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Guard Andrew Toole had 11 turnovers in his first two games against Georgia Tech and Illinois. [Todd Savitz/DP File Photo]

Frank Williams and Corey Bradford must have been licking their chops on Thanksgiving Day.

Generally considered the best backcourt in the nation, the Illini duo was about to step on the same floor with a pair of guards who had started just two career games for the Quakers -- combined.

Williams and Bradford, meanwhile, had started a combined 162 collegiate games for Illinois.

It was a classic battle of David v. Goliath, big vs. little, old vs. young, experienced vs. inexperienced.

Throw in every adage you want, but be warned -- Andy Toole and Tim Begley weren't listening.

At halftime, Toole, Begley and the rest of the Quakers found themselves with a 11-point lead and a real shot at pulling off the monster upset over the Bradford-Williams-led Illini, the No. 2 team in the nation.

"I don't think we were that surprised," said Toole, a junior transfer and Penn's new starting point guard. "I think they were the ones that took us a little lightly and they were the ones that were surprised at halftime."

Begley, a true freshman and Penn's new starting shooting guard, agreed with his Christian Brothers Academy elder alumnus.

"A couple of minutes into the game, once we realized we could play with them, then you just treat them like any other team," Begley said.

Illinois did pull away in the second half to avoid the upset, but not before the Quakers made their way into the Vegas spotlight, proving they could indeed play with the big boys.

And Penn's brand-new backcourt was a big reason why.

But the numbers against Illinois weren't all that flattering. Toole scored eight points, while Begley chipped in three points and seven assists.

On the other side of the court, Williams, the 2000-01 Big Ten Player of the Year, burned the Quakers for 22 points and carried the Illini on his back for a good portion of the second half.

Four games into the season, the overall numbers of the Christian Brothers duo aren't quite on the Stockton-Hornacek level just yet, and Toole and Begley know it. But they also know that there is a lot of time to improve.

"I wish I could have played better than I did," said Toole, who turned the ball over 18 times to his 13 assists, not exactly a ratio point guards dream about. "There are definitely things I can improve on.

"But I kind of thought that might happen just because I'm getting acclimated to the team, getting back into the swing of things."

"Personally, I haven't been shooting the ball well," said Begley, who connected on 8-of-24 field goals in the four-game tourney. "But [Jeff Schiffner] and Toole, they've been picking it up. Once we get everyone going, we should be great."

Schiffner, the third guard in Penn's three-guard lineup, shot the Vegas lights out over the weekend.

In the first four games, the sophomore swingman, who was also seeing starting time for the first time, buried 10-of-19 from three-point range for an unconscious .538 percentage. Toole shot 8-of-18 from downtown.

In total, the three guards combined for nearly 30 points per game in Penn's first four contests and have complimented the dominating inside play of forwards Koko Archibong and Ugonna Onyekwe.

But both Toole and Begley are not at all satisfied with where the Quakers now stand.

"We're still hungry. We feel like we haven't proved anything yet," Begley said. "We got our name out there I guess a little bit. But we still lost. We're a 3-1 team right now, we're a normal team."

Hate to see what comes after normal.

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