March 7, 2006
CINCINNATI, OH - Saint Joseph's opens play in the 2006 Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Championship on Wednesday, March 8, when it takes on Dayton at 2 p.m. at the U.S. Bank Arena. The Hawks enter the conference tournament with a five-game winning streak.
SJU is 15-12 and 9-7 in the league, earning the fifth seed. Dayton is the 12th seed with a 14-16 record and 6-10 conference mark. The Flyers won the only meeting thus far this season, 79-66, in Dayton on Feb. 1.
The first-round matchup will not be televised, but all of the action can be heard on the Saint Joseph's Sports Network on SportsTalk 950 (WPEN-AM) with Tom McCarthy and Joe Lunardi calling the action.
The winner of the SJU-Dayton game advances to meet 4th-seeded Saint Louis in the quarterfinals on Thursday, March 9, at 2 p.m. That game will be televised on the A-10 TV Network.
Hawk fans seeking tickets to the A-10 Championship should call the SJU Athletic Ticket Officed at 610-660-1712.
Click here for streaming audio and live stats.
SAINT JOSEPH'S NOTES:
A-10 HONOREES: Chet Stachitas and Abdulai Jalloh earned Atlantic 10 All-Conference 2nd Team honors, while Ahmad Nivins was named to the All-Rookie Team. Stachitas, who earns All-Conference honors for the first time in his career, was also named to the All-Academic Team for the second straight season. Nivins is the Hawks' first All-Rookie selection since 2000-01, when Jameer Nelson earned mention. It gives SJU a run of seven consecutive years in which it has had at least one All-Conference selection.
THE IDES OF MARCH: Phil Martelli always seems to have his clubs playing their best at the right time of year. The Hawks enter this tournament riding a five-game winning streak, which is their longest of the year. SJU started league play at 1-4 and lingered in 10th or 11th place in the league from Jan. 11 to Feb. 21. Since Feb. 1, SJU has gone 6-4 to inch up in the standings and secure the fifth seed. Last season, SJU went 8-2 in the final 10 games of conference play to go 14-2 and earn the tournament's top seed. SJU then won five in a row in the NIT to reach the championship game. Over the past six years, Saint Joseph's has compiled a 25-5 record in the final five games of the regular-season slate. Here's the rundown:
Year Last 5 (Reg. season) A-10 Tourn. Post-Season
2005-06 5-0 tba tba
2004-05 4-1 Finals NIT Finals
2003-04 5-0 Quarterfinals NCAA Elite Eight
2002-03 4-1 Semifinals NCAA 1st Round
2001-02 3-2 Quarterfinals NIT 2nd Round
2000-01 4-1 Semifinals NCAA 2nd Round
NEW ROLE: This marks the first time in three years that the Hawks are not the top seed in the tournament. In 2004, SJU was 27-0 and ranked #1 in the nation but was upset by Xavier in the quarterfinals. Last season, SJU reached the title game, but lost to George Washington.
IN SEARCH OF: The Hawks are seeking their first Atlantic 10 Tournament title since 1997, when they defeated St. Bonaventure, George Washington and Rhode Island en route to the crown. Rashid Bey and Yah Davis were All-Championship Team selections in the tourney held at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. It was Phil Martelli's second season as head coach at SJU, and the Hawks went on from there to reach the NCAA Sweet 16. Saint Joseph's other Atlantic 10 title came in 1986, under the late Jim Boyle.
HAWK HISTORY: Saint Joseph's has posted a 22-21 record in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, advancing to the semifinals 10 times. The Hawks have reached the championship game three times (1986, 1997, 2005), winning it twice (`86, `97).
MARTELLI AND THE CHAMPIONSHIP: There's one common thread in the two Atlantic 10 titles won by Saint Joseph's (1986 and 1997), and it's that Phil Martelli was a part of both of them. Martelli was an assistant coach under the late Jim Boyle during the 1986 title run and then after taking over as head coach in 1995-96, led Saint Joseph's to its second crown in 1997.
PROVING THEM WRONG: The Hawks finished higher in the standings than was predicted by the A-10's coaches in the preseason. The preseason poll had SJU in eighth place, but the Hawks' late-season run earned them the fifth seed.
POST-SEASON PUSH: Saint Joseph's is seeking its sixth consecutive post-season bid and the eighth in Phil Martelli's 11 years. The Hawks' current five-year streak consists of three trips to the NCAA Tournament and two appearances in the NIT.
SENIOR MOMENT: Phil Martelli credits seniors Dwayne Lee, Dave Mallon and Chet Stachitas for the late-season push that has seen the Hawks win five in a row and move up to fifth in the league standings. "We were 10-12 about two weeks ago. You can pack it in or fight like hell. They pushed themselves and their teammates because they know the end is near."