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NELSON'S SHOT LIFTS #11 HAWKS OVER CALIFORNIA, 59-57
Courtesy: SJU Athletic Communications  
Release:  09/01/2004
OAKLAND, Calif. (12/20/03) - Jameer Nelson's jump shot with five seconds to play gave #11 Saint Joseph's a 59-57 win over California in the Pete Newell Challenge at The Arena in Oakland. With the win, the Hawks improve to 8-0 for their best start since 1964-65. Nelson showed why he is a national Player of the Year candidate, scoring 14 of his game-high 19 points in the second half. After California tied the game, 57-57, with 57 seconds to play, Nelson brought the ball up the court. The senior held the ball the entire duration of the shot clock, then drove to the right. With no opening, Nelson took a step back and hit an off-balance 18-footer to provide the winning margin. California, which falls to 3-4, had one more possession and with an inbounds pass with 1.5 seconds to go, Ayinde Ubaka was wide open on the right baseline but his three-point attempt was off the mark and the Hawks remained unbeaten. "Everyone will point to the last shot, but this was a team win. We didn't play particularly well, but we were tough. We had to be to beat that team. You can point to other field goals in the game and this is certainly a team win," said Hawk coach Phil Martelli. Both teams shot poorly in the low-scoring first half, but Saint Joseph's held a 28-22 lead at halftime. The Hawks led by as many as nine points on a few occasions in the second half, but the Golden Bears would not give in. Cal went on an 11-2 run, led by five points from Amit Tmir to tie the score at 41-41, with 11:51 to play. California held a 44-41 lead, but Nelson would go on to score seven consecutive points to help the Hawks regain the lead. A conventional threee-point play by John Bryant gave Saint Joseph's a 55-51 lead with 2:52 to play. Tamir hit two free throws to pull Cal within 55-53, but Nelson would score again to increase the lead to 57-53. California freshman Leon Powe hit a layup at 1:32 to pull the Golden Bears to within 57-55, and two free throws by Marquise Kately tied the score, thus setting the stage for Nelson's heroics. Nelson was the only Hawk in double figures, but Pat Carroll had eight points. Delonte West scored just six, to end his double-figure scoring streak at eight games. Powe led Cal with 15 points and 13 rebounds while Kately had 16 and Tamir finished with 11. Both teams shot 40 percent in the game, but SJU was slightly better from 3-point range, hitting 23 percent to Cal's 15 percent. The Hawks were 7-for-8 from the foul line while Cal squandered its edge there, going just 15-for-24. Saint Joseph's takes a break for the holiday and returns home to Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse on December 27 to face Pacific at 4 p.m.