For more than 30 years, the Sonny Hill Community Involvement Basketball League has been providing college basketball players with an opportunity to play ball in the summer. The league has players from Division I, II and III competing against each other.
The Sonny Hill College League was eventually renamed the Hank Gathers College League in memory of the late Hank Gathers, who starred in the league during the late ’80s. The league plays its games at Charles Audenreid High School, 32nd and Tasker streets. The college league has two games beginning Tuesday, July 17 at 5:30 p.m., featuring some of the best college basketball players in the Philadelphia area.
In taking a look back over the years, there have been a number of players who participated in one of the country’s best summer basketball leagues for college players. The list of some of the great players that have played in the league is very impressive.
Aaron McKie/ Temple
McKie grew up in the Sonny Hill League program. McKie played against his good friend and teammate Eddie Jones from Temple in the 1993 college league championship. McKie and Jones put on a show with both players scoring more than 30 points each. McKie’s team came out on top by four points in one of the league’s most exciting games.
McKie, former Simon Gratz and Temple star, was a key member of the 2001 76ers team that reached the NBA Finals. He is currently an assistant coach with the Sixers.
Jeffrey Clark/Saint Joseph’s
Clark was one of the early standouts in the college league. He was a terrific guard at Saint Joseph’s. A couple years ago, he was inducted into the Big 5 Hall of Fame. Clark is now a college basketball official.
Lionel Simmons/La Salle
Simmons had some great summers in the college league. Simmons improved his game each year at La Salle. In 1990, he was named college basketball’s player of the year. He scored over 3,000 points and grabbed more than 1,000 rebounds in his career with the Explorers. He was a first round pick of the Sacramento Kings. He played seven years in the NBA.
Richardson was a McDonald’s All-American coming out of Ben Franklin High School. In 1984, he led the Electrons to the Public League championship. He played four years at UCLA. In 1989, he was the first ever draft pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves. He played 10 years in the NBA. He came back to play in the college league to play with a lot of his colleagues during the summer.
Bo Kimble/Loyola Marymount
Kimble had a tremendous career at Loyola Marymount. He averaged 32.9 points a game his senior year. Kimble, a 6-foot-4 guard, was the eighth pick overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 1990 NBA draft. He had some huge games in the college league.
Hank Gathers/Loyola Marymount
Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble were a great inside-outside combination at Dobbins before they played together in college. Gathers was a great scorer, rebounder and defender. In 1989, he led the nation in scoring (32.7) and rebounding (13.7). Gathers always hustled at both ends of the floor.
Jones made his college debut in the college league. He was an explosive player in the open court. Jones and McKie played on three NCAA tournament teams at Temple. In 1993, they led the Owls to the Final Eight. In 1994, Jones was a first round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers. He played 14 years in the NBA.
Lowry scored 45 points in a college league championship game. Lowry, a 6-foot, 205-pound point guard, did a great job of penetrating and getting to the basket. In 2006, the former Villanova star was a first round pick of the Memphis Grizzlies. He spent the last three years with the Houston Rockets. He was recently traded to the Toronto Raptors and is one of the quickest playmakers in the NBA.
Blackshear was a magnificent basketball player. He was one of the early standouts in the college league. He had a great college career at Cheyney. The Wolves were one of the country’s best Division II teams during his career.
Allen was a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year. The college league prepared him for the Ivy League season. Allen played in the NBA and played professional basketball in Europe. He is now the head coach at Penn.
Evans was one of the top point guards in the college league. Evans, a former West Philadelphia High star, had a great career at Temple. He played on the Owls 1988 team, which was ranked No. 1 in the country.
Williams played some great basketball in the college league. He had a solid career at Villanova. He played 11 years in the NBA, mostly with the Toronto Raptors. Williams played for the Raptors in an exciting seven-game series with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2001. The Sixers won the series in seven games. Williams is currently a scout for the Raptors.
