This evening, after an over 2 week delay, St. Joe’s met Villanova on their court. The final score, 88-68 is not indicative of the intensity and the fight that that was the Holy War. There were no fans in the stands which makes the game tonight not seem at all like the Holy Wars of old. Our Dave Malandra, @davemreports, was able to ask the coaches about the lack of fans. Coach Lange didn’t think it was too distracting but coach Wright went on to say that this did not feel like a Big 5 game, especially a game against St. Joe’s. He went on to say that this game has become a type of get together. Families and friends have people on both sides.
It is definitely something special for the City of Philadelphia. 5 universities from different leagues play each other on a home and home schedule. This is unique to Philadelphia. This is also the 9th loss in a row for St. Joe’s to Villanova. This looks bad but in this time Nova won the national championship 2 times and advanced deep into the NCAA tournament each year. Villanova has won the Big 5 six of the last seven years.
Tonight’s game was not as one-sided as the score would have you believe. St. Joe’s had been within 8 points with a few minutes left in the game but they ran out of steam and Villanova did not miss from the foul line. St. Joe’s did have to make several runs to keep it close. I think this is where fans would have made a difference, either to cheer Nova on to cement the win or to bring more life to St. Joe’s to push them over the hump to victory.
This will go down as a classic St. Joe vs. Nova game. Many of these battles leave the players and the fans a little spent. This was no different for me. With 3 minutes to go and the Hawks were only down by 8 and hitting the 3, a St. Joe fan’s heart beats a lit faster. Your throat gets sore from yelling. At the end of the day, win or lose, life goes on, fortunately much calmer than in the older years but that is for another article.