Brett Brown played his final college game at the Palestra with the Boston University Terriers. (AP)
The Palestra is home to the University of Pennsylvania’s basketball teams, but for years it played host to all Big Five games. Built in 1927, the historic arena has hosted more visiting teams and more postseason NCAA men’s basketball games than any other arena in the country.
Brett Brown played on one of those visiting teams: Boston University. When the Terriers squared off against La Salle on March 15, 1983, much was on the line.
“This was my last college game here,” Brown said after his team held an open practice at the Palestra on Saturday morning (see story); his first time back in the building in 30 years. “Boston University lost to La Salle in a play-in game for the NCAA tournament. I remember turning my ankle a few practices before and being upset that I wasn’t going to play in the NCAA tournament and then it played out to be my last college game.”
Brown ended up being able to play despite his sore ankle. Then a college senior, he managed just 13 minutes on the floor and scored one field goal in the Terriers’ 12-point loss.
“This building, apart from selfish memories -- I get it,” Brown said. “I understand where I am, and being the son of a coach, and knowing the history of the game and this city and this building -- it’s a great day.”
Brown was not the only one reminiscing about his college basketball days on Saturday. Evan Turner was recalling his time as an Ohio State Buckeye, because the Sixers face the Cavaliers at the Schottenstein Center -- Ohio State's home court -- on Monday night.
“It will be fun, though I am exhausted from getting tickets ready,” Turner said. “My last game there, we won the Big Ten championship back in March of 2010. We beat Illinois.”
When asked if he had a good game that day, Turner responded with “of course.”
Turner was named the Naismith Player of the Year that season after averaging 20 .4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists for the Big Ten champs.
Monday, he hopes to put on a show for the Buckeye faithful yet again.