Nov. 24, 2006
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - Saint Joseph's will have a rare meeting with Penn State on Saturday, when the Hawks visit the Nittany Lions, in the first game between the two teams since 1991. Game time is 4 p.m. and the contest can be heard on WFIL 560 AM, or via audio streaming on www.sjuhawks.com.
Click here for game notes.
INSIDE INFO: SJU players might be hearing the words, "pass it inside" more than they have in the past few years, with frontcourt players Rob Ferguson and Ahmad Nivins already proving to be the main scoring threats. This is a marked change from the guard-dominated teams of the last few years. Ferguson and Nivins have lived up to that billing so far with a pair of double-figure games. Nivins currently leads the team with 18.0 ppg while Ferguson is scoring 14.7 ppg.
DEE-FENSE: The Hawks turned up the defense against Bucknell and that was one of the keys to the win. Freshman D.J. Rivera came off the bench to harrass the Bison offense and record four steals. The freshman earned high praise from Phil Martelli as he called Rivera's effort "Barley-like", referring to former Hawk Tyrone Barley (2000-04), who was known for his tenacious defense.
DOWN BUT NOT OUT: The injury bug bit the Hawks early as freshman Darrin Govens suffered a fractured hand in just 12 minutes of action in the opener vs. Fairfield. The guard broke the fourth metacarpal of his right hand and underwent surgery on Nov. 17. His timetable for return to the court is still undetermined, but he has begun rehabilitation and will be evaluated on a weekly basis.
NOTICING NIVINS: Ahmad Nivins lived up to the high expectations with a career-high 20 points in the win over Fairfield. The sophomore made his first five shots of the second half en route to scoring 15 points in that period. He finished with nine rebounds and made 7-of-9 shots from the field. He followed that with 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting at Lafayette, and a 15-point, 9-rebound game against Bucknell.
NO HARM, NO FOUL: Phil Martelli was concerned about the ability of Rob Ferguson and Ahmad Nivins to stay out of foul trouble to ensure that each sees quality time on the floor. So far, it hasn't been an issue as the players have seven fouls each this season. At Lafayette, Ferguson didn't get whistled for his second foul until there were two minutes left in the game, and Nivins earned his third with just 28 seconds to play.
PERIMETER PLAY: SJU entered the season without that defined 3-point threat that they've had over the past few years. But the Hawks have knocked down the three's "by committee", making 47.5 percent as a team. Rob Ferguson leads the way hitting 8-of-11 for a blistering 72.7 percent. Jawan Carter has made 41.7 percent of his three's, which included a 4-for-5 effort at Lafayette.