Anderson was a tenacious defender. He could steal the ball and take it coast to coast. He was an exciting college player at Drexel. He led the Dragons to the NCAA tournament. He scored 2,208 career points. He also played for the San Antonio Spurs.
Doug Overton/La Salle
Overton used the college league to polish his skills. He played four years at La Salle. Overton scored 1,795 career points with the Explorers. He handed out 671 assists at La Salle. Overton played several years in the NBA. He is currently an assistant coach with the Brooklyn Nets. His son, Miles Overton, plays for St. Joseph’s Prep.
Hamilton used to make the trip down to the college league from Coatesville during the summer months. The 6-foot-6 guard led Connecticut to an NCAA championship. He won an NBA championship with the Detroit Pistons and currently plays for the Chicago Bulls.
Steve Black/La Salle
Black was a tremendous shooter. He could really connect from long range. He was a magnificent player at La Salle. He scored 2,012 career points, averaged 19.7 points a game and is a member of the Big 5 Hall of Fame.
Larry Stewart/Coppin State
Stewart won a college league championship in 1988. He played his college basketball at Coppin State for legendary coach Ron “Fang” Mitchell. He led the Eagles to the NCAA tournament. Stewart played in the NBA for the Washington Bullets, Vancouver Grizzlies and Seattle SuperSonics. He also played overseas. Larry had two other brothers, Stephen and Lynard Stewart, who also played in the college league. Stewart is currently an assistant coach at Bowie State.
Greer can really shoot the basketball. He had some big games in the college league. The 6-foot-1 guard had an outstanding career at Engineering and Science and Temple. He scored 2,099 points during his college career. Greer led the Owls to the 2001 Final Eight. He played one season for the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA. He has played for several professional basketball teams in Europe. Greer played in Russia this past season.
Wayns has played a lot of basketball in the college league. He played every summer during his career at Villanova. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound guard, can play two positions. He led the Wildcats in scoring tallying 17.6 points a game. He also averaged 4.6 assists a game. Wayns is currently playing for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
Christmas was a scoring machine in the college league. In fact, he had quite a career at Temple, where he was one of the top scorers in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The 6-foot-5 guard is playing for the Boston Celtics summer league team.
Jordan was a sensational player at Penn. He helped the Quakers win Ivy League championships in 1999 and 2000. The Penn backcourt ace played some great basketball in the college league. Jordan has played professional basketball in Israel, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Greece.
Collins really benefited from playing in the college league. The 6-foot-6 guard gradually improved his game throughout his playing days at Temple. In 2006, he was a first round pick of the New York Knicks. He also played for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Tyndale won a college league championship in 2007. He was the 2008 Big 5 Co-Most Outstanding Player of the Year. He scored 1,729 points, 733 rebounds and 377 assists during his college career. He has played pro basketball in Europe as well as in the NBDL.
Bruiser Flint/Saint Joseph’s
Flint played extremely well in the college league. He had a great career at Saint Joseph’s. He was one of the best point guards in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Flint is now the head basketball coach at Drexel.
Blackwell was a regular in the college league. The 6-foot-4 guard could get his shot off any time. He knew how to get open. He had a great understanding of the game. Blackwell had a brilliant career at Temple scoring 1,708 points. In 1987, he was a second round pick of the San Antonio Spurs.
Jackson looked forward to playing in the college league. Jackson was named the 1997 Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year at Temple. He played seven years in the NBA including two seasons for the Philadelphia 76ers. He was inducted into the Big 5 Hall of Fame this year.
Moore played a lot of basketball in the college league. The 6-foot-4 guard had a fine career at Temple. He was named first-team All-Atlantic 10 Conference. He averaged 17.3 points a game. Moore will play in The Basketball Alumni Legends League (The-Ball) game at Saint Joseph’s on August 5.
Alvin Williams knows basketball has taken him a long way in his life. Williams was a terrific player at Germantown Academy and Villanova. He had a fine NBA career playing for the Toronto Raptors.
