Navy went looking for its first win in its home opener, bu Pennsylvania had other ideas as the Quakers won their first game, defeating the Midshipmen, 78-58, before 1,033 last night at Alumni Hall.
Penn (1-1) controlled just about every aspect of the game against the Midshipmen (0-2).
First-year Navy coach Don DeVoe had nothing but praise for the Quakers. As for his team, all he would say was it had a long way to go.
"We were not prepared to play a team of Penn's caliber this early in the season," said DeVoe. "They were determined, poised and they made their free throws. They're just a beautiful basketball team."
Penn wasted no time building its lead. Quakers guard Jerome Allen nailed a three-pointer to start the game and the visitors never trailed.
The Quakers led 12-6 after five minutes and 28-16 midway through the first half. Penn sophomore forward Eric Moore led all scorers at the half with 12 points. Allen was right behind with 11.
Navy sophomore center Larry Green led the Midshipmen with seven points as Navy went into the locker room trailing 46-31.
Navy came out fast in the second half trying to cut the Quakers' lead, and they succeeded initially.
After Penn scored the first four points of the half, the Mids went on a 9-3 run, cutting the Quakers' lead to 54-42.
The Quakers never panicked, though, and kept building their lead. When Navy tried to foul its way back in, Penn hit its foul shots. The Quakers sank 28 of 37 free throws.
"We did our best to get back in," said DeVoe. "But Penn plays great defense, and after a while we were just spent. You really can't say enough about that team."
One bright spot for Navy was senior forward Chuck Robinson, who will be called on to carry much of the offensive burden. He had a strong night with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Green finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.