March 11, 2005
CINCINNATI - Saint Joseph's will take on Xavier in the Atlantic 10 Semifinals on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the U.S. Bank Arena. The top-seeded Hawks are looking to make their first appearance in the A-10 finals since winning the championship in 1997. The game will be televised in Philadelphia on CN8, the Comcast Network. The action can also be heard via the Saint Joseph's Sports Network on WPEN-Radio (950 AM).
ABOUT THE HAWKS: The 18-10 Hawks have won seven of the last eight games and three in a row.
ABOUT THE MUSKETEERS: Xavier is 17-11 and in the midst of a three-game winning streak. The Musketeers are the West Division's second seed in the conference tournament.
SERIES HISTORY - - SAINT JOSEPH'S VS. XAVIER All-Time Series: SJU 16-11 Last Meeting: 1/29/05, SJU 67-59 Last SJU Win: 1/29/05, 67-59 Last Xavier Win: 3/11/04, 87-67 SJU Streak: 1 win Coach Martelli vs. Xavier: 4-8
NOTES: Saint Joseph's won the only meeting with Xavier this year, 67-59, in Philadelphia. Pat Carroll led the way, hitting 7-of-11 3-pointers en route to a career-high 29 points. Dwayne Jones added 15 points and 14 rebounds and Dwayne Lee had 10 points and five assists.
SJU and Xavier had two key battles last year. In January, the 6th-ranked Hawks won in nationally-televised game at Xavier, 81-73, for their 15th straight win. Delonte West made every shot he took - 12 from the field, three from 3-point range and six from the foul line. Xavier then crushed the Hawks' conference title hopes as the Musketeers upset the nation's #1 team, 87-67, in the Atlantic 10 Quarterfinals at Dayton, ending SJU's 27-game winning streak.
The Hawks are 3-7 against Xavier in the last 10 meetings, but Saint Joseph's has won two of the last three. SJU is 1-4 in its last five meetings with the Musketeers in Cincinnati.
It must be something about Cincinnati. Junior forward Dave Mallon had a "perfect game" against Richmond on the A-10 quarterfinals, as he scored a career-high 17 points. Mallon's line read: 6-for-6 in field goals; 2-for-2 in 3-point FG; 3-for-3 in FT. The last Hawk to go perfect from the field (and hit five or more field goals) was Delonte West against Xavier on Jan. 17, 2004. West was 12-for-12 from the field, three from 3-point range and six from the foul line, en route to a career-high 33 points.
Dave Mallon had eclipsed his career-high by the first half of the Richmond win. In the first half alone, the junior scored 12 points to surpass his previous high of nine points, and helped the Hawks jump out to a 21-7 lead. Mallon's 3-for-3 effort at the foul line (all in one trip) was impressive, considering he was 2-for-5 on the season entering the game.
Point guard Dwayne Lee played his second lowest total of minutes this season (25) vs. Richmond as he was whistled for his fourth foul with over 11 minutes to play. Freshman Abdulai Jalloh filled in at the point with a solid all-around game at a crucial time, with the Hawks leading by only 45-41. Jalloh fed both Dwayne Jones and Rob Ferguson for layups and then hit two free throws as the Hawks scored six straight points. The freshman had six points, three rebounds and three assists in 18 minutes of action. Lee is the team's leader in minutes played (35.7) and he has played 38 or minutes in 15 games this year.
Saint Joseph's is making its third appearance in the semifinals in five years. The most recent came in 2003 when the Hawks lost to Dayton, 76-73. SJU owns a 2-8 all-time record in the semis while Phil Martelli is 1-2 in this round.