March 5, 2008
PHILADELPHIA - Saint Joseph's (17-10; 8-6) hosts 8th-ranked Xavier (25-4; ) on Thursday evening in a nationally-televised game from Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse. Game time is 9 p.m.
Prior to the game, there will be a special ceremony marking the final regular-season game in Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse before the expansion and renovation project. At 7:30 p.m., former Hawk greats Dr. Jack Ramsay and Mike Bantom, to name a few, will participate in a ceremony. Other former Hawks will be on hand and will partake in a ceremony at halftime. The pre-game ceremony will be available free of charge via video streaming on Hawks' All-Access.
Jon Sciambi and Hubert Davis will call the action for ESPN. The Saint Joseph's Sports Network team of Tom McCarthy and Joe Lunardi will broadcast the game on WNTP (990 AM). Streaming audio will also be available on www.sjuhawks.com free of charge as provided by Stretch Internet.
GAME NOTES: Tonight marks the final regular-season game in Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse before the renovation and expansion project (see page 10). It is the 401st game in the building for men's basketball, with the Hawks owning a record of 318-82 over 59 seasons. The Hawks are seeking their 18th win of the season - it would mark the eighth straight year that SJU has achieved that number. Last year, the Hawks finished at 18-14. Pat Calathes has been named to the NABC All-District 3 First Team while Ahmad Nivins has been named to the Second Team. Both players are now eligible for the State Farm Division I All-America teams. SJU has lost two in a row, which is tied as the longest streak of the season. Pat Calathes tops the Hawks in scoring (17.9 ppg) and rebounding (7.7) and is third in assists (2.7). He ranks seventh in the A-10 in scoring, fifth in rebounding, and is fifth in the league in scoring in conference games (18.1 ppg). SJU is 65th in the RPI (kenpom.com) for March 4.
NOTING NIVINS: Ahmad Nivins set the SJU single-season record for field goal percentage in 2006-07 (63.1), but has surpassed that this year, hitting 64.9 percent of his shots. The junior is also the Hawks' career leader in field goal percentage with a mark of 62.3.
GAMESMANSHIP: Rob Ferguson is closing in on the school record for games played in a career. He enters the Xavier contest with 128 games played and needs two games to tie the record of 130 held by Chet Stachitas (2002-06).
SENIOR SENDOFF: Tonight marks the final regular-season game for seniors Pat Calathes, Rob Ferguson and Arvydas Lidzius. Calathes (a 2-year starter) and Ferguson (a 3-year starter) have combined for 2,308 points and 1,123 rebounds. Lidzius, a fifth-year senior, is the lone remaining player from the 2003-04 Elite Eight team, and sat out 2005-06. Ferguson was a freshman in `03-04, but redshirted the season. In the past four years, the trio has seen the Hawks compile a 78-50 record.
HAWK FINALES: Under Phil Martelli, the Hawks are 9-3 in final regular-season games at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse. This marks the third time in his 13 years that SJU has closed out the home slate against a ranked team. In 2002-03, the Hawks lost to #18 Xavier in overtime and in 1995-96, SJU defeated #24 George Washington.
ALL-DISTRICT HAWKS: Pat Calathes and Ahmad Nivins have both earned NABC All-District 3 honors. Calathes was named to the first team while Nivins has been named to the Second Team. It's the first such honor for Calathes while Nivins also earned selection to the second team in 2006-07. Both players are now eligible for the State Farm Division I All-America teams.
OFFENSIVE SHUTDOWN: The Hawks' offense, which had put up some big numbers this year, was stonewalled by Saint Louis in the 64-55 loss. Entering the game, SJU was averaging 89.5 points and shooting over 60 percent from the field in its previous two games. Saint Louis, which was holding its foes to a conference-low 60.6 points per game, did just that, limiting the Hawks to a season-low total in points and just 38.6 percent shooting. They followed that by scoring just 56 points in the loss to Temple, converting just 38.5 percent from the field.
HAWKS VS. THE TOP 25: The Hawks have played two ranked teams this year Xavier (twice) and Syracuse, which was ranked 25th in the coaches' poll when they met on Nov. 13. Saint Joseph's has lost seven in a row against teams in the AP Top 25. The last ranked team beaten by Saint Joseph's was #17 Wake Forest in the NCAA East Regional Semifinals (March 25) during the Hawks' run to the 2004 Elite Eight. Temple is the highest ranked team defeated by SJU under Phil Martelli, when the Hawks scored a 62-59 win over the #5 Owls on Feb. 29, 2000.
LOOKING AHEAD: SJU closes out the regular season on Saturday at Dayton.