It was probably Penn's best defensive performance of the season, so it was no surprise to coach Jerome Allen that the Quakers pulled out a victory.
Penn shut down Delaware during a pivotal six-minute stretch early in the second half Wednesday night and got a season-high 29 points from senior point guard Zack Rosen in a 69-60 victory over the Blue Hens at the Palestra.
"I just think that's how we're going to win basketball games - not just because the ball goes in the basket, but because we're consistent on the defensive end," Allen said.
Asked whether that was the best the Quakers have defended all season, Allen said, "Over the course of 40 minutes, I wouldn't argue with you."
Penn (5-5), which entered having lost four of five, was particularly stingy after Delaware took its first and only lead of the game on Devon Saddler's layup that made it 27-26, 45 seconds after the break.
The Quakers clamped down on Delaware (3-4), which is coached by former St. Joseph's assistant Monte Ross, forcing the Hens into five turnovers and 1-for-7 shooting over the next 6 minutes, 22 seconds while outscoring the Hens, 17-2, to take a 43-29 lead.
"We were all over the place on defense," said Penn forward Rob Belcore, who had 10 points and 11 rebounds. "As a team, they were shook."
Saddler, who entered the week as the nation's second-leading scorer (24.7 ppg.), was particularly frustrated during the Penn spurt. He was benched for the final 13:19, finishing with a season-low six points.
The Quakers played without sophomore guard Miles Cartwright, their third-leading scorer (11.2 ppg.), who suffered a head injury in practice. Cartwright said he hoped to play in Penn's next game, Saturday at UCLA.
Tyler Bernardini also had a strong game for the Quakers with 16 points. Rosen, who was one point shy of tying his career high, added eight assists.
Penn also got a lift from Steve Rennard, a 6-foot-2 sophomore guard, who scored six points in 25 minutes in his first action of the season.
Rosen began the week 12th in the country in scoring (21.3 ppg.).