There's always a feeling of magic in the air when Big Five basketball comes to The Palestra. On Monday night, Penn added the latest notable chapter to one of college basketball's best traditions. The Quakers stunned No. 21 Villanova 76-72 for their first win over the Wildcats since 2018. That game was also the Quakers' last win over a ranked team prior to Monday.
Penn fans celebrated accordingly.
Penn's upset victory caught the attention of a former Big Five coach who posted a big win on Monday.
"You're gonna get pissed, but the second-best basketball arena in the country," said Michigan interim coach Phil Martelli, who led the Wolverines to an 89-73 victory vs. St. John's at Madison Square Garden. " You're well aware the Palestra is the best basketball building in America."
After Monday night's results, it's hard to argue.
Tyler Perkins, an impressive lefty freshman, led the way for Penn (3-1), pouring in 22 points and adding six rebounds. All five Quakers starters scored in double figures, and though shaky free-throw shooting made things close at the end, Clark Slajchert made two with under four seconds left to seal the deal. The Quakers, who were picked fifth in the Ivy League preseason poll, are 3-1 on the young season.
Villanova, meanwhile, shot just 34.4% from the floor -- compared to 51.1% for Penn -- and the Wildcats also connected on nine of 33 of their 3-point attempts(27.3%). Justin Moore had 25 points, tied for the second-most in his career, but it wasn't enough as Villanova fell to 2-1 and will likely slide out of the AP Top 25. The Wildcats have no time to wallow, though, as they host Maryland on Friday, their first opponent from a major conference this season.