March 2, 2007
PHILADELPHIA - Saint Joseph's (17-12; 9-5) closes out the regular season hosting UMass (22-7; 12-3) at the Fieldhouse on Saturday, March 3 at 4 p.m. The game will also be televised locally on Comcast SportsNet.
The contest can be heard on WFIL (560 AM) with Matt Martucci and Joe Lunardi calling the action, and can also be heard via audio streaming on www.sjuhawks.com.
GAME NOTES: Ahmad Nivins was named to the NABC All-District 3 First Team. He currently leads the A-10 in field goal percentage, hitting 63.4 percent of his shots. Pat Calathes was named the Big 5 Player of the Week on Feb. 26 for the first time in his career after averaging 23.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists last week. He shot 58.1 percent from the field. 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 late in the Temple contest and played only four minutes at Xavier. He remains questionable for today. A win today would give the Hawks the most A-10 wins (10) since 2004-05 (14-2). A loss would match last year's record.
SENIOR SALUTE: Today is "Senior Day" and the Hawks' lone senior, Artur Surov will be honored prior to the game. Considered the tallest player in Hawk history (7-1), he has played in 44 games and just three this season. Surov, from Helsinki, Finland, will graduate in May with his degree in management. Also honored will be senior manager Dan Timby, a sociology major from Media, PA.
MAN IN THE MIDDLE: Ahmad Nivins has been named to the NABC All-District 3 First Team. He tops the Hawks in scoring (16.5), rebounding (7.6) and field goal percentage (63.4). The sophomore is coming off back-to-back 20-plus point games (27 vs. Richmond; 24 vs. Xavier) and has eight 20-plus point games this season.
LONG TIME, NO SEE: This is the first meeting of SJU and UMass this year. And it's been an even longer stretch in between games than most, considering that the last time they played was Jan. 11, 2006. UMass won that game in Amherst, 68-58. Saint Joseph's has played 28 regular-season conference games since then.
DOWN THE HOMESTRETCH: This is the time of year when Phil Martelli's teams are generally at their best, exemplified by some strong runs into the postseason. In fact, counting the last six games of the regular season in the past four years, Martelli's teams are a combined 20-4 (23-6 counting this season). In both 2005-06 and 2004-05, the squads won five of the last six regular-season contests. In 2003-04, they were unbeaten, and in 2002-03, the Hawks went 4-2. Last year, Saint Joseph's was 10-11 in 2005-06 and despite losing at Temple on Feb. 14, won five in a row to enter the A-10 Tournament with a 15-12 record. SJU increased its winning streak to eight consecutive to reach the conference championship game. The Hawks are currently 4-1 in this year's "final six".
DARRIN'S STATUS: Darrin Govens did not make a full return from his sprained ankle (suffered on Feb. 22) and played only four minutes at Xavier. The freshman missed the Richmond game with the injury and is still questionable for today. Govens missed three games earlier this season with a fractured right hand (fourth metacarpal). He had surgery on Nov. 17 and made a quick return to action on Nov. 27. Jawan Carter has moved back into the starting five in Govens' absence.