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PHILADELPHIA BIG 5
In the News: 1955-1956

 

From the Daily Pennsylvanian, February 9, 1956:

 

Second Half Villanova Rally Defeats Quaker Five, 89-74

 

Villanova's Wildcats turned white hot in the last quarter of what had been a nip and tuck ball game and defeated a fighting Pennsylvania five, 89-74, at the Palestra last night.

The Mainliners poured in 27 points in the last seven minutes, a pace so fast that, had they been able to maintain it throughout the game, it would given the Wildcats over 140 points.

The Penn Zone defense fell apart when Marty Milligan started to sink his overhead heaves from 20 to 30 feet out and Jack Kelly drove through time and again for layups. Whenever these two were not shooting, one of the other Wildcats seemed to be in the right place at the right time.

In a vain effort to stop Villanova's effective style of play, the Quakers committed frequent fouls. In this department, too, the Wildcats outplayed Penn as they cashed in on 25 of 38 tries from the free throw line, while the Red and Blue could manage only a bare 50 per cent with 14 of 27.

Milligan Sinks Ten Shots With Milligan leading the way on 10 successful shots in 18 tries, coach Al Severance's men burned the cords for a 42.6% shooting average compared to the Quakers' 34.1 mark. Seven of Milligan's goals were from the outside against the Penn zone.

Villanova gained the opening lead on a lay up by Fahey, but Penn pulled ahead for a 4-3 lead at 2:41. However, the Quakers could not find the range and also lost the ball several times on steals. Villanova capitalized on Red and Blue errors and surged into the lead, at one time opening up an 11-point bulge.

The Quakers were not to be daunted, however, and with the score at 24-13, came back to collect 17 of the next 22 points and take the lead, 30-29, with 3:44 remaining in the first half. Penn then outscored the Wildcats, 10-7, to hold the margin at halftime by a 40-36 count.

Wildcats Move Ahead Dick Csencsitz was the big gun for Coach Ray Stanley's charges with 12 markers, but his three personal fouls were a forewarning of what was to be the Quakers downfall in the second stanza. Although the Cats could sink six foul shots in the entire first half, they converted 19 tries after the mid-game break.

Penn was able to hold its lead until 5:48, when Jack Weissman made two fouls to put Villanova in front to stay at 50-49. The Wildcats succeeded in widening their lead to 60-56 at the 13 minute mark and then caught fire.

With Joe Sturgis getting the only Penn goal, the Wildcats garnered 15 of the game's next 17 points and went into the final five minutes with a commanding 75-58 lead. It was not until the Cats had scored their 81st point that the Quakers could again put together two goals in a row and by then it was far too late. Penn came within ten but the Villanovans made six of the last seven points to clinch their victory.

The loss was the fourth straight for Penn in the City Series and the Wildcats, by winning, gained their first series win against two defeats. Penn received some solace, however, as Sturgis set a season Palestra record by taking 27 rebounds. He also scored 20 points, tops for the Quakers. Milligan gained high game honors, however, with 21.