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Credit: Chase Sutton

VILLANOVA, Pa. — The Quakers came in looking for another upset, and they have their work cut out for them in order to pull it off.

After 20 minutes of play, Penn men’s basketball trails No. 23 Villanova, 36-30, at Finneran Pavilion in its search for a second consecutive upset over the Wildcats. Villanova’s athletic defense has impacted the contest so far and prevented the Red and Blue from generating any easy points on offense.

The game started off with tight defense from both sides. The Quakers were able to contain the Wildcats early, as sophomore forward Saddiq Bey was the only Villanova player who scored in the opening 4:58. 

Villanova began to take control after that with a 7-0 run, but after a momentum-changing three from freshman guard Jordan Dingle, the Red and Blue bounced back with an 8-0 stretch of their own to take back the lead. Solid passing and cuts to the basket were key to Penn throughout the half, and several baskets were generated through assisted layups early on. 

Despite holding the Wildcats in check from behind the three-point line, where they only made three shots, the Quakers gave up some easy baskets through layups, turnovers, and offensive rebounds, which have all plagued the team early in the season. 

Penn’s senior class once again powered the team in a hostile environment filled with energetic Villanova fans. Forward AJ Brodeur led the team with 12 points, five rebounds, and two assists, and guard Ryan Betley added nine points of his own. 

As the teams played through the latter portion of the half, the lead changed hands a few times as both teams converted key baskets. Bey caused problems for Penn with 16 points, and some late struggles on offense for the Quakers allowed the Wildcats to take a six-point lead heading into halftime, the biggest lead of the game. 

Here's the full game recap.

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