Rosen scores 19 as Penn edges Robert Morris, 66-60

Posted: November 20, 2011

Each time Robert Morris inched closer, Zack Rosen was waiting for them. No matter what the Colonials tried, they couldn't shake the Penn senior guard. They switched defenders. They tried to force him to his off hands. They tried to force him inside.

All came to no avail on Saturday night as Rosen led the Quakers (4-1) to a 66-60 nonconference win at the Palestra.

"We tried to see where we could exploit them," said Rosen, a senior guard. "We tried to go option-to-option. If they were taking away this, we would go to that. If they were taking away that, we would go to this. Basically, just try to hit what option they were giving us and try to exploit that."

The Colonials rallied for a late comeback, only to be turned away by the foul shooting and ball control of the Quakers.

Rosen's tempo controlled the Penn offense as he dished with precision, knocked down wide-open threes, and ran defenders into screens. He finished with a game-high 19 points and added 10 assists.

The points were a season low for Rosen, but his play early in the second half broke the game open. Rosen's three-pointer with 16 minutes, 21 seconds left in the second half capped a Quakers 13-2 run and increased their lead to 12 points.

At that point, it was difficult to recall that the Quakers had actually trailed by double digits early in the first half.

"Weather the storm. We came out, got hit first. It's like a knockout punch in the first round," Rosen said. "We knew we were in it for the long haul and inched our way back."

With 59 seconds left in the first half, Rosen drained a jumper to get Penn within one. On the ensuing inbounds pass, scrappy forward Rob Belcore raced toward the baseline, intercepted the pass, and sank the layup to put Penn ahead 31-30. It was just their second lead of the game and one they wouldn't relinquish.

The last time Colonials junior guard Velton Jones played at the Palestra he guided North Catholic to a 2008 Catholic League title. Jones still plays with the same high energy he had with the Falcons as he flies toward the basket without much regard and dives wildly for loose balls.

He finished Saturday night with a team-high 16 points and guarded Rosen.

"Velton played about as well as he could defensively," said Robert Morris head coach and former Penn guard Andrew Toole.


Contact staff writer Matt Breen at mbreen@phillynews.com or @matt_breen on Twitter.

 

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