The City Series began in 1955. Through all the years, no team has ever won 13 consecutive Big 5 games. After burying Penn on Saturday at the Ski Lodge, 87-61, Villanova will have the opportunity to be the first when the Wildcats play at Temple on Sunday night.
Villanova's last Big 5 loss was its first City Series game of the 2004-05 season, when the Wildcats lost to Temple at the Palestra. The 'Cats won the next three and have gone 4-0 each of the last 2 seasons.
If they do get the record, some might give them a small asterisk because of that loss to Drexel last season. But, until Drexel is allowed into the Big 5, the City Series is the City Series. And the 'Cats (5-1, 1-0 Big 5) have dominated.
The great Penn teams from 1972 to '74 hold the record with 12 consecutive wins. Penn actually won 19 of 20 over 5 seasons from 1969 to '74.
This group of Quakers (2-6, 0-1) was overmatched athletically. The game was never close at any time. The 'Cats forced 27 turnovers and led at the half, 53-22. Scottie Reynolds had 21 for Villanova.
The Wildcats are a very dubious call at the end of last Sunday's North Carolina State game from being unbeaten. That would be nice. If they get this record, that could stand the test of time.
There is no reason to think any of 'Nova's talented young players have any sense of the history they can create. But coach Jay Wright made regular trips to the Palestra to watch City Series games as a kid. He will let them know what the next Big 5 win could mean - for them and for players like Randy Foye and Allan Ray who got this streak started.
Hawks blow up in 2nd half
There wasn't much confusion about Phil Martelli's intentions in the second half of Saint Joseph's game against Penn State at the Palestra. The Hawks were going to play their starters until such time as they had a big enough lead that they could sit down and get ready for Holy Cross tomorrow, the Hawks' fourth game in 8 days.
Those starters outscored Penn State by 21 points in the second half until coming out with 2 minutes left in the Hawks' 79-67 win. It was 28-28 at the half until the Hawks exploded for a 51-point second half, all but one of those points by the starters.
Ahmad Nivins (25 points, 10 rebounds) got off early and had his way around the rim. Rob Ferguson, a 41 percent three-point shooter the last two seasons, had missed 20 of 25 threes until hitting two in the second half on the way to 15 points. Darrin Govens (15) and Pat Calathes (14) also got double figures as the Hawks' starters outscored Penn State's, 75-46.
The Hawks' bench has scored just 35 points this season and was outscored 21-4 by the Nits. But if the starters are going to dominate, that might not matter.
The Hawks' first game at the Palestra this season attracted a near sellout of 8,276. It was quite competitive for a half, but the Hawks (4-2) turned it on in the second half and Penn State (3-4) simply could not keep up the pace.
Forgettable 48 hours
Life was pretty good for Drexel when the Dragons took the court in Fairfax, Va., on Thursday night. By the time 48 hours had passed, the Dragons had to be dazed. George Mason and Creighton outscored them, 157-86. It was 71-33 in the first halves.
Mason won, 85-38. Creighton came to the Daskalakas Athletic Center and won, 72-48. In the two games, the Dragons (5-3) had 45 turnovers and 33 field goals. Won't win many that way. Won't come close against two very good teams. Creighton is 5-0. The game Drexel won at Creighton last season is a nice, but now distant memory.
The Dragons were within 12 with 6 1/2 minutes left when Frank Elegar fouled out. Two technicals quickly followed. Six made free throws later, the Dragons were officially out of it. *