TOLEDO, Ohio – With the Penn Quakers coming to the University of Toledo campus for a Saturday matinee contest, something had to give in a matchup of two streaking teams.
In search of its seventh straight victory, Penn fell, 77-45, to Toledo as the Rockets won their 10th straight after a Nov. 14 loss at Wright State.
For a Quakers team that has already scored a win over defending national champion Villanova, it was the third loss of the season, its first in the month of December, and its first to a team outside one of the Power Five conferences (Kansas State and Oregon State were the other losses). The Quakers had won their previous six games.
“Give Toledo credit, I thought they really played through the shot clock well,” Penn coach Steve Donahue said. “We took away maybe their initial action, but they are a good, veteran offensive team and they stayed with it and made a lot of shots that were difficult.”
AJ Brodeur, who scored his 1,000th career point, paced Penn (10-3) with 19 points and Antonio Woods added eight points.
Jaelan Sanford led Toledo (12-1) with 15 points, Nate Navigato added 14, and Marreon Jackson had 12.
The Quakers shot just 30.5 percent from the field (18-for-59) in the game, including 22.7 percent from the three-point line (5-for-22), and 36.4 percent (4-for-11) from the free throw line.
A lot of the missed shots were open looks that uncharacteristically did not fall.
“We had easy shots at the rim that we butchered and we allowed that to mentally snowball,” Donahue said. “We just missed so many easy shots that we typically make and I thought it gave them confidence and really hurt us. It just felt like we were running in quicksand all day. I didn’t feel we had our normal hop to us.”
Jake Silpe gave the Quakers their first lead of the game at 12-11 with 13 minutes, 45 seconds left in the first half and then Penn led by four points, at 17-13, after a Jackson Donahue three-pointer.
The Quakers maintained a 25-22 lead after a Jarrod Simmons putback and a Bryce Washington free throw.
But from that point on, Toledo closed the half on a 12-2 run over the final four-plus minutes and entered halftime leading, 34-27.
Toledo used the momentum it had gained at the end of the first half and turned in a dominant second-half performance.
Penn cut the Toledo lead to six points early in the second half, but the Rockets responded with a quick six-point burst on back-to-back threes by Nate Navigato that gave them a 44-32 edge with 16:20 left.
That was as close as Penn would get.
The Quakers had difficulty navigating offensively against the Rockets’ defense and were held well beneath their 79.3 points per game scoring average.
Penn freshman Michael Wang earned his second start of the season, filling in for the injured Max Rothschild, but was forced from the game in the first half with an apparent ankle injury and did not return.