The separation between #s 1 (Villanova) and #s 2-5 (in some order, Temple, Penn, La Salle and St. Joseph's) might have diminished the excitement surrounding Big 5 basketball somewhat in recent years, but there's no denying the place in Philly hoops history that the entirely unofficial conference has had. With a history dating back to the mid-50s, Big 5 basketball has borne enough rivalries, legends and classic games to fill several books, and even continues today, with games like the "Holy War" between St. Joe's and Nova, and the ongiong debate over whether to expand to a half-dozen to include rising local power Drexel.
One of the signature games of the association came on January 16th, 1966, in one such righteous battle between St. Joe's and Nova. The Hawks were a nationally ranked team, led by future NBA players Matt Guokas and Cliff Anderson, while the Wildcats were considered heavy underdogs. But Nova came out firing, and looked like a sure thing to pull off the upset as they led by nine with under six minutes left. The Cats went cold, though, and led only by one with seconds remaining. Little-seen Hakws benchwarmer Steve Donches launched a 29-footer as the buzzer sounder, and it landed for the win. Final score: St. Joseph's 71, Villanova 69.
The Nova-Joe's rivalry rages on, with the two teams locking horns last December, resulting in a 97-89 Villanova victory. Since the 21st century began, Villanova leads 8-3 in the regular-season series, and leads them 43-24 over all. St. Joseph's, however, is arguably currently leading in the NBA Pro battle, claiming both Magic All-Star Jameer Nelson and Cavaliers playoff warrior Delonte West, while Nova boasts only one current NBA starter in Wizards combo guard Randy Foye.
SANDY, Utah -- Joao Plata scored his first goal of the season and Real Salt Lake beat the Union, 1-0, on Saturday night to snap Philadelphia's club-record winning streak at four games.
Plata tapped in his goal in the 36th minute after quickly exchanging short passes twice with Jefferson Savarino. Tony Beltran got the play started by saving the ball just before it went over the goal line.
The Union (4-5-5) had a chance to tie it in stoppage time, but goalie Nick Rimando blocked Haris Medunjanin's belt-high free kick and Salt Lake (4-8-2) cleared it after a scramble in front of the net.
Union goalkeeper Andre Blake made seven saves.
Howie Kendrick on Saturday night made his fourth rehab appearance in Triple A during Lehigh Valley's 13-1 rout of the Louisville Bats in Allentown.
Kendrick went 1 for 5 with a run scored and three strikeouts. He also grounded into a double play and left two runners in scoring position.
It was his second rehab game playing third base. He played third during his appearance in the IronPigs' 8-4 loss Thursday to the Indianapolis Indians. He was 0 for 1 in three plate appearances with a run scored and was hit by a pitch twice (see story).
The Phillies' plan for Kendrick was to have him play a minimum four games at Lehigh Valley. He played left field in two games and third base twice. Pete Mackanin said Wednesday that Kendrick would also get a game at first base but he hasn't gotten a game at first yet.
There is a chance Kendrick could be recalled Sunday before the Phillies’ series finale against the Cincinnati Reds depending on how he feels.
Kendrick has been sidelined since April 15 with an oblique strain. In 10 games before the injury, Kendrick went 13 for 39 (.333) with five extra-base hits and four walks while exclusively playing left field.