The Quakers’ first home game at the Palestra in nearly two years was impressive across the board.
Penn men's basketball was able to dominate the Lafayette Leopards (0-3), who struggled for momentum throughout the game, en route to a 85-57 victory. With this win, the Red and Blue improved to a .500 record, and are now 2-2 on the year.
Penn opened the game with a tough first bucket by junior guard Lucas Monroe, and followed up with a 9-0 run that forced an early timeout by Lafayette.
As the first half progressed, the Quakers showcased their defensive prowess, preventing Lafayette from attacking the paint and forcing them to shoot from beyond the arc. The Red and Blue were able to force a rare shot clock violation midway through the half, along with six turnovers on Lafayette.
While the Quakers had a few careless turnovers themselves, Penn made up for it through their blazing offense.
Penn stayed aggressive and attacked the paint frequently. There were quite a few highlight plays, including an emphatic dunk by junior center Max Lorca-Lloyd, and a long three-pointer by junior guard Jonah Charles, who led the team in scoring at the half with 13 points.
Sophomore guard Jordan Dingle and senior guard Jelani Williams added six and four points to Penn's tally, respectively. Freshman center/forward Nick Spinoso added an efficient eight points on 3-for-3 shooting, including 2-for-2 from the arc, to cap off a solid 40-point half for the Quakers.
“I thought we really played good defense the first twenty minutes,” coach Steve Donahue said. “Nick has been terrific. He’s confident, he’s skilled.”
The start of the second half was similar to the first. Monroe opened with another bucket at the rim, and the Quakers continued to stay aggressive on both sides of the ball.
Rebounding also emerged as a strength for the Quakers, as they out-rebounded Lafayette 45-27. Once again, Lafayette had no choice but to call timeout early in the half, as Penn blazed to a 54-35 lead. With about eight minutes left in the game, the Quaker lead had ballooned to 28 points.
Charles and Dingle continued to lead offensively in the second half, with Charles finishing with an admirable 18 points.
The defense stayed consistent, with Penn able to force eight turnovers total. The Quakers were able to remove their starters and empty the bench with four minutes left in the game.
“It’s really cool to see how far [we’ve come] since Florida State last week,” Charles said. “It’s pretty cool to see the development, and now people are starting to lock in, and pay attention to little details.”
The Quakers will look to use the blowout win as momentum for their next game against Utah State this Thursday, where they will have a chance to extend their win streak to three games.
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