Villanova fans were on the edge of their seats the majority of the game. Penn certainly came out with more life than Villanova expected. It was a dog fight for the first 30 minutes of the game.
Both teams got off to a slow start in the first half. Villanova was not connecting on their shots as well as they normally do, going only 9-for-30 from the field, while Penn went 9-for-20. Penn's ability to rebound kept Villanova from going on any runs.
Penn freshman Mike Auger had as many rebounds himself (7) as Daniel Ochefu (3) & JayVaughn Pinkston (4) did combined. Coupled with Villanova's poor free throw shooting (1-for-6) the Quakers were able to keep within 2 at halftime, down 23-21.
Villanova came out more disciplined in the second half. Penn was able to chop the lead down to one point 2 separate times, but was never able to pry the lead away from Villanova. A 7-0 run by Nova after the score was 38-37 was all they needed.
Ochefu finished the night with a double double, 21 points and 10 rebounds. Dylan Ennis was the second leading scorer with 10 points as Villanova distributed the offensive production around as per usual.
Antonio Woods was the leading scorer for Penn tonight with 18. No one else on the team cracked double figures. Auger had a strong showing though with 8 points and 9 rebounds. Once again however, turnovers did the Quakers in. The team gave up the ball 17 times compared to Villanova's 6.
"We hurt ourselves with careless turnovers." coach Jerome Allen stated after the game. "When you play teams that aren't going to beat themselves you need to capitalize on things."
Villanova already had the Big 5 title locked up going into tonight's game, but with the 15 point victory they've swept all the other Big 5 teams this season and are on an 11 game Big 5 win streak.
"As far as dominating the city, it kind of stings a bit. I'm from this city." Allen said about Villanova's recent dominance. As always though, he kept it optimistic. "We're gonna keep working so we're talking about us [University of Pennsylvania] dominating in the future."
The future begins for Allen's Quakers on Wednesday night, as they welcome Monmouth to the Palestra for an 8:00 pm game, while Villanova heads to Georgetown on Monday night at 9 to continue Big East play.
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