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LAIE, Hawaii - For once, Penn got to know what it feels like to be Duke. The Quakers are certainly familiar with the top-ranked Blue Devils having faced them as 20-point underdogs on Dec. 7. Saturday against Divison-II Brigham Young-Hawaii, the tables were turned. It was Penn expected to do the routing. In the final game played in 2005, things didn't go according to plan. Like the Quakers did in North Carolina, the red and white clad underdogs gave the favorites a game before finally succumbing, 72-62, just as the new year was rang in on the East Coast. The Quakers (5-4) opened strong jumping out to an 11-3 lead and holding BYU-Hawaii to a lone three for the first eight minutes. Then play denigrated and became more choppy as the officials got involved. Penn was charged with 17 fouls in the first half, including a technical on sophomore Brian Grandieri. Those fouls gave the Seasiders (3-5, 0-2 Pacific West) 20 free throw attempts in the first frame of which they converted 14. That was half the offensive effort, and kept BYUH within six at the break, 34-28. Then what started out as mildly ugly got plain disgusting. The fouls started to pile up, and midway through the second half, the Quakers began playing down to their opponent's level. By the time it was over, juniors Mark Zoller and Steve Danley had fouled out and the Seasiders had taken 35 free throws (26 makes). Penn attempted just 18, connecting on 12. "It was a fractured game because of all the fouling," said Penn coach Fran Dunphy. "There's not a good flow to the game, but you have to battle through it some time."

The Seasiders grabbed the lead on a three from junior Eric Boyce off a Penn turnover. Out of a timeout, the Quakers turned the ball over on three straight possessions, and BYUH opened a six-point edge, 45-39 with 14 minutes to play. Eric Osmundson's three from the left wing snatched the lead back 51-50 with 9:30 on the clock. "We found the resolve to get the lead back," said Dunphy, who probably didn't expect that to be an issue, but nonetheless felt it would be a battle going in. Osmundson's desperation three at the shot-clock buzzer put the game out of reach, 70-61, with 96 seconds to play. The 6-5 guard finished with nine points. Sophomore David Whitehurst added 13 points in 29 minutes off the bench. Penn needed all 40 minutes from junior Ibrahim Jaaber, who kept the team steady on the defensive end and poured in 17 points. "In a game like this, anything can happen, so you have to be prepared for it," Jaaber said. So how prepared were the Quakers? Not really, but that may not be a bad thing. "We knew very little about them, and it helped us because we want to work on adapting during the game," Jaaber said. "We didn't know what we were getting in to, and we knew that effort had to be the number one thing or we wouldn't come out with a victory." This looked to be a good preview of what to expect when Penn takes on teams from the Ivy League cellar, turned into a knock-down-drag-out fight. What should have been a good opportunity to get minutes for some of the Quakers' freshmen saw the starters play nearly the entire game. Tommy McMahon and Brennan Votel got into the game in the first half, but that was about it. Penn's only real bench play came from Grandieri who had nine points in 22 minutes. But while the Quakers were looking ahead to the long flight home - the team went from the game to the airport for a red-eye journey back to Philadelphia - the hosts came to play, and expected to win. "We felt we could compete with people (D-I caliber) if we play hard," BYUH coach Ken Wagner said. "We rebounded the ball well, but defensively they created some problems for us." Some of those problems were 22 turnovers to go against just eight assists. Penn meanwhile kept things under control, turning the ball over just seven times, but losing the rebounding battle 37-27. The Quakers played about 32 minutes of fundamentally sound basketball, something Hawaii coach Riley Wallace commended Penn for Thursday night. "They don't make many mistakes and that's what makes them successful," Wallace said after Penn caught his team napping to the tune of a 58-55 home-court loss. For BYU-Hawaii, this game was big time, and the team played like it. Penn is the only D-I opponent the Seasiders will face all season. Last year they played Louisville here, where the accommodations were a little more humble than the Quakers experienced Thursday night in Honolulu. The Cannon Activities Center, which would rank near the top among Ivy League venues, saw only about 150 of its 4,500 seats filled. That included about four dozen Penn fans who provided nearly all the energy, such as it was. It was quiet enough to hear the officials bark out the fouls, something you would never hear at the Palestra. It's also a different brand of basketball at this level. For one, the media timeouts Penn fans are used to every four minutes arrive at the 15, 10 and 5 minute marks. More noticeably, though, the officiating crew was less than stellar, making ticky-tack calls at both ends of the floor, and allowing enough traveling to almost equal Penn's frequent flyer miles for the trip. The stripes also allowed Grandieri to shoot the front of a one-and-one, then blew a whistle, talked it over, waved it off and had him shoot twice more. The 6-4 guard made all three shots. Those are the sort of things you write off from a game like this. Worth noting, however, is the continued defensive strength Penn has exhibited over the past four games. The Seasiders came in averaging 76.9 points per contest and were held to 62. They shot the ball at a 48.5 percent clip; Penn cut that to 37.5. "They really do play excellent defense and get after it," Wagner said. The Seasiders' Austin Smylie, who leads the team with 21.1 points per game had 15. Teammate Wu Tai-hao also had 15, most of which were banked in from high on the glass. Grandieri was a big part of that defense, harassing BYUH's ball handlers and coming away with four steals. "He was right were he needed to be all the time," Dunphy said, noting the importance of keeping the effort up for the entire game. "We just made them pretty uncomfortable," Grandieri said. "We tried to minimize touches in the post." More than anything, playing a team on Penn's level was a learning experience. "We can only learn from it," Wagner said. "We don't see too many teams get after us like that during the year that double and switch and do such a nice job of rotation." For Penn, too this was a learning experience. "We have to take it for what it's worth and learn something from it," Grandieri said. The lesson: Even when you least expect it, a team can play you tough, no matter who they are. A lesson best learned early in the season before the Dartmouths and the Browns of the world come to town. NOTES: Penn committed a season-high 27 fouls against the Seasiders. The last time Penn had more than that was 29 last season against Wisconsin. * This was Penn's last game against a non-Division-I opponent since defeating Haverford 114-73 at the Palestra in 1993. Penn coach Fran Dunphy is now 2-0 against lower-division teams. * Penn is now 4-4 in games away from the Mainland United States. The Quakers went 1-2 in the 1974 Rainbow Classic in Honolulu and 1-2 in the 1997 San Juan Shootout in Puerto Rico before defeating Hawaii, 58-55, on Thursday. * BYU-Hawaii's enrollment is listed at 2,000, making it the smallest school Penn has faced this season. By contrast, Hawaii (20,463 students) and Colorado (27,954) are Penn's two largest opponents this season. * Seasiders coach Ken Wagner has recorded 292 wins at BYUH against 150 losses. He is also the recipient of three straight Pacific West coach of the year honors. On the other side, Penn's Fran Dunphy has 295 wins and 158 losses. * BYUH's roster includes six players from the state of Utah and three from Hawaii.

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