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Penn center Geoff Owens, left, scored 10 points, pulled down six rebounds and added two steals in a losing effort against St. Joseph's on Saturday. (Jennifer Jong/The Daily Pennsylvanian)

How do you stop Ugonna Onyekwe? Last year, St. Joseph's had no idea. This year, the Hawks had their answer -- junior forward Bill Phillips. A year ago, Onyekwe scored 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting in Penn's 68-65 win over St. Joe's. The Penn forward had five offensive rebounds, three blocks and basically gave the Hawks fits all night. But the outcome was quite different on Saturday night. With Phillips guarding him one-on-one for most of the game, Onyekwe's numbers -- 3-of-15 for six points and two rebounds -- were anemic. And, more importantly, St. Joe's was victorious this year. "I think [Onyekwe] is awful gifted," St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli said. "But Billy plays such a smart game that sometimes he doesn't get credit for how hard he plays. He's a hard-playing dude." And that hard play -- hard, clean play, for that matter, as Phillips was only tagged for one foul -- troubled Onyekwe all night. Granted, Onyekwe has been a lot more inconsistent this year. And his shot has often resembled Chris Dudley from the free-throw line. Sure, Onyekwe had some easy opportunities against Phillips. Sure, Onyekwe's shooting was as off the mark as it has ever been. But Phillips' defense facilitated those struggles. Two inches taller and 15 pounds heavier than his counterpart, Phillips prevented Onyekwe from getting position inside. And he didn't allow Onyekwe to get many good shots, shots last year's Ivy League Rookie of the Year could drain with any sort of regularity. In fact, of the three shots Onyekwe hit from the field, only one -- a turn-around hook in the first half -- went in cleanly. Onyekwe's other two shots rolled or bounced around in the cylinder before finally falling. It wasn't just defense, though. Phillips also prevented Onyekwe from grabbing his usual lion's share of boards. St. Joe's outrebounded Penn, 44-26, on Saturday night, and nowhere was that disparity more evident than at the power forward spot. Phillips had a dozen rebounds -- 10 more than Onyekwe. Other teams have tried to double-team Onyekwe in stretches this season, but on Saturday night, it was almost exclusively Phillips versus Onyekwe on the Penn side of the floor. "We end up leaving our inside guys almost one on one because we're so emphatic about the three-pointer," Martelli said. And right from the start, it was evident that Phillips had the better of his matchup with Onyekwe. Phillips forced Onyekwe to travel twice in the first four minutes, and after that, the Penn forward never really seemed comfortable. Phillips didn't have the same kind of matchup with Onyekwe on the other end of the floor, as the Quakers often played a 2-3 zone. But the St. Joe's forward was no less effective on offense. He scored 14 points and missed only one shot from the field. "[Phillips] is just a good player," Martelli said.

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