For the first time since 2004, the Palestra will host a Philadelphia Big 5 doubleheader. On Jan. 20, 2016, Temple will take on La Salle in the first game of the day followed by a match-up between Penn and St. Joseph’s to honor The Big 5’s 60th anniversary.
“The Athletics Directors wanted to do something very special to celebrate this unique achievement,” said Steve Bilsky, Executive Director of The Big 5, in a university-issued statement. “We thought nothing would capture its history better than a competition to be held in the famed Cathedral of Basketball. The fact that we were able to pull it off in a very challenging college basketball scheduling environment is a credit to the AD’s, coaches, and conference commissioners, all of whom displayed tremendous perseverance and flexibility.”
Temple, La Salle, Penn, St. Joseph’s and Villanova have been squaring off against each other every year since the mid 1950’s.
The Owls defeated Villanova 53-52 the last time a Big 5 doubleheader took place in 2004.
Coach Fran Dunphy has taken part in the rivalry both with the Owls and as the coach at Penn.
“The Big 5 is a special part of the fabric of Philadelphia sports,” Dunphy said in a university-issued statement. “It is held in high regard nationally, and is treasured by Philadelphia college basketball fans locally. We are happy to be taking part in this true Big 5 doubleheader to honor its 60 years of existence.”
The annual match-up between the Owls and the Explorers will take place in the Palestra for the third consecutive season. Temple won last year’s match-up by a score of 58-57.