Nelson, who is pictured on the cover of the magazine, showed no signs of falling victim to the "jinx", as he tallied 16 points, six rebounds and seven assists.
Senior Tyrone Barley added 14 points by hitting 3-of-4 three pointers while playing tremendous pressure defense that has become one of the trademarks of this SJU team.
The Hawks struggled early from the perimeter, shooting an uncharacteristic 1-for-7 from three-point range. They trailed by no more than two points in the early going and broke an 8-8 tie with a 9-1 run. Dayton would trim the SJU lead to six points two more times, but Nelson scored on back-to-back layups and Pat Carroll hit a three-pointer to give the Hawks a 30-17 lead with 4:29 to play in the half. Saint Joseph's would take a 35-26 lead at the half.
Dayton opened the second half with a spurt as Ramod Marshall and Keith Waleskowski hit back-to-back three's and Marshall's jumper pulled the Flyers to within 41-35. But that was the closest that UD would get the rest of the way. Nelson fed West on two consecutive plays to give the Hawks their biggest lead and closed out the win. West's three-pointer off a cross-court bounce pass from Nelson pushed the SJU lead to 73-56 with 3:44 to play.
Dayton's talented frontcourt players got their points, but the Hawks applied tremendous defensive pressure throughout, and the Flyers had only seven assists in the game. Waleskowski finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
The Hawks ended a three-game losing streak against Dayton, a team which defeated SJU twice last season and eliminated it in the Atlantic 10 semifinals. The Flyers dropped to 19-4 and 9-1 in the league.
It marked the first time in school history that Saint Joseph's was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Saint Joseph's hosts another team that it lost to last year, Rhode Island, on Saturday, February 14. The game beginning at noon will be seen on the Atlantic 10 Network and locally on C