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.

Best of NBA: Russell Westbrook posts 5th straight triple-double in Thunder's win over Pelicans

Best of NBA: Russell Westbrook posts 5th straight triple-double in Thunder's win over Pelicans

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Russell Westbrook became the first player with five consecutive triple-doubles since Michael Jordan had seven straight in 1989 and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the New Orleans Pelicans 101-92 on Sunday night.

Westbrook finished with 28 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists. The Thunder have won all five games during Westbrook's triple-double stretch. It was Westbrook's 10th triple-double of the season and the 47th of his career.

Enes Kanter had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Victor Oladipo added 15 points for the Thunder.

Anthony Davis, the NBA's leading scorer, had 37 points and 15 rebounds for the Pelicans. Buddy Hield, who led nearby Oklahoma to the Final Four last season, scored 16 points in his first game back in the state (see full recap).

Rose, Anthony help Knicks hold off Kings
NEW YORK -- Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony each scored 20 points and the New York Knicks held off the Sacramento Kings 106-98 on Sunday night for their eighth win in 11 games.

The Knicks took a 21-point lead in the first half, gave up 18 consecutive points in the third quarter but outplayed the Kings down the stretch to win their third straight overall and improve to 9-3 at home.

Brandon Jennings added 19 points for New York and Kristaps Porzingis finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds.

DeMarcus Cousins had 36 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings, but shot just 9 for 30 and looked fatigued while struggling late while playing the entire second half (see full recap).

Ibaka's big night leads Magic past Pistons
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Serge Ibaka scored 21 points and blocked four shots, helping the Orlando Magic beat the Detroit Pistons 98-92 on Sunday night.

Nikola Vucevic added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Magic.

Pistons guard Reggie Jackson made his season debut after missing Detroit's first 21 games with knee tendinitis. He had 18 points in 23 minutes. Marcus Morris led Detroit with 21 points.

Orlando won for the third time in four games while Detroit had its three-game winning streak snapped.

On Jackson's first possession, the Pistons went to their bread-and-butter play -- he and Andre Drummond running a high pick and roll. Jackson came off the screen and hit a 3-pointer, bringing a cheer from the small crowd. Jackson played the first 5:50 of the quarter as Detroit built a 16-10 lead (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Canadiens avoid winless California trip with SO win over Kings

Best of NHL: Canadiens avoid winless California trip with SO win over Kings

LOS ANGELES -- Paul Byron scored the clinching goal in the fourth round of the shootout, and the Montreal Canadiens avoided a winless swing through California with a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday.

Max Pacioretty had two goals and an assist for the Canadiens, who won for just the second time in seven road games. Montreal had only one win in its previous 11 games in California before scoring three times in the four-round shootout.

Alexander Radulov and Andrew Shaw also scored and Carey Price made 27 saves for the Atlantic Division-leading Canadiens.

Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty had a goal and an assist apiece for the Kings, who lost for only the second time in eight games. Peter Budaj stopped 26 shots (see full recap).

DeKeyser gives Red Wings OT win over Isles
NEW YORK -- Danny DeKeyser scored 1:02 into overtime to give Detroit a victory over New York.

Mike Green scored twice and Henrik Zetterberg had a goal and assist for Detroit, which improved to 4-1-2 in its last seven games. Peter Mrazek stopped 32 shots to improve to 3-0-2 in his past five starts.

Anders Lee, Johnny Boychuk and Josh Bailey scored for New York, which had won a season-high three straight. Jaroslav Halak finished with 30 saves.

Detroit's Frans Nielsen had an assist while facing his former team for the first time since leaving the Islanders for a six-year, $31.5 million deal with the Red Wings last summer. The 32-year-old Danish center was selected by the Islanders in the third round of the 2002 draft and had 119 goals and 230 assists over 10 seasons in New York (see full recap).

Late goal lifts Jets over Blackhawks
CHICAGO -- Andrew Copp scored the tiebreaking goal with 4:45 left, Bryan Little got his third goal in three games and Winnipeg edged Chicago.

Copp beat Scott Darling on the stick side with a shot from the right circle that slipped just inside the left post.

Chicago's Artemi Panarin scored with 6:54 remaining to tie it at 1, moments after Copp hit the post, to spoil Connor Hellebuyck's bid for a second shutout against Chicago in less than a month. Panarin completed a give-and-go with Patrick Kane, beating Hellebuyck to the glove side.

Hellebuyck finished with 25 saves and outdueled Darling, who started his second straight game for the Blackhawks in place of No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford. Darling made 30 saves, including three on breakaways.

Little's power-play goal with 43.4 seconds left in the second period was his fourth point in four games since missing 23 with a lower-body injury (see full recap)