NEWARK, Del. - The way Zack Rosen shot in the first half last night, few Penn basketball fans in the Carpenter Center would have expected him to tie his career scoring high.
Led by Rosen, the Quakers (5-4) broke open a close game in the second half for a 78-68 victory over Delaware before 3,243.
Rosen finished with 30 points, 26 of them in the second half.
After shooting just 1-for-7 from the field in the first half, Rosen finished 8-for-18, 11-for-15 from the free throw line. His 30 points, which tied a career high set last season against Lafayette, doubled his season average.
Penn coach Jerome Allen said he just told Rosen and freshman Miles Cartwright (20 points) at halftime to be aggressive.
Later, Rosen said, "What he didn't tell you is, he got up my butt. For some reason, I respond to that."
Rosen said his teammates drew the defenders away from him, opening up lanes for him to score. When the junior guard wasn't attacking the basket, he was launching three-pointers (3-for-8).
"He's a good player when he's Zack Rosen," Allen said. "Sometimes he's overthinking."
Another highlight for the Quakers was senior Jack Eggleston's passing the 1,000-point career mark. Eggleston finished with eight points, boosting his total to 1,003. One of his rewards was having a bottle of Powerade poured over his head in the locker room.
Penn's first game in 2 weeks, following final exams, was a battle between evenly matched teams.
Despite Rosen and Eggleston (2-for-8) having shooting issues in the first half, the Quakers led, 26-23, at intermission.
A three-point spree by senior Jawan Carter (four consecutive treys) gave Delaware a 43-40 lead with 12 minutes, 22 seconds remaining in the game.
Rosen (three points) and Cartwright (four points) pushed the Quakers back in front, 47-43. They never trailed again. The closest Delaware could get was to within 54-53. From there, Rosen poured in eight as Penn extended its advantage.
Senior Conor Turley added 14 for the Quakers.
"We used the break as a positive," Allen said. "We worked on sharpening up things defensively. We didn't do a great job defensively tonight, but we played the right way [overall] and got stops."
Carter led the rebuilding Blue Hens (5-4) with 21 points. The Hens might be developing an aversion to Philadelphia teams: Their five-game winning streak was halted by Villanova Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center.
Jamelle Hagins, a 6-8 sophomore, had 17 points for Delaware.
"All the credit to both their guards [Rosen and Cartwright]," said Monte Ross, Delaware's disappointed coach. "They were very sharp, which we weren't defensively."
Delaware shot 50 percent from the field and 36.8 on threes. A major difference for the Quakers was at the free throw line, where they made 29 of 39 (74.4), compared with seven of 14 for the Hens (.500).
Penn's next four games are on the road, including a Jan. 3 journey to Kentucky, which currently is ranked No. 13 by the Associated Press. *