Williams wants to make a difference now for a lot of kids playing basketball in the city. That’s why he’s organized The Academy of Hoops, which will hold tour with several local and NBA players for student-athletes ages 11–18 beginning Saturday, July 28 at 9 a.m. They will be going to community recreation centers throughout the city giving the kids an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of basketball. They will also have a chance to interact with the kids.
“Basically, The Academy of Hoops is for the kids,” Williams said. “I wanted to do something positive in the community. I remember growing up and playing basketball in the Sonny Hill League. I played for John Hardnett. I saw how the game had a big impact on so many players.
“I wanted to do something for these kids around the city. Our tour is going to go to Mt. Airy, West Philly and South Philly. We’ll be able to reach a lot of players throughout the city. Right now, I’m going to have Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors) and Cuttino Mobley (former NBA standout) helping me out. I’ve been in touch with Augustin Woodlin, Jonathan Haynes, Jason Lawson and Brian Lee to help us out.”
Williams will stress more than just playing the game. He plans to give instruction, but talk about the various opportunities basketball can offer the kids. He also plans to remind the youngsters about the importance of giving back to their communities.
The kids will participate in basketball skills workshops and receive Reebok basketball apparel. Youngsters are required to register at the recreation centers to gain entrance to each of the sessions. They should contact the Department of Recreation at (215) 683-3674, or go to the following recreation centers directly for registration information: Mantua Recreation Center, Martin Luther King, Rivera Recreation Center and Mallery Recreation Center.
The tour not only gets kids involved with playing basketball, but also brings attention to the number of neighborhood recreation centers in the city.
“We have a lot of different venues,” Williams said. “We wanted to reach as many kids as we can.”
When the Philadelphia 76ers need a basket, they usually get the ball in the hands of a player who can make a big shot. On most nights, Lou Williams has been there for the Sixers. It could be a three-point shot, a drive to the basket or a running one hander. Williams provides the Sixers with a much-needed scoring punch off the bench.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound shooting guard, has emerged as one of the best sixth men in the NBA. Williams’ scoring prowess has moved him into a special category. Doug Collins, Sixers head coach, knows the team has a great player that can make a big difference.
“He’s one of the top sixth men in the NBA,” Collins said. “Obviously, Jason Terry (Dallas Mavericks), Lou and probably James Harden (Oklahoma City Thunder) to me really come to mind. I wouldn’t want to short change anybody else, but those three guys and what they do for their teams.
“I’ve said all along it takes a special guy like Lou to come in cold off that bench and do what he does for us on a nightly basis. When Lou plays well, we’re pretty good because it means he’s on his game. He gives me options. It means I can have Jrue (Holiday) out there. Then, I got Dre (Andre Iguodala) and I got Evan (Turner). When he plays well and is scoring, he’s gives me a lot of options to finish up games.”
Which is what Williams did Friday night in a crucial game against divisional rival Boston. Williams came off the bench to score 19 points on 6 of 13 shooting to help the Sixers take the season series from the Celtics in a 99-86 win at the Wells Fargo Center.
Williams is playing really well. It’s not too often that your leading scorer is a key reserve. But that’s Lou Williams. He’s averaging 15.7 points a game and is very comfortable in his role as the team’s sixth man.
“It’s my job to come in and be aggressive,” Williams said. “It just allows me an opportunity to give the group some energy and a presence off the bench. It’s been one of those things we’ve strived on this year. We had Thad (Thaddeus Young) and Evan (Turner). Now Evan is in the starting lineup. So, we have Jodie (Meeks) now and we’re trying to work him. It’s definitely something we’ve strived for this year.”
Williams is in his sixth season with the Sixers. He was a second round pick in the 2005 NBA draft coming out of South Gwinnett High School in Snellville, Ga., right near Atlanta. He became the first high school player chosen by the Sixers since Darryl Dawkins, who was the fifth pick overall in the first round in 1975.
