve Danley filled the box score with 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
For Saint Joseph's -- which had 18 second-chance points in the second half -- Pat Calathes was superb, scoring 23 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out six assists without a turnover. Ahmad Nivins had 19 points and eight boards, while Rob Ferguson and guard Darrin Govens had 15 points apiece.
The first half was a see-saw affair, with nine lead changes and four tie scores. That continued into the second half, and when Jaaber tipped in a missed Tommy McMahon jumper with 13:47 to play the score was 50-46, SJU.
Penn had a chance to get within two after that, but a missed layup turned really hurt when Govens came down and knocked down a jumper while being fouled by Jaaber. He missed the free throw, but Nivins collected the rebound and put it back to push the Hawks to an eight-point lead, 54-46.
Zoller knocked down a three-pointer, but SJU again rode the boards for a pair of putbacks, finishing the second one. A miss by Danley became a layup by Nivins, making the score 58-49. Then, after a layup by Grandieri (off a great feed from McMahon), Ferguson rebounded his own miss and scored, and then D.J. Rivera stole the inbounds and converted the layup to make the score 62-51.
Penn's best chance after that came with about three minutes to go. Down, 75-64, the Quakers got a jumper from Zoller, and then Jaaber picked Govens' pocket at center court and sailed in for the layup that made the score 75-68. Jaaber nearly got another steal after that, but Danley was able to collect one and Grandieri was fouled by Rivera. The Penn junior hit one of two free throws, and it was 75-69.
Ferguson missed a three-pointer, but of course SJU came up with the rebound and Calathes was fouled. He hit both, pushing the Hawks' lead back to eight, but Grandieri knocked down a triple to make it 77-72 with 1:50 to play.
Saint Joseph's worked the clock down, and it paid off when Calathes missed a three but was able to get his own rebound just ahead of Jaaber. He then found Nivins inside for the easy layup, and that seemed to end it.
Penn now concludes the season with 12 Ivy League games, starting next weekend when the Quakers travel to play Brown (Friday) and Yale (Saturday). The game with the Bears will start at 7 p.m., while the contest at Yale starts at 6 p.m.