March 6, 2007
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - Saint Joseph's (17-13; 9-7 A-10) opens play in the 2007 Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Championship meeting city rival Temple (12-17; 6-10) in the first round on Wednesday, March 7 at 9 p.m. at Boardwalk Hall. The Hawks have defeated the Owls twice so far this season.
Individual session tickets are available by contacting the SJU ticket office at 610-660-1712 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets can be picked up at the SJU Will Call window at Boardwalk Hall.
The game will not be televised but can be heard on WNTP (990 AM) with Tom McCarthy and Joe Lunardi calling the action. Audio streaming for all games will be available on www.sjuhawks.com.
If the Hawks win, they will face George Washington in the A-10 Quarterfinal on Thursday at 9 p.m. That game will be televised on CN8 and broadcast on WNTP Radio (990 AM). The semifinals are slated for 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday evening and will be televised on CN8, with the championship game set for 6 p.m. on Saturday, to be seen nationally on ESPN.
GAME NOTES: SJU is in the midst of its longest losing streak (3) of the year. It's also the longest losing streak entering the conference tournament for a Phil Martelli team. The Hawks are seeded sixth in the tournament, which is the lowest for SJU since 1994, when the Hawks were eighth. Even in the two-division league format, the Hawks had never been lower than a fifth seed (1998). Ahmad Nivins was named to the NABC All-District 3 First Team. He leads the team in scoring (16.6) and rebounding (7.5) and tops the Atlantic 10 in field goal percentage (.632). This is the ninth time in Phil Martelli's 12 seasons that SJU has won at least 17 games. Darrin Govens missed the Richmond game after spraining his left ankle on Feb. 22 and played only four minutes at Xavier. He then reaggravated the ankle and missed the UMass contest. He is probable for the Temple game SJU owns a 23-6 record against city teams over the last five seasons (counting this year). This mark counts all games against Philadelphia teams (Drexel included).
ALL-LEAGUE PERFORMERS: Ahmad Nivins was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Conference First Team, following up on his selection to the league's All-Rookie Team in 2006. Nivins joins a select group of Hawks in to earn first team honors in recent years - Pat Carroll (2005); Jameer Nelson (2002, 2003, 2004); Delonte West (2003, 2004); and Marvin O'Connor (2001). Pat Calathes earned All-Conference Third Team honors, receiving recognition for the first time in his career. Jawan Carter was named to the All-Rookie Team, marking the Hawks' second consecutive selection to that squad. SJU now has a string of eight consecutive years with at least one All-Conference honoree.
FAMILIAR FOE: Temple is the opponent that the Hawks have faced the most in the history of the program, with 137 meetings. This will be the sixth game between the two schools in the past two seasons. SJU and TU faced off in last year's A-10 Semifinals, with the Hawks winning 73-59. SJU has now won three in a row versus the Owls, and 11 of the last 12.
SJU IN AC: The Hawks have played in this building (previously named the Atlantic City Convention Center) three times, owning a 3-0 record. In 1982-83, SJU won the Atlantic City Classic, defeating Illinois-Chicago and Northeastern. In Phil Martelli's second season, the Hawks defeated #21 Tulsa, 67-64, in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic on Dec. 7, 1996 as Terrell Myers hit a 3-pointer with one tenth of a second remaining.
THIRD TIME'S A CHARM?: This will be the third time that SJU and Temple have played this season and the sixth time in the past two years. The last time the Hawks beat a team three times in one season was in 1996-97, when they won all three games against St. Bonaventure, and ultimately won the Atlantic 10 title. Here's the list of occasions when the Hawks have met an opponent three times since `96-97, with the outcomes: Year Opponent SJU Record 2006-07 Temple TBA 2005-06 Temple 2-1 2005-06 Xavier 1-2 1997-98 Temple 0-3 1996-97 St. Bonaventure 3-0
HAWK HISTORY: Saint Joseph's has posted a 25-22 record in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, advancing to the semifinals 11 times. The Hawks have reached the championship game four times (1986, 1997, 2005, 2006), winning it twice (1986, 1997).
PROVING THEM WRONG: The Hawks finished higher in the standings than was predicted by the A-10's coaches in the preseason. The preseason poll had SJU in eighth place, but the Hawks finished sixth.
MAN IN THE MIDDLE: Ahmad Nivins has been named to the NABC All-District 3 First Team. He tops the Hawks in scoring (16.6), rebounding (7.5) and field goal percentage (63.2). The sophomore has notched 20 or more points in two of the last three (27 vs. Richmond; 24 vs. Xavier) and has eight 20-plus point games this season.