Anyone from the Philadelphia area is familiar with the Big Five and how serious those rivalries are. Those teams include Villanova, St. Josephs, Temple, University of Pennsylvania and La Salle.
Any and every Big Five matchup is epic and heated to the core. Last night St. Joes and Villanova met at the Pavillion, Nova’s home court.
The game was a back and forth contest. With under 10 mins left in the game and the contest tied at 47-47, St. Joe’s forward Halil Kanacevic hit a big three to give the Hawks a 50-47 lead.
According to Crossing Broad, this when the game gets interesting and takes several turns. While head back down court after that big three, Kanacevic gave the Nova fans a present in the form of the double middle finger.
That’s right he stuck two middle fingers up in salute. Fast forward about 8 minutes, and with St. Joe’s up 61-60, Kanacevic missed two free throws.
Nova went back down court and hit a bomb of a three. At that point Nova went up 63-61. With 3.5 seconds remaining and his team down, 63-61, Kanacevic was trying to inbound the ball.
Running out of time and hoping to avoid a five second violation, Kanacevic tried to smoothly throw it off Nova forward Maurice Sutton’s leg, instead the ball bounced back, hit Kanacevic and went out-of-bounds.
Nova’s ball with 2 seconds left.
Nova sealed the game got the win,and Halil Kanacevic is the center of embarrassment all around Philly.
St. Joseph’s head coach Phil Martelli spoke about the reported incident after the game.
“I did not see [Kanacevic’s hand gesture] ‘cause there was a timeout called and I saw people coming off the court. I didn’t see it,” St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli said after the game, as reported by CSN Philly’s Matt Haughton.
“One of the things that we will mention to them is that on the road you play to silence. That’s all you want. It certainly wasn’t a raucous atmosphere up until that point, but I’ll look at it and see,” he continued. “I don’t think it made us play faster or out of character. We just made some out-of-character plays and plays that were home runs instead of singles.”
All Big Five fans can be harsh when you are on the road, and Kanacevic is a transfer who just got caught up in the moment of a Philly tradition.
Lesson should be learned.