Penn to Host Big 5 Doubleheader on January 20

PHILADELPHIA – In honor of its 60th anniversary, the Philadelphia Big 5 has announced that it will go back to its roots with a doubleheader at The Palestra on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

La Salle will host Temple in the first game that night, followed by Penn hosting Saint Joseph’s.

“The Athletics Directors wanted to do something very special to celebrate this unique achievement,” said Steve Bilsky, Executive Director of The Big 5. “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 ADs, coaches and conference commissioners, all of whom displayed tremendous perseverance and flexibility.”

“This is how Philadelphia first fell in love with college basketball,” said Penn’s first-year head coach Steve Donahue, a Philadelphia native. “By seeing two great games and four great teams in one night in what I think is the most intimate setting to watch a game, The Palestra. January 20 should be an incredible evening for college basketball fans, and we are so excited to be a part of it and have the classic ‘Big 5 Doubleheader’ return to The Palestra.”

The Philadelphia Big 5 -- La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple, and Villanova – have, with rare exception, played a full round-robin series every year since the 1955-56 season. In the early days, before the other schools built on-campus facilities, doubleheaders at The Palestra were the norm.

The most recent doubleheader that involved two Big 5 games at The Palestra took place December 4, 2004, as Penn defeated La Salle, 78-67, and Temple edged Villanova, 53-52. The fifth Big 5 team, Saint Joseph’s, also played in the Palestra that day and made it a true City Six event by playing Drexel, falling to the Dragons, 57-49.

Ticket information and other facts about the celebration will be available through the Big 5 office and the websites of LaSalle University and The University of Pennsylvania. All inquiries can be emailed to steve@philadelphiabig5.org.