The Palestra hosts Big 5 doubleheader

Temple, La Salle, Saint Joe's and Penn all competed in front of an excited crowd for the first time in five years.

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Thursday, December 1, 2022
The Palestra hosts Big 5 doubleheader
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A college basketball tradition returned to The Palestra in University City Wednesday night for a Big 5 doubleheader.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A college basketball tradition returned to The Palestra in University City on Wednesday night for a Big 5 doubleheader.

Temple, La Salle, Saint Joe's and Penn all competed in front of an excited crowd for the first time in five years.

"This is called the cathedral of college basketball and it really is. It's the greatest place in America for college basketball," Lou Beccaria, a La Salle grad, said.

First up was Temple vs. La Salle.

La Salle head coach Fran Dunphy took on his old team.

It featured all of the grit and grind on the court and enthusiasm in the stands you'd expect from two city teams going at it.

We were able to catch up with former Temple basketball star and legend John Baum who explained what it's like for the players to experience this.

"It's just so special. You look at the fact that I played here 45 years ago, and now to come back, I have the same chills that are running through my body when I walked through this building," said Baum.

Temple would go on to win 67-51.

Next, fans saw Penn vs. St. Joe's.

The game went into overtime with St. Joe's hanging on 85-80.

Like for so many at the games Wednesday night, a city match-up brings back some memories.

St. Joe's alum Maryanne Kocel was one of them.

"We've been coming for years since we went to St. Joe's. My husband and I -- we love this place," said Kocel.

She predicted who would win the game.

"Oh, St Joe's of course," said Kocel with a laugh.