DOVER, Del. -- The Penn Quakers are 3-0 to start a season for the first time since the 1981-82 season.
Penn traveled south Tuesday night to take on the Delaware State Hornets (0-2), claiming a strong away victory in a tough environment at Memorial Hall, where the crowds were loud and also multiple technical difficulties were had.
The Quakers overcame a woeful 3-23 shooting performance from beyond the arc, relying late on senior center Darien Nelson-Henry along with sophomore guard Antonio Woods to salvage the 'W'.
Nelson-Henry led all scorers with his 16 points and five rebounds, and Woods added 11 points of his own along with six assists. Ivy League Player of the Week Sam Jones added 10 and eight boards for the Quakers.
After new coach Steve Donahue took a timeout at the 3:44 mark, the score knotted up at 49 apiece, Penn found the capacity within to go on an 11-5 run to end the game. DNH and Matt Howard score two buckets apiece down the stretch. Howard finished with eight points and nine boards on the evening.
DeAndre Haywood led Delaware State with 13 points off the bench, also grabbing five rebounds. Devin Morgan scored 12 and Kavon Waller nine in the home-court loss for the Hornets.
Penn, now coming off two home wins to open the season against Robert Morris and Central Connecticut State and this road victory over the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's Hornets, is as hot as its been since that 81-82 season, the last for coach Bob Weinhauer. Despite the permanent absence of last season's leading scorer, Tony Hicks, Donahue has found a way to bring together this young roster and manufacture an Ivy League-leading 3-0 record to start off the year.
Sophomore Sam Jones truly has been a revelation, and Tuesday night exhibited more versatility when his three pointers were clearly not falling. He went 2-10 from deep on the game, but did not turn the ball over at all.
The Quakers now must prepare for their next great challenge, a brutal away matchup across the nation in Darien Nelson-Henry's home state, as the team will face Pac-12 opponents the Washington Huskies. UW is currently 1-0 following a 77-71 win over the Texas Longhorns.
Delaware State faces Nebraska (2-0) Thursday in an away contest at Pinnacle Bank Arena, where they're sure to be heavy underdogs. They are now 1-2 all-time against Ivy League opponents, as last season they opened with a stunning overtime victory at Penn behind a career-high 23 points from DeAndre Haywood, who couldn't pull off the same magic on Tuesday.
Penn dominated the final 20 for the second straight game after entering halftime in a tie against both CCSU and Delaware State, however they'll need to play a full 40 minutes of basketball to compete with higher-class opponents such as Washington and local rivals La Salle, their next two opponents.
Overall, another sturdy showing and a win for the 3-0 Quakers.