On Wednesday night, Penn men’s basketball opened their season with a 105-70 loss against No. 20 Florida State.
Tonight was the first-ever meeting between the Quakers (0-1) and the Seminoles (1-0) in men’s basketball, and marked Florida State's first win against an Ivy League opponent. After 613 days since their last game, the Quakers got the first basket tonight — a three-pointer from junior guard Jonah Charles.
The Seminoles were the clear favorites to win the game. However, early on, Penn looked evenly matched with Florida State. Both the Quakers and Seminoles saw leads, but neither team was able to tip the court in the beginning of the first half.
After eight minutes of back-and-forth action, Penn took a 14-13 lead, thanks to a three-pointer from sophomore guard Jordan Dingle.
Soon after, Florida State went on a 8-0 run, as the Seminoles’ defensive pressure shut down Penn’s passing lanes. With Penn’s turnover count hitting nine, coach Steve Donahue called a timeout halfway into the first half.
“The first 15 minutes, I thought we were handling ourselves well," Donahue said. "Honestly, I was disappointed in the next 10 minutes of game time, and maybe that has something to do with such a long layoff, and it being so many guys’ first college game."
The Seminoles’ sold-out student section counted down the shot clock on Dingle, who made them pay with a three-pointer that brought the Red and Blue within four at 23-19.
With seven minutes left in the first half, a deep three by Charles put the Quakers behind by just two points, 28-26.
Florida State forward Malik Osborne was later left open for a three, helping the Seminoles pull away 35-26. The Quakers’ 14th turnover gave Florida State guard Anthony Polite an easy layup to widen Florida State’s lead to 11.
After some more evenly matched play, Caleb Mills scored back-to-back baskets to put Florida State up, 45-32. The Quakers responded immediately after, as Charles drained a deep three.
Over nine steals by Florida State led to multiple breakaway points for the home team, putting the Seminoles up 51-39 at half. Penn sometimes had no option but to foul, causing several Quakers to be in foul trouble.
The Seminoles scored 23 points off Penn turnovers in the first half, but the Red and Blue remained in the game thanks to several long-range shots.
“Our program is built on mental and physical toughness," Donahue said. "Playing through physical play as Florida State can deliver, maintaining poise and toughness, getting strong with the ball when there’s a lot of pressure, not giving into that whether it’s a weak turnover or poor shot selection. It’s all those things we’re gonna fight through.”
At the beginning of the second half, the Quakers turned the ball over on the opening possession, prompting a Seminole 8-0 run. Dingle finally broke the ice for the Red and Blue three minutes in with a deep three.
The Quakers were unable to bring back their sharp offensive looks from the first few minutes of the game, as they dropped 24 points to the Seminoles in the first six minutes of the second half.
A 24-5 run by the Seminoles was halted by a two-point jumper from Dingle, who capitalized on a three-point play.
With 10 minutes remaining, Florida State was up 86-54. Despite a widening lead in the second half, Dingle and Charles were hot from behind the arc, combining for nine three-pointers. Unfortunately, these efforts would be grouped into a losing effort.
“[We played] against a really, really good Florida State team," Donahue said. "We probably bit off a little more than we could chew this time. I think we’ll look back on this as a great learning experience … We’re gonna learn from it, and part of it’s gonna motivate us to do better the next time."
Despite the Quakers coming out with a competitive look against nationally ranked Florida State, Penn was unable to catch up to the Seminoles’ tough defense and offensive hustle.
The Quakers now head to Virginia to take on George Mason on Friday at 7:00 p.m.