Philly Sports Live

Number 1 Villanova Grinds out Win vs LaSalle at Palestra

Philadelphia PA:  It is always a big deal when Big 5 college basketball takes center stage in the City of Philadelphia  & that is what we had on Tuesday night as the Villanova Wildcats took on the LaSalle Explorers from “the Cathedral of College Basketball” on the campus of University of Pennsylvania. Villanova enters the game with a 8-0 record, & the new Number 1 team in the nation as they took down Saint Joseph’s on December 3 while LaSalle enters game against the Wildcats with 4-2 record & off a win over Bucknell also on December 3. This game was supposed to be played at LaSalle home gym which is Tom Gola Arena, but ESPN asked to move the game to the Palestra.

LaSalle won the tip to start the game and the games first points came on a dunk by Villanova Darryl Reynolds for the early lead, LaSalle would get on the board with basket by Tony Washington, LaSalle Students would bring back a Big 5 Tradition by Throwing streamers on the floor


Streamers on Floor after 1st Basket by LaSalle

LaSalle would take a 3 point lead over the Wildcats with 17:22 left, the entire 1st half was very tight, LaSalle would go on a run then the Wildcats would answer back. Explorers Pookie Powell would race down to beat the buzzer with layup that would cut the Villanova lead down to 4 at 40-36 at halftime.

Villanova got ball to start the 2nd half and it would continue how the first half went which was tight defense, teams going on runs. The Wildcats would get the lead as high as 13 points at 65-52 with 7:19 left in 2nd half, LaSalle would go on a run and then Wildcats answered that run. Explorers would get the lead down to 4 on 3 pointer by Jordan Price which made it 77-73 with 1:18 left and the Explorers just ran out of gas to complete the comeback. A crowd of 7,120 saw a old school tightly contested Big 5 game at the Palestra which saw Number 1 Villanova hold on for a 89-79 win.  With the win, the Wildcats go 9-0 on the season and now have to get ready for encounter with Notre Dame on Saturday in the inaugural Never Forget Tribute Classic at the Prudential Center, LaSalle falls to 4-3 on the season & look to rebound as they take on Georgetown in the Hoophall Miami Invitational.

Final Stats:

Villanova Wildcats:
Jalen Brunson: 26 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists,
Josh Hart: 21 Points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists
Mikal Bridges: 16 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists

LaSalle Explorers:
Pookie Powell: 27 points, 2 rebounds
BJ Johnson: 13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists
Tony Washington: 10 points, 3 rebounds


LaSalle Coach Dr John Giannini

Villanova Coach Jay Wright