Dec. 9, 2006
LOUISVILLE, KY - Ahmad Nivins scored a career-high 28 points and freshman D.J. Rivera had a career-high 19 off the bench to lead Saint Joseph's to a 75-63 win over Bellarmine (3-3) in the NABC Classic at Louisville.
The Hawks, now 5-2, face host Louisville on Saturday evening at Freedom Hall. Game time is 7 p.m. and the contest will be broadcast on WFIL (560 AM).
SJU led from the start but Bellarmine trimmed a 23-15 Hawk lead to 23-21 on a 3-pointer by Jamie Jackson with 5:36 remaining. The Hawks then put together a 13-4 run, with five consecutive points from Rivera to build the lead back up to 36-25 with 1:28 left in the half. Nivins finished the half with 15 points as the Hawks made 16 of 29 shots (55.2%) from the field.
Bellarmine, an NCAA Division II school from Louisville, opened the second half with a 9-1 run to close within 41-39. A layup from Alvin Mofunanya, plus a 3-point play by Rivera and another 3-point play by Nivins quickly built SJU's lead back to 50-39 at 13:41.
The Knights would not fold and closed to 60-57 on a dunk by Dzaflo Larkai with 5:40 remaining. Free throws by the Hawks increased the lead to five, but Larkai hit two foul shots to pull the Knights within three one more time. Then Nivins was fouled as he grabbed one of his six offensive rebounds and converted both shots to give the Hawks a 64-59 edge. Darrin Govens picked up a steal and went coast-to-coast for the layup, followed by another dunk from Nivins at 3:43 which put the game out of reach, 68-59.
Nivins shot 11-for-16 in the game while grabbing eight rebounds and picking up four steals. Rivera added a personal best six steals to go along with his 8-for-12 shooting effort. Arvydas Lidzius tied his career-high with seven points in eight minutes.
SJU's defense forced Bellarmine into 22 turnovers while recording a season-high 16 steals.