March 9, 2005
CINCINNATI, OH - Saint Joseph's begins its quest for its first Atlantic 10 title since 1997 when it takes on Richmond in the quarterfinals on Thursday, March 10 at noon in the U.S. Bank Arena.
ABOUT THE HAWKS: Saint Joseph's, at 17-10, posted a 14-2 Atlantic 10 record, to earn the top overall seed in the conference tournament. SJU won its fifth straight A-10 East regular-season title, matching UMass' record of five consecutive from 1991 to 1996. It marks the second year in a row that the Hawks have been the top seed in the conference tourney.
ABOUT THE SPIDERS: Richmond is the fourth seed in the West Division, owning a 14-14 overall record and an 8-8 A-10 mark.
TV/RADIO: The game will be broadcast by the Atlantic 10 TV Network and seen locally on Comcast SportsNet. 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.
SAME PLACE LAST YEAR: The Hawks are the top seed in the Atlantic 10 Tournament for the second year in a row. Last season, Saint Joseph's came into the quarterfinal game with Xavier boasting the nation's number-one ranking and a 27-game winning streak. The Hawks' title hopes came to an end quickly as Xavier ran away with the 87-67 victory. The Musketeers connected on a tournament-record 71.1 percent of its shots, and led by as many as 37 points in
the second half. SJU shot a season-low 35.4 percent from the field in its first and only game as the nation's top-ranked team.
IN SEARCH OF: The Hawks are seeking their first Atlantic 10 Tournament title since 1997, when they defeated St. Bonaventure, George Washington and Rhode Island en route to the crown. Rashid Bey and Yah Davis were All-Championship Team selections in the tourney held at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. It was Phil Martelli's second season as head coach at SJU, and the Hawks went on from there to reach the NCAA Sweet 16. Saint Joseph's other Atlantic 10 championship came in 1986.
HAWK HISTORY: Saint Joseph's has posted a 20-20 record in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, advancing to the semifinals 10 times. The Hawks have reached the championship game twice (1986, 1997), winning it both times. SJU has won six regular-season titles - 1986, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005.
GOOD OMEN: In eight of the past 13 A-10 Tournaments, the overall top seed has won the conference title. SJU earned its second straight top seed this year by way of its 14-2 league record. Last year's tourney was won by fourth-seeded Xavier, which eliminated the top-seeded Hawks. Saint Joseph's was the tournament's top seed when it captured the 1997 championship under Phil Martelli.
MARTELLI AND THE CHAMPIONSHIP: There's one common thread in the two Atlantic 10 titles won by Saint Joseph's (1986 and 1997), and it's that Phil Martelli was part of both of them. Martelli was an assistant coach under Jim Boyle during the 1986 title run and then after taking over as head coach in 1995-96, led Saint Joseph's to its second crown in 1997.