There being no mercy rule in basketball, coaches on the comfortable end of a lead will pull their starters and give untried freshmen real-life college playing time.
When Penn’s Mike McLaughlin did that Thursday night against St. Francis Brooklyn, the game was only three-quarters over — and the Penn reserves made the lead even bigger, closing out a 78-44 romp.
It wasn’t just that St. Francis (1-9) was victim material, though it’s a young team. The Quakers played well enough to beat any team on their schedule, ending the drama early with a 33-point first quarter, knocking down three after three. Penn sank 12 of its 17 first-quarter shots, a stunning 70.6%. The pace of long balls eased up after that, but Penn’s threes — 15 on 37 attempts for the night, or 40.5% — were enough by themselves to outscore everything St. Francis put into the basket.