Jan. 9, 2007
PHILADELPHIA - Saint Joseph's (9-5; 2-0) travels to Temple (6-7; 0-1) on Wednesday for a Big 5 and Atlantic 10 contest at the Liacouras Center. Game time is 7 p.m.
The game will be broadcast locally on WNTP Radio (990 AM) with Tom McCarthy and Joe Lunardi calling the action.
SJU has won three in a row, matching its longest winning streak of the season. Tonight's game will count in the Big 5 standings. The Hawks rank second in the Atlantic 10 in scoring defense, limiting the opponents to 60.4 points per game. Phil Martelli owns the most Atlantic 10 wins among active coaches with 116. His winning percentage in conference games (.652) is the highest among active coaches who have been in the league for more than one season. He also owns the longest tenure at one school of any of the league's coaches. Phil Martelli needs four wins to surpass Hall of Famer Jack Ramsay on SJU's list for coaching victories. Ramsay totaled 234 in 11 years (234-72 from 1955 to 66) while Martelli's 12-year mark stands at 231-130. Four SJU games will be televised in Philadelphia on Comcast SportsNet, with more outlets nationally, via the CSTV Network. The games are Jan. 13 vs. Rhode Island (2 pm); Jan. 21 vs. Xavier (Noon); Feb. 4 vs. Dayton (Noon); and Mar. 3 vs. UMass (4 pm).
A WIN TONIGHT... : A win tonight would give the Hawks their best A-10 start (3-0) since the 2004-05 squad won its first four conference games. A win would also be SJU's 10th of the season, which would be the fastest since the 2003-04 team went undefeated. In both 2004-05 and 2005-06, the Hawks did not record their 10th victory until February.
COMEBACK KIDS: The Hawks fought back from a double-digit deficit at Charlotte to pull out a 75-70 win. It was the largest deficit (13 pts in 1st half; 12 in 2nd) overcome for a win this season. Down 45-33 with 15:40 to go, the Hawks outscored Charlotte 24-11 to take their first lead, 57-56, with 6:50 to play. The game featured 64.3 percent shooting and only six turnovers in the second half by the Hawks.
ON FIRE: Phil Martelli is pleasantly surprised with the way the Hawks have been shooting the ball as of late, with the team hitting a combined 52.9 percent from the field and 55.5 from 3-point range in the past two games. The better shooting percentage could also be a direct correlation to the Hawks taking better care of the ball, limiting themselves to just 20 turnovers in the two games.
RIVERA'S RECOGNITION: D.J. Rivera was named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week for the week ending January 6, for the first weekly award of his career. Rivera scored 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting in just 18 minutes of action on Jan. 3 in Saint Joseph's 89-41 victory over Duquesne. He also added two rebounds, two steals and an assist.
NOTING NIVINS: Ahmad Nivins was named the Big 5 Player of the Week as he averaged 18.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game in wins over Duquesne and Charlotte. On the week, he shot 11-for-16 (68.7%) from the field and was 14-of-17 (82.3%) from the foul line.
PHIL VS. FRAN: Phil Martelli and Fran Dunphy are close friends and share a passion for their work in Coaches vs. Cancer. On the court, Martelli holds an 8-4 edge in games coached against Dunphy while he was at Penn.
CITY RIVALRY: Today is the first Big 5 game of the year for Saint Joseph's, in one of the most traditional and unique arrangements in college basketball. SJU was 3-1 in the Big 5 last, suffering its lone loss to Villanova in the game that decided the outright title. SJU has won a total of 19 Big 5 titles (9 outright/10 shared), which is second all-time to Temple's 22 titles (5 outright/17 shared). A loss to Penn on Jan. 25, 2005 snapped a 10-game Big 5 winning streak.
KEY TO THE CITY: SJU owns a 19-5 record against city teams over the last five seasons (counting this year). This mark counts all games against Philadelphia teams (Drexel included). The Hawks were defeated by Drexel in December of this year.
TOUGHING IT OUT: Despite suffering a sprained right ankle in practice on Jan. 5, Rob Ferguson started and played 31 minutes at Charlotte. The junior finished with eight points and six rebounds.
GIVEN BY GOVENS: Freshman reserve guard Darrin Govens leads the Hawks in assists (3.55) and tops the A-10 in assist/turnover ratio with 2.6. Govens handed out a season-best seven assists against Duquesne and has totalled 21 in the past five games. At Charlotte, he had what Phil Martelli called "his best college game", with a career-high 14 points and four assists in 29 minutes. Martelli said it wasn't the points that stood out, but the fact that "he had the right pace of the game and had the guys running with him."