BOSTON - Penn's offense didn't take long to get going Friday night against Harvard - a problem the Quakers had experienced last weekend in Ivy League wins over Columbia and Cornell.
After taking a quick 7-0 lead, the Quakers never looked back, rolling to an 83-67 victory in front of a decidedly pro-Penn crowd of 1,995 at Lavietes Pavilion.
"We wanted to come out and establish ourselves early," forward Mark Zoller said. "On the road, we want to come out and jump on teams."
Zoller led all scorers with 21 points on 9-for-15 shooting, going 3 for 6 from three-point range. He also pulled down a game-high eight rebounds and recorded six assists for the Quakers.
Penn improved to 18-8 overall, 9-1 in the Ivy League, and stayed atop the league with its sixth consecutive win. Yale remained a half-game behind the Quakers at 9-2 by beating Cornell, 68-55.
Zoller got a helping hand from fellow senior Ibby Jaaber, who scored 19 points, and freshman guard Darren Smith, who tied a career high with 17 points.
"I think that just shows how versatile this team is," Zoller said.
Smith was hot from the perimeter, making 5 of 8 three-point attempts. He said after the game that the confidence in his shot had come early in the day.
"I was feeling it at shoot-around today, at about 11," he said.
Smith praised his teammates, who "were able to create for me, get me open, and I just took what they gave me."
Penn pushed its lead to 11 points on a Zoller three with 8 minutes, 24 seconds remaining in the first half, and led by double digits for the rest of the game. A 9-0 run that began with 5:21 to play extended the margin to 22 points and sealed the victory.
The Quakers were effective when pushing the tempo, scoring 20 fastbreak points. But they also passed well, recording 22 assists on 34 field goals.
"We've been an unselfish team with our passing the entire year, and I think you saw that again tonight," coach Glen Miller said. "You have to move the ball well and move your body to get 20-something assists."
Penn's average ratio of assists to field goals, 65.4 percent, is 18th best in Division I.
The Crimson (10-15, 3-8) committed 21 turnovers, many forced by the Penn defense. But the Quakers committed 16 turnovers and were outrebounded, 35-29, leaving Miller less than satisfied.
"I just didn't think we were disciplined tonight," he said. "I'm pleased to win the game, but I just think that with five games left in the season, we needed to come out and be a little more disciplined with our execution than I saw tonight."
It was enough for a win nonetheless.