The Penn men's basketball team gave fans two reasons to smile Wednesday night — a 105-52 win over Delaware State to begin the team's nine-game home stretch and free cheesesteaks in a team promotion for scoring more than 100 points.
Penn also surpassed 100 points in a 101-96, four-overtime victory over Monmouth on Nov. 26. The last time the Quakers scored 100 at the Palestra was Jan. 16, 2006, in a 105-73 win over Lafayette.
Penn's cheesesteak promotion with nearby Abner's began in the 1990s but had been in an 11-year drought. Chants from the small crowd at Wednesday's game were answered by a three-pointer from Ray Jerome with three minutes remaining, boosting the Quakers to 102 points.
"I'll definitely get a cheesesteak. My family was up there, so they're happy," said Jarrod Simmons, who led Penn with 12 points. "I think it was awesome, especially getting to see the other guys come off the bench and score, too."
Riding a four-game winning streak, the Quakers (9-4) have won six of their last seven games. They extended the Hornets' losing streak to nine straight, taking a 2-1 all-time series lead.
"I thought it was a really locked-in performance by all the guys," said Penn coach Steve Donahue. "To be honest with you I thought Delaware State was tired. They played Nebraska on the 23rd. I assume kids traveled home the 24th, had less than 48 hours to travel back and then drove up here. That's a lot more than what our guys did."
Penn limited Delaware State (2-13) to 19-of-55 shooting and forced seven turnovers. Caleb Wood contributed 11 points for the Quakers.
Penn is off to its best 13-game start in the last 12 years. Donahue stressed the importance of taking every opponent seriously.
"When you start assuming because you're home that you're going to win, that's when you lose," the coach said. "We hadn't been home in — it seems like forever. I think you're going to start seeing guys more comfortable, shot making, free-throw making. … There's a comfort level and a confidence at home."
The Quakers will host Toledo on Friday before opening Ivy League play against Princeton on Jan. 5.