RICHMOND, VA (1/06/04) (AP) - Jameer Nelson scored 18 of his 32 points in the first half, and ninth-ranked Saint Joseph's made it 12 straight victories to start the season by beating Richmond 71-60 Tuesday night. Saint Joseph's, also 2-0 in the Atlantic 10, began the night as one of 10 unbeaten teams in the nation and stayed that way by making the Spiders dizzy with quickness and a dazzling performance from the 5-foot-11 Nelson. Richmond (8-6, 1-1), seeking its fourth straight victory, closed a 22-point deficit to 64-56 with 2:32 left. But Nelson made five of six free throws on the Hawks' next three possessions to close out the victory. Nelson finished nine for 14 with five 3-pointers. Dwayne Jones added 10 points and 15 rebounds, and Pat Carroll and Delonte West scored 13 points each. Tony Dobbins led Richmond with 17 points, and Gaston Moliva had 15. The Spiders had six turnovers that became 14 points for the Hawks in the game's first eight minutes, uncharacteristic sloppiness for the home team that fueled the Hawks' early 18-7 run and set the tone for the night. Still, the Hawks led just 21-15 until Nelson heated up. He hit a 15-footer and a 3-pointer before Carroll's 3-pointer, then added two more 3-pointers to feed a 19-6 burst. Richmond went 6:01 without a point. When Moliva finally broke the drought with a layup 1:49 before halftime, Saint Joseph's led 40-23 and any thoughts that the Spiders' tendency for big upsets would surface again had already been eliminated. The end essentially came early in the second half, after the Spiders pulled to 45-32. Tyrone Barley hit a 3-pointer for the Hawks and Nelson followed with two free throws, a layup and two more free throws. The 9-0 run gave the Hawks a 54-32 lead with 12:13 left. Nelson nearly matched Richmond's point total through the first 13:14, when he took his first break. He had 18 points and the Hawks led 35-21.