Feb. 28, 2009
PHILADELPHIA - Saint Joseph's (14-13; 7-6 A-10) will look to snap its five-game losing streak when it hosts St. Bonaventure (14-13; 5-9) on Sunday at The Palestra, in the final home game of the season. Tip-off is 2 p.m. and SJU's seniors will be honored in a pre-game ceremony.
The Saint Joseph's Sports Network team of Tom McCarthy and Joe Lunardi will broadcast the game on WNTP (990 AM). Streaming audio will also be available on www.sjuhawks.com free of charge as provided by Stretch Internet. Streaming video will also be available thru a subscription to Hawks' All-Access.
GAME NOTES: Today is the final home game and seniors Edwin Lashley, Tasheed Carr and Ahmad Nivins will be honored prior to the game. SJU has lost five in a row, for the longest since a nine-game losing streak during the 1998-99 season. A-10 Player of the Year candidate Ahmad Nivins tops the Hawks with a league-leading 18 double-doubles and is averaging a team-high 19.7 points and 11.4 rebounds. He has scored in double figures in 39 consecutive games, also the best in the Atlantic 10. Ahmad Nivins leads the A-10 in field goal percentage (.638) and ranks third nationally. He also tops the league in rebounding (11.4), offensive rebounds (3.9), defensive rebounds (7.6) and minutes played (39.5), while ranking among the conference's top 10 in eight categories. He leads the A-10 in scoring and rebounding in conference games with 20.5 pts and 12.2 rebs. Saint Joseph's tops the A-10 in free throw percentage both in overall games (74.3) and conference games (76.1), while ranking 24th in the nation. Tasheed Carr's status is a gameday decision as he will be reevaluated Sunday morning. Carr missed the Xavier game with a mild concussion suffered earlier this week.
LAST TIME OUT: Saint Joseph's couldn't break its skid against #19 Xavier, falling to the Musketeers, 68-54, at The Palestra, despite 24 points from Ahmad Nivins. It extended the Hawks' streak to five in a row, the longest since they dropped nine straight in 1998-99. SJU played without starting guard Tasheed Carr, who suffered a minor concussion in practice earlier in the week and was ruled out by doctors for the game. Sophomore Charoy Bentley made his first career start in Carr's place, but went scoreless in the game. The Musketeers led almost the entire game and pulled away from the Hawks over the final four minutes, as SJU committed a total of 19 turnovers in the game. The Hawks hung in during the second half due to some sloppy play by Xavier and cut a double-digit lead down to six. But Derrick Brown put away the Hawks with two dunks and helped give Xavier a 56-44 lead as it would go up to 20 with steady trips to the free-throw line. When Xavier took a 50-36 lead at 11:25, the Hawks had more turnovers (13) than field goals (11). SJU finished the game shooting 17-for-46 from the field and allowed Xavier to grab 17 offensive rebounds. Bryant Irwin came off the bench to record a career-high 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting, to give the Hawks just two players in double figures.
SEEING DOUBLE: Atlantic 10 and Big 5 Player of the Year candidate Ahmad Nivins has now scored in double figures in 85 of the 121 games of his career and in an A-10 leading 39 consecutive games. He's grabbed double-figure rebounds 29 times, with a league-leading 18 double-doubles this season, to give him 27 career double-doubles.
POST PRODUCTION: Ahmad Nivins is one of the most efficient and productive offensive players in the nation. The senior is registering 1.9 points per every shot taken. There have been games where Nivins has gotten most of his points from the foul line. La Salle limited him to a season-low three field goal attempts, but he went 9-for-12 from the line. Against George Washington, Nivins took five shots but converted 10-of-11 free throws while he made 14-of-17 free throws vs. Xavier.
INJURY REPORT: Tasheed Carr missed the Xavier game because of a mild concussion suffered in practice earlier this week. He will be reevaluated again by doctors to determine his status for today's game.
SENIOR SALUTE: Today marks the final home game for seniors Tasheed Carr, Edwin Lashley and Ahmad Nivins. Also being honored in the pre-game ceremony will be managers Lance Barron, Dan DeCarlo and Ben Wisniewski; head manager Michael Kehoe; and Hawk mascot Tim Klarich.
MOST VALUABLE HAWK: Ahmad Nivins had 44 percent of the Hawks' offense against Xavier, scoring 24 of the team's 54 points vs. Xavier.
FREEBIES: Free throw shooting has been one of the Hawks' strengths all season, and they have put up solid numbers in the last few games. Ahmad Nivins has led the way, shooting close to 90 percent. Here's the breakdown: Last 8 games: Team 77.3 pct (133-172); Nivins 86.9 pct (60-69) Last 5 games: Team 78.0 pct (78-100); Nivins 85.4 pct (41-48)
THREE-LESS: SJU went 0-for-7 from 3-point range against UMass (Feb. 22) to snap a streak of 495 games with at least one 3-pointer made. The last game prior to UMass in which a Hawks' team did not hit a "three" was at Southwest Missouri State on Mar. 18, 1993.
THREE-LESS, PART 2: In the current five-game losing streak, the Hawks are shooting just 27.4 percent (18-for-62) from 3-point range. SJU was just 3-for-14 from beyond the arc against Xavier.
FACE THE NATION: Ahmad Nivins ranks among the top 50 in the nation in four categories - field goal percentage (3rd); rebounding (6th); scoring (35th); and blocked shots (58th).
LOOKING AHEAD: The Hawks close out the regular season traveling crosstown to Temple on March 5 and then to Fordham on March 7.