Leading his Penn State-Brandywine squad into the Palestra, Ben Kay hoped his Lions could keep it competitive against a Quakers team that outmatched his in every category you could think of.
And when senior guard Donte Winfield matched Penn’s game-opening triple with one of his up to tie the game a minute in, Kay felt a brief moment of elation.
It was short-lived.
“I pretty much just prayed last night that they weren’t going to be making shots,” Kay said, “but they hit their first three threes, and I knew it was going to be a long one after that.”
Penn didn’t let its small-college opponent stick around for long, knocking down 15 three-pointers en route to a 99-40 win Saturday afternoon.
The Quakers came within a point from reaching triple digits in scoring for the first time since Jan. 16, 2006, a 105-73 win over Lafayette. The 59-point victory margin is the largest in the program’s history, though it wasn’t exactly an even matchup.
Penn State-Brandywine is a member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association, a governing body separate from the NCAA. It plays, along with 12 other branches of the state’s sole land grant university, in the Penn State University Athletic Conference.
For Kay, the Lions’ first-year head coach and a Lower Merion native who spent the last two years as an assistant at Division II West Chester, just coaching on the Palestra floor was a dream come true.
“Personally, it was just the most special thing I’ve actually ever done as a coach,” he said. “We had a lot of guys who just enjoyed this experience.”
Quakers head coach Steve Donahue took the opportunity to play almost his entire 21-man roster. Fifteen of the 18 players who saw action got into the scoring column.
Freshman forward Jarrod Simmons led the Quakers with 16 points on 5 for 7 shooting in just 10 minutes. Darnell Foreman had 14 points and four assists, while Jake Silpe added a season-high 10 in 14 minutes off the bench.
A dozen players saw double-digit minutes, led by Matt MacDonald’s 17. That’s key for a Quakers program in the midst of playing six games in 11 days to start the season.
“We’re still trying to figure out this rotation, and a couple guys can help their cause,” Donahue said, “and I think they did.”
Penn State-Brandywine was led by Winfield’s nine points.
Penn’s next game is 5 p.m. Monday against Northern Illinois in the first round of the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Fla. The eight-team tournament, which features all mid-major programs, will run through Wednesday.