On February 9, 1927, Maryland became the first visiting team ever to beat Penn at the Palestra, holding the Quakers to only 21 points for the entire game. Ironically, Maryland scored 21 points by itself in less than six minutes in a 21-1 run in the middle of the first half on Saturday night. It was this spurt that made it possible for the Terrapins to beat the Quakers, 73 years after their first victory over Penn. If the Quakers had been able to stop this run and hold Maryland in the first half, the team's magnificent play in the second half might have been good enough to pull off the upset. "As a team, we've been playing in spurts a little too much this year and that's what happened tonight," Penn captain Geoff Owens said. "We didn't play well in the first half and they exploited it because they are a good team." The Quakers actually started the first half well, scoring the first two points of the game and then trading baskets with the Terps for the first five minutes of the half. With Maryland up 9-7, Lamar Plummer came down the floor and drilled a three to put the Quakers up by a point. After a Juan Dixon turnover, Owens was able to penetrate into the lane and hit a layup, giving Penn a three-point lead. As play stopped for a media timeout, the Palestra faithful had visions of a huge upset and the Quakers' first win of the season. But then reality hit. And it hit hard. Dixon made a pair of free throws out of the timeout followed by a Plummer miss on the other end. Byron Mouton drove into the lane, scored the basket and was fouled. Mouton hit the foul shot in what were the first three points of a 19-point first half for the 6'6" junior. "We didn't have an answer for Mouton," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "I thought he made some really tough shots." After the Mouton free throw, Maryland put on a full-court press, causing Penn point guard Dave Klatsky to turn the ball over. After the turnover, Mouton converted another three-point play on a foul by Penn forward Josh Sanger. Seconds later, Mouton sunk a three-pointer for his ninth straight point. "I thought Mouton was incredible," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "He's really been a factor for us in the starting role." Mouton, however, was not the only Terp to light up the Quakers in the first half. Dixon showed why he was a pre-season All-American, scoring 12 points and going 5-of-5 from the charity stripe in the first session. Dixon's three-pointer followed by a fast break layup pushed Maryland's lead from seven to 12 with about 11 minutes to go until halftime. Mouton would go on to sink another three-pointer with 9:46 left, capping the blistering 21-1 run and putting the Terrapins up 30-13. When the Quakers finally put an end to the run with two Klatsky foul shots, Maryland kept its offensive machine rolling, leading by as much as 24 with 4:04 left in the half. The Terps went into the locker room with a seemingly comfortable 22-point lead. "It worked out well in the first half to get the lead to where we had it," Williams said. "We played very well in the first half and it wasn't Penn not playing. That's about as good as we've played all year." Maryland's numbers in the first frame certainly echo Williams' sentiments. The Terps shot 51 percent from the field, hitting 7-of-11 three-point attempts. Conversely, the Quakers shot just 9-of-27 from the field and only 22 percent from three-point land. While the Quakers showed signs of brilliance in the second half against the No. 17 team in the country, for about seven minutes in the first half, Penn could not compete, and watched Maryland build a lead that would prove to be insurmountable.Comments powered by Disqus
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