ITHACA, N.Y. - Penn went into its first Ivy League game of the season last night with a 16-game winning streak against its opponent, Cornell.
This year, however, marked the first time in Big Red coach Steve Donahue's tenure that Fran Dunphy, the man he once assisted on the Penn bench, was not at the other end of the court.
The result was no different. After a close first half, Penn outscored Cornell, 34-20, in the second half for a 74-56 win in front of 1,492 at Newman Arena.
"It's good to get any win, no matter which one it is, but it's good to get off to a good start" in the league, said coach Glen Miller, who replaced Dunphy after the Quakers' former coach took the job at Temple. "We played much better defense in the second half."
Penn guard Brian Grandieri led all scorers with 18 points. Though Grandieri has struggled with an Achilles tendon injury, Miller said the junior out of Malvern Prep "looked as healthy as he has all year" against Cornell.
The Quakers (8-6 overall) broke away for good with an 18-4 run that began midway through the second half. Grandieri scored eight points in that span, many from jump shots off the backboard.
"I love the glass, and fortunately I had a few open looks close to the hoop and they fell," Grandieri said.
Kevin Egee, a sophomore from Ridley High, contributed the other 10 - including back-to-back three-pointers that pushed Penn's lead into double digits for good.
On the whole, though, Penn won the game by dominating Cornell (7-8) inside. The Quakers scored 38 points in the paint, more than half their total.
"Our No. 1 game key offensively was to get the ball in the paint," Miller said. "I wanted to go inside, and inside, and inside more."
Penn did not take many trips to the foul line but recorded a perfect 10-for-10 night. More important, the Quakers only turned the ball over five times.
"That's pretty impressive," Grandieri said of the low turnover number. "If we don't turn the ball over, we usually end up on the side with the most points, so it's very important."
Penn recorded eight steals, including three by Ibby Jaaber. Cornell committed 16 turnovers - 11 in the second half.