Williams was a McDonald’s All-American. He was the winner of the Naismith Award, which goes to the best high school player in the nation. He scored 3,338 points in his scholastic career. He averaged 27.5 points a game his senior year. Williams has always been able to put the ball in the basket.
As a sixth man, he knows how to prepare himself for coming off the bench. He follows the flow of the game before he goes to the scorer’s table and comes into the game. He tries to get a feel for what’s going on to give him that edge.
“It has a lot to do with pre-game and looking at scouting reports,” Williams said. “You look at how certain defenders want to play you and who you have in front of you. It changes night in and night out.”
Williams, 25, has improved his skills each year with the Sixers. During the summer months, he really works on his game. He plays in the Rankin Anderson Summer Basketball League with a number of local NBA players like Kyle Lowry, Jason Thompson and others. He put himself in position to be considered for the league’s Sixth Man award.
The last Sixer to win the award was Aaron McKie, former Simon Gratz and Temple standout, who helped the Sixers get to the NBA Finals in 2001. McKie received the award during that remarkable season. Williams isn’t thinking much about the award. He’s just trying to remained focus on helping the Sixers prepare for the NBA playoffs.
“I haven’t thought about it,” Williams said. If happens, it would be great. I never set out to accomplish individual goals. If it happens in the course of us winning some games, I’ll be more than gracious.”
The top high school basketball teams in the city will be competing in the FamJuice City Scholastic Play-by-Play Classic at Ben Franklin High School, Broad and Green Streets, on Sunday, Jan. 27. There will be a tripleheader beginning with Central (11-2) facing Communications Tech (11-2) at 1:30 p.m.
In the second game, Maryland’s Princeton Day (17-4) will battle Vaux (13-3) at 3:15 p.m. In the final contest, Martin Luther King (16-0) will play Math, Civics & Sciences (15-0) at 5 p.m.
The classic features some outstanding players. Rysheed Jordan, Vaux High’s outstanding shooting guard, leads the Public League in scoring. Jordan is averaging 24.9 points a game. The 6-foot-3 senior is being recruited by UCLA, Temple and St. John’s.
Jeremiah Worthem, a 6-foot-7 forward from Math, Civics & Sciences, is averaging 20.1 points a game. Worthem has already given a verbal commitment to play his college basketball at Robert Morris. Other standouts include: Quadir Welton (Math, Civics & Sciences), David Johnson and Terrence Brown (Communications Tech), Gregory Bennett and Raquan Brown-Johnson from Martin Luther King, Kyle Lafferty and Kahlil Williams (Central), Amir Butler and Sammy Foreman (Vaux).
Aquille Carr, Baltimore’s sensation 5-foot-6 guard, will be playing in this classic. Carr has already committed to Seton Hall.
For more information on the classic, go to www.playbyplayclassics.com.
Kyle Lowry, Houston Rockets guard and former Villanova star, surprised contestants in the 100 Black men of America’s African-American History Challenge with a gift of $5,000 from his new company, FamJuice. The competition is a highlight of this week’s National 100 Black Men of America’s 26th annual conference in Atlanta. The organization is using the funds to send three student contestants from the Philadelphia area to Atlanta next week to compete in the competition.
NCAA to debut Title IX Anniversary documentary
The NCAA, in conjunction with ESPN and Creative Street Entertainment, will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX and recognize individuals who helped shape the ground-breaking equity law with the documentary premiere “Sporting Chance.” The documentary will debut on ESPN2 on June 23, the anniversary date of Title IX, at noon. The one-hour documentary gives the story of the landmark passage of Title IX and how this law has increased opportunities and athletic participation for women over the last 40 years.
Temple football single game tickets on sale Monday, June 18
Single-game tickets for Temple football’s six home games this season will go on sale Monday, June 18 at 10 a.m. Individual game tickets will be available through the Lincoln Financial Field box office and Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com.
