March 4, 2005
PHILADELPHIA - Saint Joseph's men's basketball hosts Fordham in the regular-season finale at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse on Saturday, March 5 at 2 p.m. Tickets are still available for the "Senior Day" game in which Hawk co-captains John Bryant and Pat Carroll will be honored in a pre-game ceremony.
ABOUT THE HAWKS: Saint Joseph's is 16-10 and with a 13-2 Atlantic 10 record, has earned the top overall seed in the conference tournament and won its fifth straight A-10 East regular-season title, matching UMass' record of five consecutive from 1992 to 1996. It marks the second year in a row that the Hawks have been the top seed in the conference tourney.
ABOUT THE RAMS: Fordham is coming off a 61-57 loss to Duquesne on Wednesday, but the Rams have won four of their last six. Fordham is 12-14 on the year and 8-7 in the A-10.
TV/RADIO: The game will not be televised. The Saint Joseph's Sports Network will broadcast the game on WPEN Radio (950 AM) with the team of Tom McCarthy and Joe Lunardi. McCarthy is in his second year as play-by-play announcer and Lunardi is in his 15th as the Hawks' color analyst. The contest can also be heard via streaming audio on the Saint Joseph's website at www.sjuhawks.com and on Sirius Satellite Radio.
LAST TIME OUT: SJU clinched the top overall seed in the A-10 Tournament with a convincing 71-56 win over West Division leader George Washington. The Hawks jumped out to a 20-9 lead by shooting 70 percent from the field and owned a 33-26 edge at halftime. SJU fought off any runs that GW made to maintain the lead the entire game. Leading 39-36 at 15:47, the Hawks scored four straight and eventually outscored the Colonials, 17-10, to take a 56-46 lead with under 10 minutes to play. GW would pull within 59-54 at 4:56, but the Hawks went on a 6-0 run, with four from Dwayne Jones, to take a more comfortable 65-54 lead. Pat Carroll led the way with 21 points while Dwayne Lee had a career-high 15 points. Jones had his 14th double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds. The Hawks also got solid performances from freshmen Abdulai Jalloh (9 pts, 4 steals) and Rob Ferguson (10 pts, 5 rebs).
INJURY REPORT: John Bryant will be sidelined for at least 3 to 4 weeks with a fracture in his right arm suffered in the second half of the win at Temple on Feb. 22. Diagnostic testing disclosed that the senior has a non-displaced fracture of the radial head in his right arm. The radial head is part of the radius bone and is located at the top of the forearm, near the elbow, on the thumb side. Bryant was fouled by Nehemiah Ingram as he went up for a dunk with 11:22 remaining, and landed on his right hip and elbow. The senior co-captain had played just nine minutes. He saw seven minutes of action in the first half despite still recovering from bronchitis, which had sidelined him on Feb. 19. He has begun aggressive rehabilitation in hopes of returning before the end of the season. Junior Rob Sullivan is also out today with a knee injury suffered in practice last week. His prognosis is yet to be determined.
SIGNIFICANT LOSS: The loss of John Bryant to a possible season-ending injury is a major blow to the Hawks. Although he averages just three points and three rebounds per game, Bryant's value goes beyond what shows up in the boxscore. Moving into a reserve role after the seventh game of the year, the senior has provided the Hawks with a strong defensive presence plus the intangibles of leadership and experience. He averaged the most minutes of any of the SJU reserves with close to 18 minutes per game.
FRESH LOOK: Freshmen Rob Ferguson and Abdulai Jalloh contributed greatly in the win over GW. Ferguson played a season-high 26 minutes and had 10 points on 5-for-11 shooting, while also grabbing five rebounds and handing out three assists. In the second half, with the Hawks leading 43-38, Ferguson scored on a jumper, then on the next time down the court, grabbed an offensive rebound and fed Pat Carroll for a 3-pointer to give the Hawks an eight-point lead. Jalloh, playing in front of a large group of family and friends from the DC area, scored nine points, had three assists and a career-high four steals. Jalloh's breakaway dunk in the first half gave the Hawks a 14-point lead, their biggest of the game.
KEYS TO THE GAME: One of the keys to the Hawks' game with George Washington was to slow the tempo and limit the high-scoring Colonials, and SJU did just that. The Hawk defense, which is ranked 10th in the nation, did that by allowing just 56 points, well below GW's season average of 78.5 points, and 74.2 in league games. Point guard Dwayne Lee paced the SJU offense, scored a career-high 15 points, handed out five assists and committed just three turnovers. Other key stats in the win were the 37-25 rebounding advantage and shooting percentages of 54.2 from the field and 60.0 from 3-point range.
50-50: The number 50 is a special one for the Hawks, particularly when it relates to defense. Saint Joseph's has limited its conference foes to an average of 53.5 points per game, and 59.2 in all games. SJU is 9-2 when limiting the opponent to the 50 to 59-point range. The Hawks have achieved that in five of the last six games, which were all victories.
POST-SEASON RESUME: The Hawks have built a post-season resume with solid play in the second half of the year. Included in that list is a 12-4 record since January 1 and an eight-game A-10 winning streak that ended Feb. 26. Saint Joseph's earned the top overall seed in the conference tournament outright and captured its fifth consecutive A-10 regular season title with the league's best record at 13-2.
CARVING HIS NICHE: Pat Carroll is making sure his name is etched in the SJU record books. He already owns the career records for 3-point field goals made and 3-point percentage. With 93 three's this year, Carroll needs just seven more to break Marvin O'Connor's season record of 99 3-pointers made in 2000-01.