March 29, 2005
By IRA PODELL
AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK - Pat Carroll scored 13 of his 24 points in the second half, and Saint Joseph's won for the 21st time in 2005 by beating Memphis 70-58 in the NIT semifinals on Tuesday night.
Carroll, the Atlantic 10 co-player of the year, was 6-of-9 from 3-point range - including 3-of-4 in the second half, when the Hawks pulled away behind 56.3-percent shooting.
Dwayne Jones added 13 points and 14 rebounds - eight offensive - for Saint Joseph's, 21-5 since Jan. 1.
The Hawks (24-11), who had to win four games just to get to Madison Square Garden, will face either Maryland or South Carolina for the tournament championship on Thursday.
Memphis won three times at home but couldn't get past the Hawks, who continue to prove that they are a strong national program.
Saint Joseph's reached the regional finals of the NCAA tournament last year behind the star guard tandem of Jameer Nelson and Delonte West, who now play in the NBA.
Now, the Hawks are enjoying the longest postseason run in school history.
John Bryant grabbed seven rebounds for Saint Joseph's and continues to give the Hawks a lift since returning from a broken arm.
Rodney Carney scored 21 points, 17 in the second half, and freshman guard Darius Washington added 14 for Memphis (22-16).
Washington finished 23-of-26 from the free throw line in the NIT. It was his two misses with no time remaining in the Conference USA championship game that sent Memphis to this tournament instead of the NCAA.
Memphis used a 12-5 run during the first 5:30 of the second half to make it 37-35. But the Hawks responded with a 10-2 spurt to push their lead back to 10 points.
The Tigers used pressure to get back into the game after trailing 32-23 at halftime. But the Hawks used great second-half shooting to secure the victory.
After Washington made two free throws, Carroll responded with a 3 to make it 40-35.
Dwayne Lee made a pretty pass inside to Robert Ferguson for a layup that made it 46-37.
Carroll took over late with two 3s that pushed the advantage to 66-55 with 1:57 remaining.
After the Saint Joseph's run, Memphis never got closer than six points the rest of the way. The Hawks' defense was the reason why.
Memphis averaged 71.8 points, but was held under 60 for the seventh time this season. Saint Joseph's is 22-2 when holding opponents to 60 points or fewer, and the Tigers are 3-13 when they fail to reach 70.
Saint Joseph's led at halftime for the fourth straight time in the NIT. The only tournament game the Hawks trailed at the break was the opener against Hofstra.
The Hawks were behind for just 51 seconds of the first half, and have been ahead for all but 17 minutes in the NIT - nearly 12 of which came against Hofstra.
Memphis looked ready to run through the NIT, winning their three preliminary games by an average of 20 points. But the Tigers' third trip to the NIT Final Four ended early.
They had won nine straight in the tournament and 12 of 13, taking the title in 2002 over South Carolina.