Single-game ticket prices in advance are $20 (end zone), $30 (sideline), and $45 (club level). End zone ticket prices will increase $2 on the day of games. For the game against Rutgers on Oct. 20, ticket prices are $25 (end zone), $35 (sideline) and $50 (club level). For season ticket information go to www.OwlsTix.com.
Temple’s opener with Villanova in the fourth annual Mayor’s Cup is set for August 31 at Lincoln Financial Field at 7 p.m. Under the guidance of second-year head coach Steve Addazio, this season’s team returns 35 lettermen, including nine starters.
Lavoy Allen coming to Villanova sports broadcasting camp
Philadelphia 76ers rookie forward and former Temple star Lavoy Allen will be a special guest at the Sports Broadcasting Camp at Villanova on June 20 at 3 p.m. Allen will respond to questions in a simulated press conference with an expected 100 boys and girls, ages 10–18. For more information on the camp, go to www.playbyplaycamps.com.
Maalik Wayns grew up playing basketball in Philly. Wayns, former Roman Catholic and Villanova basketball star, is a big fan of the 76ers. He had a chance to show the Sixers what he could do on Monday at PCOM in a pre-draft workout with prospects Zack Rosen (Penn), Terrell Stoglin (Maryland) and Scott Machado (Iona).
“It was a good (workout),” Wayns said. “It’s my hometown team. It’s the team I grew up watching. I’m a Sixers fan. It’s like a dream come true. I’m just living the dream right now. I’m getting a work out. I’m getting to meet guys like Mr. (Rod) Thorn (president of basketball operations) Sonny Hill (executive adviser) and Coach (Tony) DiLeo (senior vice president of basketball operations), I think it went great.”
Wayns was an early entry candidate, leaving Villanova following his junior season. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound point guard, was named second-team All-Big East. He averaged 17.6 points, 4.6 assists and 3.8 rebounds a game. Wayns led the Wildcats in scoring and assists. He had 39 points with 13 rebounds and six assists against Cincinnati.
The Wildcats’ backcourt ace has been watching rookie Lavoy Allen play a key role in the Sixers’ playoff run. Wayns played against Allen during his college career at Temple. Allen, a 6-foot-10, 245-pound power forward, was a second-round pick of the Sixers in last year’s NBA draft. Allen has inspired Wayns this NBA postseason.
“I’ve watched Lavoy a whole a lot,” Wayns said. “We played AAU together. I heard a whole lot about him last year. Guys said he couldn’t make it. He wouldn’t be drafted, this and that. Now, he’s playing better than guys who went in the top 20 or top 30. It’s not about where you start. It’s about how you progress and how you finish. I think he’s proven a lot of people wrong, as did a lot of guys who went in the second round. It’s all about your opportunity and how you take advantage of it.”
According to the website nbadraft.net, Wayns is going to the Portland Trail Blazers with the No. 41 pick in the second round. He tries not to concern himself with the NBA mock drafts.
“I really don’t pay any attention to it,” he said. “I know the teams that are bringing me in are interested in me. I just try to go and workout and do my best and just take it from there.”
It’s been a busy time for Wayns. This wasn’t his first NBA pre-draft workout. It won’t be his last either. He has a hectic schedule ahead of him. The NBA Draft Lottery will take place on May 30. The NBA draft will be held on June 28.
“I was just in New Jersey for the Nets’ Combine,” he said. “I’m headed to L-A right after this (workout) for the Clippers. Then, I’m going to Golden State (Warriors). Then, I got like 15 more (workouts).”
Wayns would like to join other Villanova products in the NBA such as Randy Foye (Los Angeles Clippers), Dante Cunningham (Memphis Grizzlies) and Kyle Lowry (Houston Rockets). He talks regularly to Lowry, who has emerged as a solid point guard in the NBA.
