Dec. 7, 2006
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Senior guard Ibrahim Jaaber scored a game-high 18 points to lead five players in double figures as Pennsylvania led from start to finish in defeating Navy 79-58 on Thursday night. The loss, in front of a rowdy season-high 2,185 fans at Alumni Hall, drops Navy to 7-3 overall, while Penn improved to 5-3.
"They have a tremendous team that is led by a bunch of seniors that knows how to win," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "This game was a great lesson for us in knowing what it takes to win. We weren't very focused on the gameplan tonight and will learn from it. We just need to continue to learn how to win.
Jaaber had a strong all-around game with seven rebounds, seven steals and three assists to go along with his 18 points.
Penn jumped out to a 21-6 lead just eight minutes into the game, before Navy started coming back. The Mids trailed 23-9, before embarking on a 9-0 run in just two minutes, fueled by a trio of three-pointers to cut the Penn margin to 23-18 with 5:43 to play. Penn would lead 30-22 with 3:54 to play, before pushing the lead back to 15 (41-26) until Navy's Corey Johnson hit a three-pointer at the buzzer.
Any hopes of a Navy comeback were squashed early in the second half, as the Quakers used a 12-2 run over the first two minutes for a 53-31 cushion with 18 minutes to play. Navy would get no closer than 15 the rest of the way, and Penn took its biggest lead of the game at 78-53 with 2:30 to play.
"Our kids knew exactly what happened tonight and we will move on from it," said Lange. "I never felt we couldn't get what we wanted offensively, but when you miss a few easy ones early, you start to think about it and it affects your entire game. That is what happened to us. The execution and focus was not where it needed to be."
All five Penn starters scored in double figures. Mark Zoller, who was 10th in the country in scoring at 22.9 ppg, scored 16, Steve Danley added 15, Brian Grandieri scored 13 and Michael Kach chipped in with 12. All five Penn starters played at least 32 minutes and the Quakers' bench produced just five points.
As a team, the Quakers shot .479 from the field, .444 from three-point land and converted on 25-of-34 free throws. Navy, meanwhile, was just 4-of-8 from the free-throw line.
For the Mids, freshman Trey Stanton paced Lange's squad with 12 points. Corey Johnson added nine points and a team-best six rebounds and three assists. Bryce Brigham scored nine points on three three-pointers off the bench.
Leading scorer Greg Sprink (17.2 ppg average) was held to just eight points by Grandieri, scoring all eight of his points in the second half.
As a team, Navy shot .431 percent from the field, and .400 (10-of-25) from three-point range. Navy committed a season-high 22 turnovers, and outrebounded the Quakers, 32-31.
Navy will be off for 10 days for final exams, with its next action coming on Dec. 17, against Delaware Valley College at 3:30 pm, in Alumni Hall. For ticket information, call 1-800-US4-NAVY.
# GO NAVY #