Terry Bromwell and Chris Elzey scored 25 points apiece to lead the University of Pennsylvania to an 86-71 victory over American tonight before 6,741 at the Palestra.
After cutting a 16-point deficit to just seven midway through the second half, the Eagles (4-12) were outscored, 18-6, over the next five minutes and fell to their fifth consecutive loss.
"If you get to a plateau and can't beat it," American Coach Ed Tapscott said, "it hurts your momentum. That's what happened to us tonight."
Penn (3-9) held an early 11-4 lead behind four points each from Bromwell and Elzey. Another run pushed the Quakers' advantage to 19-8 at 12:23. Holding Penn without a basket for the next four minutes, the Eagles closed to 23-17 on three straight long jumpers by Jim Lutz (16 points).
At that point, Bromwell and Elzey took charge, scoring the Quakers' next 14 points. Rick Maloney's layup with just over two minutes left gave Penn its largest lead of the half, 37-25.
The Eagles cut the lead to 38-30 by halftime, but scored just two points during the first five minutes of the second half, allowing Penn to extend its margin to 48-32.
With Eric White (team-high 21 points, game-high 14 rebounds) and Mike Sampson scoring 14 of their next 23 points, the Eagles put together a rally and cut Penn's lead to 62-55 with 7:37 remaining.
Then the Quakers, led by 10 points from Bruce Lefkowitz (20 points, 11 rebounds) managed to pull away, leading by 19 points before Penn Coach Craig Littlepage cleared his bench.
"We didn't do the things we had to do," Tapscott said. "It's been something we've been struggling to do all season."
American played without leading scorer Frank Ross. Ross, who was averaging over 16 points a game, was sidelined by a thigh injury.