“I talk to Kyle like two or three times a week,” Wayns said. “He always gives me good advice. He wishes good luck. He tells me what to do and what not to do.”
Wayns knows how to play this game. Next month, he could be hearing his name called during the NBA draft.
Rick Clancy, Clancy Lowry Ventures president and Kyle Lowry, vice president, marketers of FAMJUICETM, recently announced the company’s sponsorship of the Daniel E. Rumph II Foundation’s seventh annual “Save the Next Bright Star” basketball tournament to combat sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in young athletes.
This year’s tournament started on August 9 and concludes on August 13 at the Daniel E. Rumph Recreation Center, 100 E. Johnson St. in Germantown. The Daniel E. Rumph II Foundation was organized in 2005, in response to the tragic death of Western Kentucky University starting point guard Danny Rumph. Danny collapsed from a rare heart disease called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy during a pick-up game at a recreation center near his Philadelphia home. The recreation center, which now bears his name, had no automated external defibrillators (AED) or CPR-trained individuals on site.
“He died shooting the winning shot of the game. When I heard the news, I couldn’t believe it,” said Lowry, Toronto Raptors starting point guard. “Pledging FAMJUICE’s support so this won’t happen to other young players is one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made.”
The “Save the Next Bright Star” Tournament helps raise funds to save the lives of young athletes who, like Danny, are unaware that they have (HCM). The disease, which has no warning symptoms, is often undetected until a fatal episode. To raise awareness of the disease, the organization provides screenings for young athletes and AEDs and CPR trainings to recreation centers throughout the Tri-State area.
Several changes made on Villanova coaching staff
Doug Martin, the associate head coach at Paul VI High School in Virginia, joins the Villanova basketball staff as an assistant coach. In addition, John Shackleton is the new strength coach for men’s and women’s basketball. He replaces Lon Record, who accepted a position at the University of Illinois earlier this summer.
Meanwhile, Doug West, who served two stints as a Wildcat assistant from 2007 to 2010 and 2011–12, is departing Villanova to pursue other opportunities. West is Villanova’s fifth all-time leading scorer with 2,037 points.
Martin joins the Wildcats after establishing himself as a rising coach at Paul VI High School in Virginia and with the AAU program, Team Takeover. Martin played collegiate basketball at UW-Green Bay for coach Dick Bennett from 1991 to 1995 and later served as an assistant coach for the LaCrosse Bobcats of the Continental Basketball Association (1997–2000). He also played professionally in Australia and South America.
Shackleton is a former assistant strength coach at Villanova, who was part of the football strength staff during the summer following the Wildcats’ 2009 NCAA FCS championship campaign. He then went on to become an assistant coach at the University of Pittsburgh and Princeton University before returning to the Main Line this summer.
Penn State announces changes to 2012 football uniforms
When Penn State’s football team opens the season, the Nittany Lions will wear uniforms featuring a blue ribbon to support all victims of child abuse. Also, for the first time, the names of each football player will adorn their jersey in recognition of their resolve and dedication to the team and the school.
“The Penn State community stands with all victims of child abuse,” said acting athletic director David Joyner in a statement. “Coach Bill O’Brien and his football team made it clear they want to support victims and bring more awareness to this issue, which affects so many.”
“I’m proud that our players want to be part of the university’s efforts to help victims of child abuse,” O’Brien said. “We hope our fans join us in wearing blue ribbons to all Penn State home games. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of children everywhere.”
Coach O’Brien says after speaking with some members of the team, they made the decision together to add names to the uniforms. Players indicated the names on their jerseys also mean they will hold each other accountable to uphold the traditions of Penn State football, both on and off the field.
“We want our fans to know and recognize these young men,” O’Brien said. “They have stuck together during tough times, and I commend them for the leadership they have shown. Moving forward, I’m deeply committed to honoring Penn State’s traditions, while building a bright future for our football program.”
