EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A quick take on the appetizer before today's main course at the Izod Center -- Penn's 68-52 win over Army, played prior to No. 1 Duke taking on Butler.
WHAT IT MEANS: Penn wins its second game in a row and improves to 4-3 on the season under Jerome Allen, in his first full year as head coach after taking over on an interim basis last season. Army drops its third straight game to fall to 3-4. The previous two losses were by eight to Yale and by two to Buffalo.
"Today they were the better basketball team," said Army coach Zach Spiker. "I think they're going to have an opportunity to challenge for an Ivy League title this year."
HEATING UP: Penn and Army were actually tied at halftime -- the Quakers shot just 1-for-10 from 3-point range in the first half, and 10-for-26 overall (38.5 percent). But the Quakers were on fire in the second half, both from the field (14-for-21, 66.7 percent) and from downtown (6-for-8, 75 percent).
"We had some decent looks in the first half -- I thought we rushed a little bit, and settled for the 3 in the first half, and we really didn't try to attack the paint as much," Allen said. "But in the second half, we had the right spacing, guys were giving themselves up for other guys to get opportunities, and we stepped up and made some shots."
TOP PERFORMER: Penn junor Zack Rosen -- preseason favorite for Ivy League Player of the Year -- led the Quakers with 20 points. Rosen is a slick 6-foot-1 lefty guard who's very slippery in the paint, adept at creating his own shot.
"He's a terrific player," Spiker said of Rosen. "He does a very good job of constantly attacking."
LOOKING GLASS: Army's tallest starter is 6-foot-6 -- the Black Knights are used to being undersized, compared to their opponents. Penn isn't that much bigger -- its starting front line goes 6-8, 6-8 and 6-9 -- but Army was beaten soundly on the boards, by a final margin of 34-24.
DOWN SIDE: Penn committed 20 turnovers on Saturday, after committing 17 in its previous game against UMBC.
"We don't value the ball as much as we should," Allen said. "No disrespect to Army or UMBC, but when you play this game, and play against the good teams, you can't turn the ball over that many times and expect to come out and win. ... We've still got a lot of work to do."
WHAT'S NEXT: Here at the Izod Center, tipping at 3:15 p.m. ET on ESPN, is a rematch of last year's national championship game between Duke and Butler -- featuring the homecoming of Duke's freshman sensation, Kyrie Irving.
For these two teams: Penn will next host No. 8 Villanova at the Palestra on Wednesday.
"First and foremost, we can't have 20 turnovers and expect to beat a Big East team," Allen said.
Army will play at New Hampshire on Thursday.
"We're going to leave from this game hopefully an improved team," Spiker said, "understanding how we need to handle some adversity in situations a little better than we did today."