PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/18/2020 – A Saturday Big Five game at the Palestra has a special feel to it, always has, always will. And the moment was not lost on the teams who went at each other up and down the court. Someone had to win the game because neither team was going to lose it. It was the Hawks of Saint Joseph’s getting the victory 87 – 81 over the University of Pennsylvania in front of 6,266 at The Palestra on a snowy, icy day in Philadelphia.
“I told our guys that this is a blessing,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Billy Lange. “To be able to participate in the greatest basketball city in the world, to play in this city, in something like the Big Five, in this building, is a blessing. So let’s do everything we can to honor it and represent Saint Joseph’s.”
They did. As did Penn.
The Hawks got off to a good start and got in front 30 – 17. Penn began its comeback behind forward AJ Brodeur who scored 17 of the next 23 points for the Red and Blue. Saint Joseph’s kept the lead during that stretch and took a 46 – 40 lead into halftime.
The Quakers took the lead midway through the second half 61 – 60 on a layup by Brodeur.
Time for Hawks guard Ryan Daly to make his mark on the game. Playing in his first Big Five game at the Palestra he scored the next 11 points for Saint Joe’s who reestablished the lead at 71 – 64 with just under six minutes to play.
“I took it upon myself to try and make a play and a few went in,” said Daly. “We kept the lead there and my teammates did a great job on defense and making shots. This win was huge.”
Daly had a team-high 30 points making 11 of 23 from the floor and 3 of 7 from deep. After his string of points the other Hawks took over the scoring. But Penn did not go away closing the gap to 6 points, but did not capitalize on chances to make it a one possession game.
“That stretch in the second half, we played well,” said Penn Coach Steve Donahue. “We came back, took the lead, but I thought there were some poor possessions on both sides of the ball down the stretch.”
Cameron Brown scored 17 points making 5 of 7 from beyond the arc, a career-high in made three’s. The Hawks made 12 of 17 overall form deep while the Quakers could only make 7 of their 34 tries.
Myles Douglas added 11 points and Anthony Longpre had 10 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double this season.
Brodeur led the Red and Blue with 33 points, a season-high, and 3 shy of his career-high. He would score from in close and led the Red and Blue to a 48 – 32 lead in points in the paint. Ryan Betley had 14 and Devon Goodman 12.
Penn has dropped their last three games. Coach Steve Donahue is looking for more consistency game in and game out.
Billy Lange gets his first Big Five win as a coach. The Hawks improve to 4 – 14, and 1 – 2 in the city series. They return to Atlantic 10 action hosting VCU on Tuesday.
Penn evens their record at 7 – 7, and are also 1 – 2 in the Big Five. Another city game awaits the Quakers as they host the Temple Owls next Saturday in another Saturday City Series matinee at the Palestra.
Written By: Glenn Papazian