Lange’s first Big 5 Win
Saint Joseph’s 87 to 81 win against the University of Pennsylvania was Coach Billy Lange’s most important win of the season. Yes, you read that correctly. While the Atlantic 10 Championship is import to Hawk’s fans, it is not as important as the Philadelphia Big 5. This is especially true when you take into account that SJU lost to every Big 5 team last year.
The Big 5 is one of College Basketball’s greatest traditions and rivalries. As a quick summary, the Big 5 is a non-conference association of colleges in the Philadelphia area, all which agree to play one another for the Big 5 title.
This association of schools include: La Salle, Villanova, Saint Joe’s, Temple, and U-Penn. Historically, all Big 5 games were played in the Palestra. But gone are the days of a Big 5 double header, were the Palestra would divide into four rowdy fan bases under the same roof. There was nothing else like it in the country, all until greedy Villanova ruined the tradition. But that is a story for another day.
The Game by the Numbers
The fact is, SJU fans want nothing more than to win a Big 5 title. The win against U-Penn was one of those “steps in the right direction” I have wanted to see from Saint Joe’s all season! The Hawks were aggressive from the first tip of the game. Ryan Daly lead the way for the Hawks by finishing with 30 points. Cameron Brown provided a major scoring contribution, finishing with 17 points and 5 of 7 three-point shooting. By the end of the game, the Hawks had more rebounds, assist, and a better shooting percentage than the Quakers.
Saint Joe’s aggressive start placed this game in the category of “never in doubt”. This was one of Saint Joe’s cleaner wins this whole season. Instead of getting hot in the start and holding on for dear life at the end of the game. This team showed a methodical effort throughout both halves. The Hawks were even able to fend off multiple runs from the Quakers. Players like Anthony Longpré, Myles Douglas, Lorenzo Edwards also stepped up in their own ways to help secure what has been SJU’s most promising win all season.
Next up for SJU
Saint Joseph’s will be facing off against the VCU Rams today, Tuesday 01/21/2020, in Hagan arena. The VCU rams are one of the best teams in the Atlantic 10 this season. The facts show that the Rams are better than Saint Joe’s in every statistical category, except rebounding. While Saint Joe’s has played teams like Dayton relatively close, I would be shocked if the Rams do not easily walk out of Hagan with an impressive win. Of course, Saint Joe’s can, and should, put up a fight. However, VCU is one of the few teams in the A10 who I think can play upset to Dayton in the conference tournament. With this in mind, I expect VCU to take care of business today with relatively no drama.
For more coverage of Saint Joe’s follow me on twitter @Jelly_Morelli, and subscribe to my SJU MBB podcast, “Tony’s Takes”, on Apple Podcast.