PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - On an historic night awash in memories and a trip down memory lane, The University of Pennsylvania and Saint Joseph's engaged in a men's basketball contest at The Palestra that had all the trappings of a Philadelphia Big 5 contest.
The Hawks won a 47-44 game that was marked by clamp-down defense by both sides (both sides shot below 40 percent from the field). The contest featured rough play on both sides at times, demonstratingthat no love waslost between these intracity rivals. Hustle was the order of the day, with bodies flying all over the place on rebounds and loose balls. And when those players went to get up, oftentimes it was a player fromthe other teamwho offered a helping hand --signs of the respect they have for each other.
TheBig 5even brought back the old tradition of throwingstreamers onto the court after each team's first basket, and if you did not have chills when you saw the crepe paper fly than you should have your pulse checked.
In the end, though, the story of the game was SJU's Abdulai Jalloh, who got into the lane and dropped a jumper from about 12 feet out -- his only field goal of the game -- that broke a 44-44 tie with 25 seconds left and propelled the Hawks to victory.
Penn (10-6) attempted to get the tie with its final possession, and with 8.2 seconds left Steve Danley was fouled as he went up in the lane. Danley missed the first shot, and then after a timeout appeared to purposely miss and give Penn the board. The ball seemed to hit the backboard and then graze off the rim to the right, but the referees ruled the ball did not touch the rim and blew it dead, awarding the ball to Saint Joseph's.
Rob Ferguson -- who had a game-high 18 points -- was fouled on the inbounds, and made one of two foul shots to give SJU a three-point lead. Penn had one final chance to tie, but Ibrahim Jaaber's three-point attempt in traffic fell far short and the Hawks escaped, sending the Saint Joseph's half of the sellout Palestra crowd into a frenzy.
Mark Zoller led Penn with 13 points and added 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. Danley also scored 13 points. However, they were the only Quakers to score in double figures as the team shot just 34.9 percent from the field (15-of-43).
Saint Joseph's (9-8) was not much better, hitting 15 of 40 attempts from the floor (37.5 percent). Jalloh was the only Hawk player to join Ferguson in double digits, with 10 points. Ferguson hit 3-of-4 three-pointers, but the rest of the SJU squad was 2-of-10 beyond the arc. Penn, meanwhile, was just 3-of-19 from long range.
Penn jumped out to a 7-0 lead, with a three-pointer by Zoller opening up the game's scoring and setting off the red and blue streamers from the Penn end of The Palestra.
Saint Joseph's scored nine of the next 11 points, however, tying the game up. Every point was earned Saturday night, as both teams played in-your-face defense and did not allow any room for open looks or drives to the hoop. Penn never trailed in the stanza, but never pulled away, either, and as the teams went to the locker room the Quakers were up, 19-17.
Points came more easily to start the second half, especially for Ferguson. He went on a personal 10-point run, hitting a pair of jumpers inside the arc and then following them up with two more from beyond it. The first trey gave SJU its first lead of the game, 24-23, and that lead bulged to30-25 when Chet Stachitas ended Ferguson's run witha three from the right wing.
Penn respondedwith the game's next nine points, however, as four different players scored during the run. The Quakers held that lead, which fluctuatedbetween one and five points untilZoller hit a layup with 2:39 left to givePenn a 44-39 advantage.
SJU quickly got two back when Ahmad Nivins missed a dunk butgot his own rebound and made the putback. ThenFerguson tied the gameup with 1:32 left, hittinghis third trey of the night.
Penn had the first chance to break the deadlock, but with the shot clock winding down Zoller was unsuccessful on a jumper from the right corner. The ball came right back to him, though, and as he moved into the lane he fell and was called for traveling.
That gave the Hawks the ball, and Jalloh -- who was frustrated all night by excellent defense from David Whitehurst -- delivered.
Penn is back in action next weekend, getting back into Ivy League play with Brown Friday night and Yale Saturday night. Both games will start at 7 p.m. at The Palestra.