Quakers Close Out 50th Anniversary of Big 5 With Hawks

Penn-SJU Game Notes in PDF Format

PHILADELPHIA - Following Wednesday’s 73-65 win over La Salle, Penn head coach Fran Dunphy did not have many words for his players in the locker room. Typically, he downplayed the milestone of his 300th win, and instead chose to look ahead to Saturday (his first opportunity for Win No. 301).

He talked about how this game has been sold out for weeks, and how there is nothing like a full house at The Palestra.

He talked about the opponent -- Saint Joseph’s, Penn’s final Philadelphia Big 5 foe in this, the 50th year of the intracity rivalry.

He talked about the luminaries and historical figures who will be back this weekend, as the Big 5 celebrates 50 years with a gala event Friday night and continues the festivities throughout Saturday’s game.

He pointed to two of his assistant coaches, Matt Langel and Shawn Trice, and talked about how they played on Quaker teams that were integral parts of the winning legacy the program has continued during his tenure. Then he challenged his current charges to add to that legacy.

The whole talk lasted less than two minutes.

Given the looks on the faces and the nodding heads of his players as he finished, though, this group did not need to hear any more. Certainly their recent play gives evidence that they are ready to make their own history -- wins in seven of the last eight games, including two blowout wins in Ivy League play; just the seventh 100-point performance in Dunphy’s 17-year career; and most recently the Quakers’ first Big 5 win of the 2005-06 campaign.

They know that, Saturday night, they will play Saint Joseph’s at The Palestra in a game awash with nostalgia. They will take the court in arguably the most historic venue in college basketball, in front of a packed house that will include many of the faces who built the Big 5 into the greatest non-conference rivalry in college basketball.

In other words, they know they get to be part of a night a Philly guy like Dunphy -- 300 wins in and counting -- still considers a dream to be a part of.

The Fun Fact
With Saint Joseph’s in the house, let’s talk about Penn’s player from St. Joseph’s Prep. Junior forwardMark Zollerhad a career-high 25 points Wednesday against La Salle. The reigning Big 5 Player of the Week and honorable mention All-Ivy selection from a year ago has started the last 10 games, averaging 14.4 points and 6.1 rebounds; in the last six games, he is averaging 17.5 ppg. Zoller has also been on fire from the field—his percentage is .567 for the last six games, including an astounding .717 (33-of-46) during this four-game wnning streak. In addition, he has hit seven of his last nine three-point shots; prior to this year he had 10 treys total during his first two seasons!

The Series with Saint Joseph's
• Saturday’s meeting between Penn and Saint Joseph’s represents the 75th meeting between these rivals, with the Hawks boasting a 41-33 lead in the series.

• Penn won last year’s meeting here at The Palestra, 78-67; prior to that, Saint Joseph’s had won four in a row over the Quakers.

• Penn enters this week with an all-time record of 106-136 against the other Big 5 schools, adding Wednesday’s 73-65 win over La Salle with losses to Temple (50-46) and Villanova (62-55) earlier this season. Dunphy is 24-37 in Big 5 action as the Quakers’ head coach.
La Salle37-22 (Dunphy 13-4)
Saint Joseph’s33-41 (5-11)
Temple18-37 (3-13)
Villanova18-35 (3-9)

• Penn enters Saturday’s game with an all-time mark of 100-116 against teams from the Atlantic 10 Conference, including losses to Temple (50-46) and Fordham (78-63) and the La Salle win from this season.
Dayton0-1 (Dunphy 0-1)
Fordham2-5 (0-2)
G. Washington0-1 (0-1)
La Salle37-22 (13-4)
Massachusetts1-3 (0-2)
Rhode Island1-1 (0-1)
St. Bonaventure2-1
Saint Joseph’s33-41 (5-11)
Saint Louis0-1 (0-1)
Temple18-37 (3-13)

Download: MBK Notes 16 (SJU).pdf