DAVIDSON, N.C. - A late rally wasn't enough as the Penn Quakers came up short against Davidson College, 75-70, Thursday in a nonconference game at Belk Arena.
Tyler Bernardini had a team-high 16 points, and Zack Rosen added 14 points and five assists, but the high-scoring duo connected on just 10 of 27 shots against a solid Davidson defense.
The game was rugged, with 51 fouls called. Players on both teams struggled to get open looks much of the night, and neither team found much of an offensive rhythm.
"They're a dangerous team," Davidson coach Bob McKillop said of Penn. "This win didn't come easy. They're relentless."
The Quakers (6-7) never trailed in the first half, leading by as many as eight points before going into the intermission ahead by 33-30. The lead came even though Rosen and Bernardini hit just 3 of 15 shots.
The game turned in the opening minutes of the second half, when Davidson's Tom Droney and Clint Mann keyed a defensive surge that forced turnovers on three straight Penn possessions, leading to six straight points by the Wildcats (8-4). The run resulted in the Wildcats' first lead of the game and turned into a 12-1 surge.
"Poor shot selection and careless turnovers allowed them to get out to a lead," Penn coach Jerome Allen said.
Missed opportunities in the first half and mistakes in the final 20 minutes doomed the Quakers, who focused their defensive efforts on De'Mon Brooks and 6-foot-10 all-Southern Conference player Jake Cohen but had no answer for Chris Czerapowicz, a 6-foot-7 shooting guard who finished 9-of-15 shooting.
The Quakers trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half, but a 9-0 run keyed by Rosen and Bernardini cut the lead to three twice late in the game. Rosen had assists on back-to-back buckets and then drilled a three-pointer. Bernardini had a steal and a dunk with 1 minute, 43 seconds remaining that closed the gap to 68-63. He drew a foul and made both foul shots 30 seconds later to cut the lead to three.
A Brooks bucket inside and a pair of foul shots by Nik Cochran on the ensuing possession sealed the win for the hosts in the final seconds.