PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania men's basketball team played ahead of No. 17 Villanova nearly all night on Tuesday at The Palestra, and the Quakers held on at the end to defeat the defending NCAA champion Wildcats, 78-75. The win snapped Villanova's record 25-game win streak in Philadelphia Big 5 games, which extended back to December 5, 2012.
The win was Penn's fifth in a row, and the Quakers improved to 9-2 on the season. Villanova fell to 8-3. Penn has now won two Big 5 games for the first time since the 2006-07 season and is 2-0 in Big 5 play for the first time since the 2002-03 campaign. As a result of Tuesday night's win, the Quakers now own the longest active winning streak in Big 5 games at three, dating back to a win over Saint Joseph's last January.
The win was Penn's first over Villanova in almost exactly 16 years; the first over an AP-ranked team since a 73-70 win over Temple on November 23, 1998; and the first win over a ranked Villanova squad since a 71-70 win over the 17th-ranked Wildcats on December 6, 1988.
*Penn improved to 4-6 all-time when playing a team ranked 17th in the Associated Press (AP) national poll, including a 2-1 mark over Villanova when the Cats are No. 17.
*Penn has now won 12 in a row at The Palestra dating back to last season, 15 of its last 16 home games, and 18 of its last 20.
*Tonight's game was Steve Donahue's 100th as Penn's head coach; he is 57-43 with the Quakers.
*Penn is 9-2 through 11 games for the first time since the 1994-95 team also was 9-2 at this juncture.
*Penn is 5-0 this season and 19-0 over the last two seasons when making more foul shots than its opponent; the Quakers made 25 free throws on Tuesday, a season high, while Villanova made 18.
*Penn is 7-0 this season and 43-6 in the Donahue era when leading at halftime.
*Penn is 9-0 this season when shooting a better field-goal percentage than its opponent; the Quakers shot 51.1 percent on Tuesday, while Villanova shot 50.0 percent.
*Penn has shot better than 50 percent in eight of its nine wins this season.
*Penn is 6-0 this season when out-rebounding its opponent; the Quakers had 35 boards on Tuesday while Villanova had 22.
*Villanova's 22 boards were an opponent low in the Donahue era.
*For the first time this season, Penn put five different players in double figures.
*Junior AJ Brodeur hit double digits in scoring for the fifth straight game and ninth time this season, with 16 points; Penn is 9-0 this season when Brodeur hits double figures.
*Senior Antonio Woods finished with 16 points and four assists; both numbers were one shy of his season highs.
*Freshman Michael Wang scored 14 points, giving him 55 in the last three games.
*Junior Devon Goodman scored 11 points and tied his season high with five rebounds.
*Senior Jake Silpe scored 11 points, his third double-figure scoring game this season.
How It Happened
Penn started out red hot on Tuesday night, Bryce Washington opening the scoring with a pair of three-point baskets as the Quakers jumped out to a 14-2 lead. However, Villanova responded with the game's next 15 points and took a 17-14 lead.
That turned out to be the only time the Wildcats would lead all night. Penn scored 12 of the next 14 points for a 26-19 lead, powered by back-to-back treys by Michael Wang and Antonio Woods, and the Quakers were up 32-28 at halftime.
Penn never trailed in the second half, either, extending its lead to as many as 10 points. Villanova drew within three points several times in the final few minutes, but the Quakers continually found open looks when they needed them and converted to keep the Wildcats at bay.
Penn is off until Saturday, Dec. 22, when the Quakers are at New Mexico. That game will tip off at 2 p.m. (4 p.m. EST) in Albuquerque.