Dec. 11, 2009
MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. - Saint Joseph's men's basketball (3-5) will head to the Midwest to visit Minnesota (6-3) on Saturday, December 12. Game time at Williams Arena is 4 p.m. Eastern (3 p.m. Central). It marks the first meeting between the schools in over 40 years.
The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network while the Saint Joseph's Sports Network team of with Matt Martucci and Joe Lunardi will broadcast the game on WNTP 990 AM. Audio streaming will be available free of charge on SJUHawks.com, via Stretch Internet.
Idris Hilliard had a near-perfect shooting game vs. #3 Villanova as he went 5-for-5 from the field and 12-for-13 from the foul line to score a career-high 22 points. Minnesota is the second Big Ten opponent faced by the Hawks this year. SJU lost to #7 Purdue at the Paradise Jam in November. After starting the season with three wins, the Hawks have lost five straight, which is the longest since a five-game skid last season. They are looking to avoid a six-game streak, which last happened in 1998-99. Phil Martelli is in his 15th season as head coach and his 25th at the University. Martelli served as an assistant coach for 10 years on the staffs of Jim Boyle and John Griffin. Saint Joseph's is celebrating the Centennial of SJU Basketball this year, as the inaugural season took place in 1909-10.
LAST TIME OUT: In front of a sold-out Palestra crowd, #3 Villanova held off Saint Joseph's, 97-89, in the 67th edition of the annual Big 5 rivalry. Saint Joseph's junior Idris Hilliard had a near-perfect shooting night, hitting all five field goals and making 12-of-13 free throws for a career-high 22 points. Saint Joseph's never allowed Villanova to make a huge run, and every time the Wildcats went up by double digits, the Hawks would answer back. Carl Jones made three 3-pointers in the game, including one at 6:05 with Villanova leading 73-64. Villanova came back with free throws to go up 75-67, but Justin Crosgile hit a 3-pointer to close the Hawks to within 75-70. With the Wildcats leading 77-71, Jones connected on another 3-pointer at 3:20 to pull the Hawks within 79-74. Villanova's Taylor King answered with a 3-point field goal at 3:03 to build a 82-74 cushion. Jones and Crosgile combined to score the next six points and the Hawks trailed by just 84-80. King then hit the back-breaker for the Hawks, connecting on his fourth 3-pointer of the game at 1:30 to push the Wildcats' lead to 87-80. Four VU free throws and a dunk at :38 put the game out of reach for the Hawks. Saint Joseph's led early in the game and despite trailing for most of the first half, took a quick 38-37 lead with 2:41 to play. A layup by Scottie Reynolds returned the lead to Villanova and the Wildcats took a 41-38 edge into intermission. Hilliard made all five field goal attempts and missed his first free throw of the game at 8:03 in the second half. He led five Hawks in double figures as Darrin Govens scored 19, Jones scored 16, Garrett Williamson had 13 and seven assists, and Crosgile hit for 12.
LONG TIME COMING: Today marks the first meeting between Saint Joseph's and Minnesota in 44 years. It will also be the first-ever matchup between Phil Martelli and Tubby Smith.
STRIVE FOR PERFECTION: Junior Idris Hilliard was one basket short of a perfect shooting game against Villanova as he went 5-for-5 from the field and 12-for-13 from the foul line to tally a career-high 22 points. His only miss came at 8:03 of the second half. The last time a Hawk player achieved that was Delonte West at Xavier on January 17, 2004, when he went 12-for-12 from the field, 3-for-3 from 3-point range and 6-for-6 from the foul line.
FOCUS ON THE FROSH: Carl Jones and Justin Crosgile saw significant playing time against Villanova and the duo combined for 28 points, while each hitting 3-pointers in the final minutes to keep the Hawks in the game. Jones hit for 16 points and connected on 3-of-6 3-pointers while Crosgile went 4-for-5 from the foul line. Phil Martelli was happy with their competitiveness but said, "They had six turnovers. They're skillful players so that's too many. But part of it was they were at times just going too fast."
NO MORAL VICTORIES: Phil Martelli wasn't pleased with anyone saying that his squad "played hard" against #3 Villanova, although he did see some positives. "You play hard and you play to win and we came up short. But I was pleased with our response. Against Purdue, they punched us and we crumbled. At Cornell we cracked. It never got uncomfortable for them (Villanova), but we didn't crack," said Martelli.
A SELECT CLUB: Darrin Govens became the 48th player in Hawk history to score 1,000 career points when he tallied 10 points at Rider. The senior entered the season with 930 points and now has 1,034. Govens is the sixth SJU player to achieve the feat in the past six years.
NEED A STOP: Cornell opened the second half with a 12-0 run against the Hawks and would score 27 points in the first 10 minutes to pull away in the 78-66 win. Phil Martelli said, "We have a tough time right now stopping the boulder coming at you. We're not able to do that yet. That's going to take every guy stepping up and giving it more of a mental approach."
JUST-IN TIME: Justin Crosgile scored 12 points at Rider in his Hawk debut, after missing the first six games after recovering from surgery (Oct. 9) on a torn ligament in his left thumb. Crosgile shot 4-for-9 from the field and handed out three assists in 22 minutes. He had 12 points against Villanova, going 4-for-5 from the foul line.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Hawks take a break for final exams, and return for their first game in Hagan Arena since November 17, when they host Lehigh on December 20.