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Senior forward Ugonna Onyekwe led the Quakers past Villanova with his 22 point, nine rebound performance. His defense on 'Nova's Ricky Wright was also important in the 72-58 win. [Avi Berkowitz/The Daily Pennsylvanian]

After pedestrian offensive performances in its two losses of the season, the Penn men's basketball team has the hot hand.

"When we shoot it, we're a pretty good basketball team," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said.

The Quakers (3-2) ran their Big 5 record to 2-0 with a convincing 72-58 win over Villanova Tuesday night. The city rivalry was fittingly played out in front of a crowd of 12,052 at the First Union Center.

The players "think [that] the Big 5 is a very important part of what they do," Dunphy said. "And they have an opportunity to come to a facility like this where they watch the Sixers play all the time, and they were excited about that."

Excitement turned into results as Penn's sharpshooters dropped 11 three-pointers in the game, finishing at a .500 clip from deep.

The early establishment of the inside game by the Red and Blue's key big men -- Ugonna Onyekwe and Koko Archibong -- prefaced the success of the outside game.

The pair of senior forwards scored Penn's first 16 points, forcing the Wildcats to choose between guarding the low-post and the perimeter.

"Believe it or not, we were trying to take away those threes and I think that's partly responsible for Ugonna scoring like he did," Villanova coach Jay Wright said.

Onyekwe led all scorers with his season-high 22 points and also pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.

His exclamation point dunk midway through the first half tied the game up, and he put the Quakers ahead for good on the next possession with his second three-pointer of the game, pushing the score to 16-15.

Onyekwe primed the pump with his two early threes, but Penn guard junior Jeff Schiffner took over from there.

The junior was deadly accurate from downtown, sinking five-of-seven three-point attempts on his way to a season-best 19 points.

Ball movement was a key for the Quakers as they alternated between the low-post, long jumpers, and drives to the basket.

"I think we also compliment the guys on the inside pretty well," Penn guard senior Andrew Toole said.

"We just kind of know how to get the ball around the perimeter and find that open shot by making extra passes, setting good screens, calling the right sets and stuff like that."

Dunphy shook up the backcourt lineup against the Wildcats by giving junior Charlie Copp his first start.

Copp replaced sophomore Tim Begley, who played 12 minutes off the bench and joined the three-point barrage by connecting on his only attempt from the field.

Senior David Klatsky, coming off an 18-point performance against Temple, contributed off the bench to lead the team with six assists.

While the Quakers offense was firing on all cylinders, Villanova had a difficult time establishing a consistent attack after the opening stages of the game

The Wildcats' big men had their way early on, which put Penn behind early and forced it into foul trouble.

Freshman center Jason Fraser established an early presence in the paint with six first-half points, including a monstrous dunk to answer Onyekwe's slam.

"We guarded well. We took a chance on doubling their post position guys and got hurt early," Dunphy said. "I thought we did a better job in the second half of doubling down -- they didn't seem to hurt us quite as much."

The one Wildcat who was able to put consistent offensive pressure on the Red and Blue was senior forward Ricky Wright.

After his 21 point, 12-rebound performance against La Salle at the Palestra, Wright was an obvious target for the Penn defense.

He managed 15 points and eight rebounds on Tuesday, but he struggled to get open shots in the face of Penn's constant double-teams.

"They just did a great job of doubling Rick. They were very confident in their game plan, offensively and defensively," coach Wright said.

"They doubled big on big, and they did it hard, they rotated well. I think they took him out of his touches and forced other people to make plays."

Despite the players' excitement to play in an NBA facility, Penn fans were not quite as happy with the accomadations. The Red and Blue faithful came out in force for the Big 5 contest, but it wouldn't have been made evident by looking around the first level of the arena.

Penn student ticket seats, including the section for the band, were located in the far reaches of the second level.

Students who attempted to move down to the first level during halftime were stopped by security.

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