March 21, 2005
PHILADELPHIA - After a fast start, Saint Joseph's (22-11) survived a second half surge by Holy Cross (25-7) and used clutch free throw shooting in the second half to post a 68-60 victory and advance to the quarterfinal of the NIT, traveling to Texas A&M on Wednesday, March 23. Senior Pat Carroll and junior Dwayne Lee led four Hawks in double figures with 15 points apiece.
The Crimson and Gray got on track quickly against the Crusaders taking an 8-0 lead after back-to-back three-point baskets by Chet Stachitas and Carroll. The lead eventually expanded to 13-points, 27-14, as Stachitas netted 10 of his 13 points in the opening half.
The Hawks maintained a near-double-figure buffer through much of the remainder of the period, but were held without a field goal over the final 3:49 and led at intermission, 33-25.
SJU received a jumper by Carroll to open the second half, but the team's cool shooting from the field continued and Holy Cross took advantage, cutting the Hawk advantage to just one point after a 12-3 surge, 38-37.
Key free throws by Dwayne Lee on ensuing possesions kept Holy Cross from overtaking the Hawks and a three-ball by Carroll with 8:34 left gave SJU a four-point buffer it would never relinquish.
SJU would manage just five field goals in the second half, but would shoot 19-22 from the free throw line after the break to hold off the Crusaders. Lee finished the game 13-14 at the stripe and freshman Abdulai Jalloh was 5-6. The duo was particularly adept in the final minute connecting on a perfect 8-8.
In addition to Lee and Carroll, Stachitas had 13 points and Jalloh added 10 to finish in double figures. Holy Cross also put four players in double-digits led by John Hurley's 14.
HC kept Dwayne Jones in check. He tallied just five points and a season-low four rebounds.
With the victory SJU advances to the NIT quarterfinal for the first time since 1996, Phil Martelli's first season. The Hawks will take on Texas A&M on Wednesday in College Station, TX. Game time is 8 p.m. EST (7 p.m. CST) and it will be televised on ESPNU.