More Early Season Big 5 Action: 'Nova Hosts La Salle

More Early Season Big 5 Action: 'Nova Hosts La Salle

Tyreek Duren versus Maalik Wayns? Okay, I mean, I guess I'll watch.

After seeing Temple's Juan Fernandez and Ramone Moore go head to head (to head?) with Penn's Zack Rosen last evening, Big 5 fans will be treated to their second uber-talented guard on guard match up in as many nights.

The Villanova University Wildcats are set to host the La Salle University Explorers. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. from inside the Ski Lodge on the campus of Villanova (ESPN 3 / 950 AM / 990 AM).

Matchup:
The big news for the Explorers is that they will be without junior transfer Ramon Galloway, who suffered a concussion in the team's win over 79-53 win over Lafayette last Friday night. Though a newcomer, Galloway is expected to bring some veteran leadership to a program now without Aaric Murray, Jerrell Williams, Reuben Gillandeaux and (even) Cole Stefan, who transferred to Minnesota after only one year with the program. Surely, a concussion won't stop the former South Carolina Gamecock from attempting to fill that role for the rest of the season, but it will keep him out of tonight's matchup with Villanova.

For the 'Cats, they'll be glad to be taking this series back to the friendly confines of their own Pavillion. Villanova has, for whatever reason, struggled with the Explorers in recent years. Though the Big 5 isn't what it "once was" in the eyes of many, differences in talent seems to drastically diminish when it comes to these still important intra-city rivalries. Last year, the Wildcats just barely escaped the Tom Gola Arena with an 84-81 win. As they tend to be at their best on their own campus, it should be an added leg up for the 'Cats, who are already heavily favored—in some cases by double digits. That said, La Salle actually leads the series 5-4 in games played at the Pavillion.

Players to Watch:
Yes, yes, all eyes will be on Duren and Wayns, but if I just listed the obvious, this section would be boring. Anyway...

Lost in the coverage surrounding his back court partner, Dominic Cheek racked up a game-high 27 points against Monmouth last Friday night. Going 9-15 from the field and 5-8 from behind the arc, Cheek would also pull down 6 rebounds and dish out 2 assists, while only surrendering the ball twice. On the inside, Mouphataou Yarou contributed with 24 of his own and would register 10 rebounds to finish with what 'Nova fans hope will be the first of many double-doubles this season. Considering La Salle's remarkable lack of height, the big man could be on his way to another big night.

For La Salle, guards Earl Pettis, Taylor Dunn and Sam Mills will need to help shoulder some of the load from Duren. Of the three—and really four if you count freshman forward D.J. Peterson—who all played substantial minutes against Lafayette, only the senior Pettis has a standing higher than that of a sophomore.

Relevant History:
--All-time Series: Villanova leads 34-26.
--At the Pavillion: La Salle leads 5-4
--Wright versus La Salle: 9-1
--Giannini versus Villanova: 0-7
--Last Meeting: The Wildcats defeated the Explorers by a final score of 84-81 (12/12/10, Tom Gola Arena). La Salle's Jerrell Williams posted a game-high 20, while Maalik Wayns lead the way for Villanova with 19.

See you post-game.

Former Phillies pitcher, Hall of Famer Jim Bunning dies at 85

Former Phillies pitcher, Hall of Famer Jim Bunning dies at 85

LOUISVILLE, Ky.-- Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, who pitched six seasons with the Phillies and went on to serve in Congress, has died. He was 85.

Bunning's death was confirmed by Jon Deuser, who served as chief of staff when Bunning was in the Senate. Deuser said he was notified about the death by Bunning's family.

Bunning won 224 games in a 17-year major-league career and pitched the first perfect game in modern National League history. It came with the Phillies on June 21, 1964.

He became the first pitcher after 1900 to throw no-hitters in both the American and National Leagues.

He belonged to a rare group of major league pitchers to throw a perfect game in the modern era.

A Kentucky Republican, he was the only member of the Baseball Hall of Fame to serve in Congress. He served in both the House and Senate.

Today's Lineup: Cesar Hernandez (groin) returns

Today's Lineup: Cesar Hernandez (groin) returns

Cesar Hernandez returns to the Phillies' punchless lineup Saturday afternoon against the Reds (4 p.m./TCN).

Hernandez, who missed Friday night's 5-2 loss with a groin injury, is back at second base and leading off. Hernandez has led off in all 44 games he's started this season. The fifth-year pro has struggled after getting off to a torrid start. He's hitting just .185 (10 for 54) over his last 14 games.

After bouncing around the lineup, centerfielder Odubel Herrera returns to his customary spot in the two-hole. Herrera's season is a microcosm of the Phils' woeful offense. An All-Star in 2016, Herrera is hitting just .227 this season. Manager Pete Mackanin hopes the Venezuelan will hit his way out of it soon (see story).

Here is the rest of today's lineup:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Aaron Altherr, LF
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Michael Saunders, RF
6. Maikel Franco, 3B
7. Cameron Rupp, C
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Jerad Eickhoff, P