Temple and La Salle squared off in Big 5 action over the weekend, as the Owls hung on to beat the Explorers 58-57 in a thrilling game between the two rivals.
But in and of itself, that game doesn’t mean all that much outside the city.
It did, however, bring back an old Philly tradition. The game was played at The Palestra, one of college basketball’s most-storied venues. It’s now Penn’s home court, but it was, for a long time, the building where every Big 5 game was played. In those days, after each team scored their first basket of the game, streamers of the school’s colors were thrown onto the court by the fans.
They did just that on Saturday:
— Josh Einbinder (@ironicJosh) December 6, 2014
— OwlScoop.com (@OwlScoop_com) December 6, 2014
— John Sabino (@littleballz824) December 6, 2014
The practice has been banned since the early 90s, with technicals being assessed to each team for objects being thrown on the floor. On Saturday, when the technicals were called, the coaches for both teams instructed their players to put their foot on the foul line as they shot, making sure the free throws didn’t count.
Head coach John Giannini made it clear after the game that this was an effort to try and get all Big 5 games back into the building it started in.
“I want to play them all here,” Giannini said. “You have to do what us and Temple did. You have to give up one home game every other year to continue one of the best traditions in basketball. But we’re electing not to give up that one game every other year.”
“[The games we play] are two good teams, but without the venue, without the split crowd, without the tradition. We elect not to play the games here, even though I think that the atmosphere at these games is vastly superior to a normal home court situation. And I think the students love it, the alums love it, and the players love it. I don’t know who doesn’t love it, but someone doesn’t love it.”
This isn’t the first time this season that streamers have been thrown on the floor. When Rollie Massimino, who coached Villanova to the 1985 national title, brought his Northwood (Fla.) team to Villanova for an exhibition game, the Villanova students pelted the court with streamers: