PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- Noruwa Agho and Brian Barbour combined for 39 points but it was not enough as Penn pulled away in the second half to capture a 64-54 victory over Columbia at the Palestra on Friday night.
Columbia's swarming defense held Penn to just 27.6 percent shooting from the field in the first half but the Quakers were omnipresent on the offensive glass and came down with 10 first-half offensive rebounds.
Leading 20-18 with the clock winding down in the first half, Penn's Tyler Bernardini missed a contested three ball but Jack Eggleston was able to tip out the long rebound to Zack Rosen. As the buzzer sounded, Rosen nailed a three-pointer from NBA range to give the Quakers a 23-18 halftime lead.
Columbia trailed by just three, 25-22, on an Agho basket with 18 minutes left but Penn went on a 9-0 run after that to take it largest lead up to that point, 34-22 with 15:28 remaining.
The Lions gradually chipped away, getting to within six points, 42-36, on a Barbour floater in the lane with 8:45 to go. Rosen then stepped up, hitting a number of contested jumpers and setting up easy Penn baskets to give the Quakers a 59-46 advantage with three minutes left.
Columbia made it interesting near the end, getting to within seven points, 61-54, after Barbour nailed a three-pointer from the top of the key with less than a minute left. But Miles Cartwright made three of four free throws in the final minute to help seal the victory for the home team.
"We played better in the second half," head coach Kyle Smith said after the game. "We competed hard but we couldn't get a stop when we needed it."
Agho made 8-of-16 from the field for 20 points. Barbour added 19 and Asenso Ampim had 10 points and six rebounds for Columbia.
Despite shooting 7-of-18 from the floor, Rosen finished with 17 points and nine assists. Cartwright finished with 13 and Bernardini 11 for Penn.
Columbia is back in action at Princeton on Saturday, February 26 for a 6 p.m. tipoff.
Columbia had won its last two games at the Palestra and three of the last four from Penn ... the Lions have held each of their last four opponents to less than 65 points but are just 2-2 during that span ... Brian Barbour entered the game seventh in the nation in free throw percentage and made all four from the line at Penn ... Asenso Ampim has scored in double figures in six of the last eight games ... Princeton defeated Cornell 84-66 on Friday night to remain a half game behind Harvard, which won at Brown, for first place in the Ivy League.