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Men's Basketball Hosts Xavier on Saturday in Nationally-Televised Game
Courtesy: SJU Athletic Communications  
Release:  01/28/2005

Jan. 28, 2005

PHILADELPHIA - The Saint Joseph's men's basketball team will host Atlantic 10 rival Xavier on Saturday, January 29, in the sold-out Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse, in a game that will be televised nationally by ESPN2. Game time is 2 p.m.

The Hawks, now 8-8 and 5-1 in the Atlantic 10, will be looking to maintain first place in the A-10 East. SJU is currently tied with Temple for the top spot.

ABOUT THE HAWKS: The Hawks took a break from Atlantic 10 play but suffered their first Big 5 loss in 11 games, falling to Penn, 67-59, on Tuesday evening. SJU has won five of its last seven games, owning an 8-8 overall record and 5-1 mark in the Atlantic 10 play.

ABOUT THE MUSKETEERS: Xavier is coming off a thrilling 66-65 win at George Washington, as freshman Stanley Burrell hit a 3-pointer in the final two seconds. The Musketeers are 3-3 in league play.

TV/RADIO: The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 with Bob Carpenter and Bob Wenzel calling the action. The Saint Joseph's Sports Network will broadcast the game on WPEN Radio (950 AM) with the team of Tom McCarthy and Renie Shields. McCarthy is in his second year as play-by-play announcer and Shields will be filling in for Joe Lunardi, who is in his 15th as the Hawks' color analyst. Shields, a former women's basketball standout at SJU, is the color analyst for Hawk women's games. The contest can also be heard via streaming audio on the Saint Joseph's website at www.sjuhawks.com.

NEXT GAME: Wed., Feb. 2 at St. Bonaventure, 7 p.m.

LAST TIME OUT: Saint Joseph's saw its 10-game Big 5 winning streak come to an end with a 67-59 loss to Penn at the Palestra. The Hawks dug themselves an early hole, allowing Penn to race to a 30-13 lead to open the game. SJU held Penn without a field goal for the last 3:55 of the half, and went on a 13-5 to close to within 35-26 at halftime. SJU went on a late 13-2 run and came as close as 58-55 with 4:40 to play, but missed free throws (2-for-6) down the stretch kept the Hawks from overcoming the deficit. Pat Carroll scored 17 points and Chet Stachitas added 13 for the Hawks while Rob Ferguson had another solid game off the bench with nine points. Penn outrebounded the Hawks, 40-35, and scored 11 points off nine SJU turnovers. Playing at their second homecourt, Saint Joseph's was technically considered the home team as per the Big 5 arrangement.

SHUTTING THEM DOWN: SJU's defense has been a key to its resurgence in conference play. In their Atlantic 10 games (5-1 record), the Hawks have limited their opponents to an average of 50.7 ppg, with no team scoring more than 58 points. The Hawks have also shut down the opponents' leading scorers, limiting all of them to single digits in scoring. Here's a rundown of the points scored by those players, with their scoring averages prior to that game in ( ). • Bryant Dunston, Fordham: 9 points (14.5) • Scott Hazelton, URI: 0 points - only 9 minutes w/ foul trouble (17.4) • Rashaun Freeman, UMass: 6 points (14.8) • Steven Smith, La Salle: 9 points (22.7) • Monty Scott, Dayton: 9 points (11.9) • Rashaun Freeman, UMass: 4 points (15.7)

DIGGING A HOLE: In the loss to Penn, SJU fell behind quickly, trailing 16-3 at the 14:47 mark. It was one of the quickest and largest deficits of the year. Even in the largest losing margin of the season, at Kansas (91-51), the Hawks didn't reach a double-digit deficit until 10 minutes elapsed. In the 80-54 loss at San Francisco, SJU was down by 10 points with 13:42 to play in the first half. In the Hawks' eight victories this year, they have been in control almost the entire game and have never trailed by any substantial number.

BREAKING THE MOLD: Penn was the first team in the last seven games to score more than 59 points against the Hawks.

TOP ROOKIE: Rob Ferguson has given the Hawks solid play off the bench in the last few games. He had a career game at UMass, converting 5-of-6 shots from the field to score a personal best 14 points, with 12 of them in the second half as the Hawks pulled away. It marked the first time that Ferguson scored double figures. The freshman followed that with nine points and five rebounds against Penn.

SECOND FIDDLE: There's only one sports story in Philadelphia now, and rightfully so, it's the Eagles reaching the Super Bowl. So for the time being, Saint Joseph's and the other city basketball teams are flying below the radar. At this time last year, however, the Eagles had lost in the NFC Championship game and the Philly media quickly turned its attention to the 15-0 and nationally-ranked St. Joe's Hawks.

FOUL SHOOTING: Free throw shooting has been a tremendous defiicency for the Hawks all season long. The team just recently surpassed the 60-percent mark overall, and is now at 60.6 percent. Lack of free throws hurt the Hawks in the loss to Penn, as they went 15-for-27 (55.6%). That followed a season-best 15-for-19 performance (78.9%) at UMass. The only players hitting more than 60 percent individually are Chet Stachitas (71.4%), Abdulai Jalloh (71.4%) and Rob Ferguson (87.5%). Although Ferguson has the best percentage by far, he's only taken eight attempts on the season.

Click here for complete Saint Joseph's game notes.