LAFAYETTE basketball coach Fran O'Hanlon, the onetime Villanova standout, doesn't enjoy playing against his old friends. Whether it's Fran Dunphy, whom he worked for at Penn, or Steve Donahue, whom he once gave a job to at Monsignor Bonner High School and later worked with under Dunphy in West Philly. Sometimes the profession makes you do things you don't want to do. That's the nature of Scheduling 101.

O'Hanlon's team opened the season against his alma mater.

"We were going to play them in Allentown," said O'Hanlon, who drew Jay Wright's top-seeded Wildcats in an NCAA opener two years ago. "This was the year they were supposed to (upgrade) their (Pavilion), and the game was going to be up there. Then they decided to push it back. So they said we could play them down there instead. Thanks. Some favor."

He was smiling, of course. Stuff happens.

Wednesday night at the Palestra, his Leopards played Donahue's Quakers. O'Hanlon won last November. He also beat Penn the three meetings before that, when he was going against coach Jerome Allen, the Quakers great whom both coached in the early 1990s.

The basketball universe can be that way, especially in this city. And has O'Hanlon really spent the last 22 years in Easton? Where, as he once put it, you never have to wait in line.

This time, Donahue got him back. The final was 81-52. It wasn't always pretty, which is what you'd expect from two teams trying to find a way with few seniors. And Lafayette is trying to do it without one of its best players, the injured Monty Boykins (shoulder). You still have to line up with what you have. Nobody gets that more than buds who've been going at this long enough. The result count the same. And Penn needed it, even if Donahue didn't.

"I hate it," he said. "(O'Hanlon's) been so important to my career. I'd rather not do this . . . But that's what makes Philadelphia basketball so great, in a lot of ways. Everyone wants to win, so they can rattle you afterwards.

"We know each other so well. I'd rather play a similar team who has no idea what we're trying to do. I'd be calling plays and he'd be repeating them."

This time, it didn't make a difference.

"We just lost our poise," O'Hanlon said. "Once we fell behind, we were trying to hit home runs, make 10-point plays. That's just not us."

The Quakers (3-4) had lost three straight, although the previous two were to Villanova and Temple. This was only their second home game. They'll host George Mason on Saturday afternoon.

The Leopards (3-5) have dropped four of their previous five.

The Quakers were up, 34-25, at the break. It was a one-point game with three minutes to go in the half, after they'd led by nine midway through. But they scored 10 straight before the Leopards got a late bucket.

A 16-0 run put them ahead by 26 at the next-to-last media timeout.

At least, as O'Hanlon noted, his kids got to experience the Palestra, something he in no way considers a minor detail. Lafayette's Big 5 tour will continue on Dec. 22 on Hawk Hill.

Freshman AJ Brodeur topped three Penn double-digit scorers, with 22 on 10-for-13 shooting. Matt Howard finished with 14 after getting 12 of their first 17.

Lafayette had only one player get more than eight. Matt Klinewski, who was averaging 19, had four. He went 1-for-10.

"That was definitely a point of emphasis," Brodeur said. "We had to find him, keep a body on him, on and off the ball."

Now they can try to put together their first winning streak since last season.

"Success gives you confidence," Donahue said.

Even in a friendly.

@mikekerndn