Penn State’s first game will be Sept. 1 against Ohio University at Beaver Stadium. The kickoff will be at noon.
Scola, Lowry lead Rockets past Sixers 93-87
HOUSTON — Kyle Lowry had a scraped right forearm, a sore right ankle and a smile on his face after the Houston Rockets pulled out a grinding victory over his hometown team on Wednesday night.
Lowry scored 13 points and converted two crucial three point-plays in the final two minutes of the Rockets' 93-87 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, Houston's third straight victory.
The Philly native and former Villanova star took hard shots on both drives, but the points turned out to be the margin of victory in both teams' final game before the All-Star break.
"I hit the floor a few times but it doesn't matter, we got the win," said Lowry, who briefly left in the first quarter after spraining his right ankle.
Luis Scola had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Kevin Martin scored 16 points for Houston, which snapped a four-game home-court losing streak to Philadelphia.
The Rockets head into the break at 20-14, and in much better shape than last season, when they were five games under .500 at All-Star weekend.
"I'm never going to say we're overachieving, or underachieving," Lowry said. "I think we're a good team, and I think we're going where we're supposed to be going."
The 76ers, meanwhile, are limping into the break on a five-game losing streak, and their top two rebounders — Spencer Hawes (left Achilles strain) and Elton Brand (right thumb sprain) are out indefinitely.
"I would say that we'd be happy to be where we are now, when the season started," Andre Iguodala said. "We put ourselves in position to be one of the top teams in our division. We are where we want to be, but not playing the way we want to now. Every team is going through tough stretches like this."
Nikola Vucevic scored a career-high 18 points and Thaddeus Young had 15 for the 76ers, who lost for only the second time in their past nine meetings with Houston.
Philly was held without a 3-pointer for the first time this season, missing all nine attempts. The Rockets went 5 for 18 from 3-point range, with all but one of the makes coming in the second half.
The lead changed hands five times in the final five minutes before Lowry drove into Vucevic for a layup, drew the foul and made the free throw for an 86-84 lead.
Louis Williams made a free throw with 1:38 remaining, but Lowry then converted another three-point play, drawing a foul on Young this time, with 59 seconds left to make it 89-85.
Williams slipped on the baseline in front of the Houston bench, the 76ers' 13th turnover, and the Rockets hit their free throws in the last minute to preserve the victory.
"Good thing we won," Martin said. "That would've been a bad loss for us. We played with a little bit of fire."
Lowry also had eight rebounds and Chandler Parsons scored 12 points for the Rockets. Williams scored 17 points for the 76ers.
Both teams shot poorly early, and neither had scored 10 points midway through the first quarter. Lowry left four minutes into the game after stepping on Scola's foot, and he limped to the locker room with athletics trainer Keith Jones.
Houston found its shooting touch first and took a 19-16 lead. Lowry returned to the bench with Jones in the last minute of the quarter, and was back on the floor for the start of the second.
The Rockets picked up the offensive pace in the third quarter, stretching the lead to eight points. The 76ers attacked Houston's small lineup inside, answering with a 10-0 run that gave them a 56-54 lead.
Houston went cold late in the third quarter, and mustered only 16 points on 7-for-17 shooting. The 76ers scored 14 of their 24 third-quarter points in the paint and led 65-61 heading to the fourth.
Martin swished back-to-back 3-pointers near the nine-minute mark to keep Houston within three. After Thaddeus Young scored inside, Martin hit another 3 and Patrick Patterson scored to tie it at 75-all.
Notes: The Rockets have won 24 consecutive games when holding their opponent to less than 90 points. ... Lowry missed his first free-throw attempt, after making his previous 25. ... The 76ers dropped to 7-2 in the second game of back-to-back sets this season. ... Philly coach Doug Collins couldn't give a timetable for Hawes' return from a left Achilles strain. Collins said Hawes will visit a doctor in Los Angeles during the All-Star break and wear a protective boot. -- (AP)