It started out dicey, but by the end of the night the Hawks made no mistake in romping over Penn, 85-64. The win is their third in a row and just their second away from the Hagan Arena all season, joining their victory over Boston College at the Paradise Jam in the US Virgin Islands.
The game got off to a nervy start as neither team was able to impose their will offensively, and the teams were deadlocked at 27 with 5:41 left in the half. Compounding it for the Hawks was foul trouble for Garrett Williamson, ’10, who had to sit the last 9:45 of the period with two fouls.
But even without their senior marathon man, the Hawks mounted a charge into the halftime break, and finished with a 13-0 spurt to take a 40-27 edge.
The Hawks picked up right where they left off after the interval, stretching the run as high as 24-3 and shutting Penn out from the field for over six minutes. By the time Penn’s offense got back on track, the Hawks’ reserves were in and the game was out of reach, with the margin stretching as high as 35 at one juncture.
Darrin Govens, ’10, led the way with a game-high 17 points, while Idris Hilliard’s, ’11, 12 in the first half helped the Hawks separate themselves. Carl Jones, ’13, added 16 points, including four three-pointers, largely in garbage time.
Charoy Bentley, ’11, and Justin Crosgile, ’13, each added eight points, but it was Bentley’s effort that drew special attention from head coach Phil Martelli after the game.
“I think the guy that changed the game for us was Charoy Bentley,” Martelli said. “He’s in a tough spot. He’s the sixth guard. He’s the second best def among those guards, but I thought his minutes in the first half had real significance, particularly defensively.”
That defense also contributed to 27 turnovers by the Quakers, compared to just 10 for the Hawks (and only six by the time the second unit was taken out with under five minutes to go). The Hawks also picked up 21 assists on their 27 made field goals.
Conor Turley led Penn (1-13, 0-4 Big 5) with 14 points, all in the second half, while Jack Eggleston added 10. Leading scorer Zach Rosen, who came in averaging 17.3 points per contest, was limited to just two field goal attempts and eight points as the focus of the Hawks’ defensive schemes.
The game pushes the Hawks (8-11, 1-1 Big 5) the closest they’ve been to .500 in over a month and keeps them in contention for a share of the Big 5 title (the game against Temple on Jan. 6 does not count toward the Big 5 standings). They face another short turnaround when they play host to UMass (7-12, 1-4 Atlantic 10) Wednesday night.
– Matthew De George ’10