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#6 HAWKS KEEP FORDHAM WINLESS IN PHILLY, 79-35, FOR 14TH STRAIGHT
Courtesy: SJU Athletic Communications  
Release:  09/01/2004
PHILADELPHIA (1/13/04) -- Like a bad cheesesteak in Philadelphia, the Fordham men's basketball team is unsuccessful in the City of Brotherly Love. Saint Joseph's, ranked sixth in the nation, dominated the Rams on both ends of the court on its way to a 79-35 victory, the 29th straight game that Fordham has lost in Philly. The margin of victory was the largest for the Hawks in three years, while the defensive effort held the Rams to the lowest offensive output since 1984. St. Joe's (14-0, 4-0 Atlantic 10) connected on three straight three's to open up a 9-2 lead, ironically, just three minutes into thet game. By the second media timeout, SJU had stretched the advantage to 23-4 after six consecutive points from junior Delonte West, who scored 12 of his team-high 13 points in the first half. National Player of the Year candidate Jameer Nelson scored 11 points and dished five assists in the half, while continuing to prove to skeptics that he can shoot the long ball, connecting on 3-for-5 from behind the arc. Defensively, SJU stifled Fordham (4-10, 1-2) for the first twenty minutes. Influenced by an enthusiastic yet intimidating Hawk student section, the Rams committed more turnovers (13) than field goals (five) and points (12) scored. Several of the turnovers were unforced and Fordham shot just 20 percent (5-for-25). As the team's left the court for the lockerrooms, the Hawks held a decisive 48-12 lead. As has been the case for the previous two games, the Crimson and Gray held a commanding half-time lead. But unlike road games against Richmond and Duquesne, SJU did not let its opponent back into the game. "The second half is significant to me because we were in similiar situations at Richmond and at Duquesne and we lost the second halves of those games," head coach Phil Martelli said. "I really let the team know that I wanted to win this second half." The ninth-year mentor was proud of his club for outscoring the Rams 31-23 in the second stanza, despite limited minutes from Nelson and West. Sophomore Chet Stachitas came off the bench to score nine points, all in the second half, while fan favorite Artur Surov made several impressive low-post moves on his way to a career-high eight points. Fordham drew within 32 points early in the second half, but the Hawks bench, playing against mostly Ram starters, extended the lead to 44 points by the game's close. It is the largest margin of victory since SJU defeated Western Carolina, 103-53, to open the 2000-01 season. Nelson finished with 13 points for his 23rd straight game in double figures. Fordham was led by Michael Haynes, who scored a game-high 17 points. The Rams committed a season-high 25 turnovers and had their worst shooting performance of the 2003-04 campaign, going 13-for-52 (25%) from the floor. Saint Joseph's stretched its winning streak to 14 games, which ranks as the third longest in program history. The program best start ties the 1987-88 Temple team for the second best performance out of the gate in Atlantic 10 history. The 1995-96 Massachusetts won 26 straight games before falling. The Hawks will travel to Cincinnati for Saturday's game on ESPN against A-10 West favorite Xavier.