Feb. 28, 2005
WASHINGTON, DC - Saint Joseph's will visit George Washington on Tuesday, March 1, in a matchup of division leaders. The Hawks, at 12-2 in the Atlantic 10, can clinch the top overall seed in next week's conference tournament with a victory. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. while all of the action can be heard via the Saint Joseph's Sports Network on WPEN-Radio (950 AM).
ABOUT THE HAWKS: Saint Joseph's is 15-10 and owns the Atlantic 10's best record at 12-2. The Hawks clinched at least a tie for their fifth straight A-10 East regular-season title, matching UMass' record of five consecutive from 1992 to 1996, and have earned the top seed in the East Division for the conference tournament. The Hawks can clinch the A-10 Tournament's number-one overall seed with a win tonight.
ABOUT THE COLONIALS: GW used a 30-footer as time expired to score a 62-59 win over Dayton. The Colonials are the leader in the A-10 West with a 10-4 conference record, and an 18-6 overall mark.
TV/RADIO: The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 with Dave O'Brien and Jason Williams calling the action. The Saint Joseph's Sports Network will broadcast the game on WPEN Radio (950 AM) with the team of Tom McCarthy and Joe Lunardi. McCarthy is in his second year as play-by-play announcer and Lunardi is in his 15th as the Hawks' color analyst. The contest can also be heard via streaming audio on the Saint Joseph's website at www.sjuhawks.com and on Sirius Satellite Radio.
NEXT GAME: Sat., March 5 vs. Fordham, Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse, 2 p.m.
INJURY REPORT: John Bryant will be sidelined for at least 3 to 4 weeks with a fracture in his right arm suffered in the second half of the win at Temple on Feb. 22. Diagnostic testing disclosed that the senior has a non-displaced fracture of the radial head in his right arm. The radial head is part of the radius bone and is located at the top of the forearm, near the elbow, on the thumb side. Bryant was fouled by Nehemiah Ingram as he went up for a layin with 11:22 remaining, and landed on his right hip and elbow. The senior co-captain had played just nine minutes. He saw seven minutes of action in the first half despite still recovering from bronchitis, which had sidelined him on Feb. 19. He has begun aggressive rehabilitation in hopes of returning before the end of the season.
SIGNIFICANT LOSS: The loss of John Bryant to a possible season-ending injury is a major blow to the Hawks. Although he averages just three points and three rebounds per game, Bryant's value goes beyond what shows up in the boxscore. Moving into a reserve role after the seventh game of the year, the senior has provided the Hawks with a strong defensive presence plus the intangibles of leadership and experience. He averaged the most minutes of any of the SJU reserves with close to 18 minutes per game.
SHORTENED BENCH: The injury to John Bryant shrinks what is a fairly short bench for coach Phil Martelli. Bryant was averaging the most significant minutes of any reserve, with 17.6 per game. Rob Ferguson and Abdulai Jalloh are the only other players averaging double figures in minutes. In both wins over Temple and the loss at Rhode Island, Martelli used only eight players in the game.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: After nearly three weeks of games in Philadelphia (6 straight), the Hawks are now traveling for two games in four days. After a Feb. 2 game at St. Bonaventure, SJU had six contests in Philadelphia - three home games on campus, two home games at the Palestra, and one game at Temple. Phil Martelli mentioned the unfamiliarity with the road as a factor in the loss to Rhode Island. "We haven't been on the road for nine games, we forgot what it takes on the road. I don't think we were anywhere near men enough to win on the road in that situation."
FROM THE STRIPE: SJU had one of its best days at the foul line at Rhode Island, making 10-of-13, but that wasn't enough to overcome the Rams' 20-for-24 effort. On the season, the Hawks are converting 62.7 percent from the line, but in the last three games, they've gone 40-for-49 (78.4%). Pat Carroll was 7-for-7 in the Rhode Island game, while Chet Stachitas has been hitting 83.3 percent from the line in conference games.
ROB'S ROLE: Rob Ferguson should see more playing time in the absence of John Bryant, and the rookie has shown he's capable of boosting the Hawk offense. Ferguson had nine points on 4-for-5 shooting at Rhode Island and he's converting 47.7 percent of his shots this season. Ferguson is the team's best at the foul line (92.3), although he has only taken 13 free throw attempts. He's scored double figures twice this season.
BATTLE UNDERNEATH: Rebounding and interior defense failed the Hawks at Rhode Island. The Hawks were beat on the boards by a 34-25 margin, and the Rams tallied 28 points in the paint to the Hawks' 16.
NO REST FOR THE WEARY: Four of the Hawks' starters - Chet Stachitas, Pat Carroll, Dwayne Jones and Dwayne Lee - are averaging over 30 minutes per game, with Lee the highest at 36.1 minutes. Although Coach Martelli has gone to the bench quite frequently, none of the reserves have seen substantial blocks of minutes as John Bryant logged the most time before his injury (17.6 mpg).