Feb. 20, 2009
PHILADELPHIA - Saint Joseph's (14-11; 7-4 A-10) will host UMass (9-15; 4-7) at The Palestra (2 p.m.) on Sunday, February 22, in the second meeting this season between the teams. The Hawks previously defeated the Minutemen, 68-64, earlier this month.
The Saint Joseph's Sports Network team of Tom McCarthy and Joe Lunardi will broadcast the game on WNTP (990 AM). Streaming audio will also be available on www.sjuhawks.com free of charge as provided by Stretch Internet. Streaming video will also be available thru a subscription to Hawks' All-Access.
GAME NOTES: SJU has lost three in a row, for its longest losing streak of the season, and longest since a three-game streak in 2006-07. The Hawks have not lost four in a row since 2004-05. A-10 Player of the Year candidate Ahmad Nivins tops the Hawks with a league-leading 17 double-doubles and is averaging a team-high 19.4 points and 11.6 rebounds. He has scored in double figures in 37 consecutive games, also the best in the Atlantic 10. Ahmad Nivins leads the A-10 in field goal percentage (.640) and ranks third nationally. He also tops the league in rebounding (11.6), offensive rebounds (4.1), defensive rebounds (7.5) and minutes played (39.5), while ranking among the conference's top 10 in eight categories. He leads the A-10 in scoring and rebounding in conference games only with 20.1 points and 12.7 rebounds. Saint Joseph's tops the A-10 in free throw percentage both in overall games (74.5) and conference games (76.9), while ranking 24th in the nation. The Hawks' game with Xavier next week will be seen on ESPN2.
LAST TIME OUT: Saint Joseph's fell to Saint Louis, 73-71, despite 22 points and 11 rebounds from Ahmad Nivins. Darrin Govens and Garrett Williamson chipped in with 10 points apiece. A 3-pointer by Williamson with just over two seconds to go set up the final plays as SJU got within one at 72-71. Kevin Lisch missed the first of two free throws for a 73-71 SLU lead with 1.2 seconds remaining but a desperate 3-pointer by Nivins was long and Saint Louis held on. After a three-point deficit to start the second half, the Hawks attacked the basket early and often, finally regaining the lead after a pair of Nivins free throws at 38-36 with 16:25 to go. After trading baskets with the Billikens, consecutive fast break lay-ups by Williamson and Idris Hilliard (8 points) gave SJU a 42-38 advantage, capping an 11-3 run with just over 15 minutes remaining. Saint Louis wouldn't back down, fighting back with a 13-4 run over five minutes for a 51-46 lead. In the first half, Nivins provided the largest contribution to the Hawks' offense. The senior totaled 12 points, shooting 6-for-9 from the field, including a fade-away jumper to beat the first half buzzer.
SEEING DOUBLE: Atlantic 10 and Big 5 Player of the Year candidate Ahmad Nivins has now scored in double figures in 83 of the 119 games of his career and in an A-10 leading 37 consecutive games. He's grabbed double-figure rebounds 28 times, with a league-leading 17 double-doubles this season alone, to give him 26 career double-doubles.
POST PRODUCTION: Ahmad Nivins is one of the most efficient and productive offensive players in the nation. The senior is registering 1.9 points per every shot taken. Lately, Nivins has had to get most of his points from the foul line. La Salle limited him to a season-low three field goal attempts, but he went 9-for-12 from the line. Against George Washington, Nivins took five shots but converted 10-of-11 free throws.
FOUL SHOOTING: Free throw shooting has been one of the Hawks' strengths all season, and they have put up solid numbers in the last few games. Ahmad Nivins has led the way, shooting close to 90 percent. Here's the breakdown: Last 6 games: Team 79.2 pct (103-130); Nivins 89.1 pct (41-46) Last 3 games: Team 82.7 pct (48-58); Nivins 88.8 pct (22-25)
DEJA VU?: The Hawks own the same conference record as they did at this time last year, 7-4, although after 25 overall games last year, they were 17-8. That squad closed out the regular season with a 1-3 mark, but won three games to advance to the Atlantic 10 title game and ultimately earn an NCAA Tournament bid.
FACE THE NATION: Ahmad Nivins ranks among the top 50 in the nation in four categories - field goal percentage (3rd); rebounding (6th); scoring (35th); and blocked shots (55th).
CARR SHOW: In the past seven games, Tasheed Carr is averaging 13.8 points and 5.1 assists, with a high of 21 points at Richmond. He had a nine-game double-figure scoring streak come to an end at Saint Louis.
SCORING DROUGHTS: The Hawks had two of their longest droughts of the season in the games vs. Temple and La Salle. SJU went without a field goal for almost nine minutes from the end of the first half into the second against Temple, watching the Owls cut a six-point Hawk lead. Against La Salle, SJU went without a field goal for nine minutes, and saw the Explorers go on a 25-8 run to erase the Hawks' 12-point lead.
FEBRUARY BLUES: The second month of the year hasn't been as kind to the Hawks as the first. After going 7-0 in January, SJU is now 2-4 in the month of February.
MAGIC NUMBER: Tasheed Carr is approaching the 1,000-point mark for his career, although he will not have scored all 1,000 at Saint Joseph's. Carr totaled 290 points in his first two years at Iowa State, and since transferring, has notched 650 here on Hawk Hill. He's 60 points away from 1,000.
LOOKING AHEAD: Saint Joseph's hosts nationally-ranked Xavier for the first time this season on Thursday, Feb. 26, and then the Hawks close out the home portion of the schedule hosting St. Bonaventure on March 1.