March 5, 2010
PHILADELPHIA - A berth to the Atlantic 10 Tournament is on the line when Saint Joseph's (10-19; 4-11 A-10) hosts La Salle (12-17; 4-11) on Saturday, March 6 at Hagan Arena at 4 p.m. A sellout crowd and playoff atmosphere is expected for the game, which is also a Big 5 contest and SJU's "Senior Day".
The game is a CBS College Sports syndicated broadcast and will be seen locally on Comcast SportsNet and also on The Comcast Network Mid-Atlantic, with Jason Knapp and Steve Degler calling the action. The game can be heard on WNTP Radio (990 AM) with Matt Martucci and Joe Lunardi calling the action. Audio streaming will be available free of charge on SJUHawks.com, via Stretch Internet. The broadcast contest is also available on a pay-per-view basis on SJUHawks.com.
Saint Joseph's needs a win to qualify for the Atlantic 10 Tournament, which begins on Tuesday at campus sites of the 5th through 8th seeds. If the Hawks win, La Salle can still earn a berth if UMass defeats Rhode Island.
It will be "Homecoming" and "Senior Day" all rolled into one as the Hawks are playing their first game in Hagan Arena since February 9. Saint Joseph's seniors - C.J. Brown, Darrin Govens and Garrett Williamson - will be honored in a pre-game ceremony, as will managers Brienne Ryan, Brittany Keesling and Molly Porth, for their final home game.
GAME NOTES: The A-10 Tournament scenario for the Hawks is simple - SJU needs a win to get into the tourney. If that happens, the Hawks will travel to a campus site for a first-round game on Tuesday. The win over GW on Wednesday ended the Hawks' five-game losing streak and provided SJU with its first conference road win and first away-game win outside of Philadelphia. Garrett Williamson surpassed 400 assists for his career and now has 407 while Darrin Govens surpassed the 1,300-point mark and now has 1,316. Garrett Williamson is fourth in the A-10 in assists in conference games (4.3). Saint Joseph's ranks fourth in the A-10 in steals in conference games with 7.5, while Darrin Govens and Garrett Williamson are tied for fourth with 1.8 per game. Phil Martelli is in his 15th season as head coach and his 25th at the University. Martelli served as an assistant coach for 10 years on the staffs of Jim Boyle and John Griffin. He is the A-10's active leader in conference wins with 145. Saint Joseph's is celebrating the Centennial of SJU Basketball this year, as the inaugural season took place in 1909-10.
A HOMECOMING: The Hawks have not played here at Hagan Arena since February 9, a loss to Saint Louis. SJU hosted Temple at the Palestra on February 20, but otherwise they've had four road games since Feb. 9. Saint Joseph's is 7-6 this season in Hagan Arena.
SENIOR SALUTE: Today marks the final home game for SJU's seniors C.J. Brown, Darrin Govens and Garrett Williamson. They will be honored in a pre-game ceremony along with Brienne Ryan, The Hawk mascot and team manager, and managers Brittany Keesling and Molly Porth.
CITY SERIES: The Hawks are 1-2 in the Big 5, with this obviously being the final game. SJU defeated Penn but lost to Villanova and eventual champion Temple.
KEY TO THE CITY: Saint Joseph's owns a 27-19 record against Philadelphia teams over the last seven seasons, counting this one. The Hawks struggled against their city foes last year, going 1-6. SJU is 2-3 this year defeating Drexel and Penn and losing to Villanova and twice to Temple.
ON CAMPUS: Today's game being played on campus is a change from the Saint Joseph's tradition of playing all home games against city teams at The Palestra. The move was made to accommodate the television broadcast and because Penn has a home game this evening at The Palestra. The last time these two teams played on a campus was on March 3, 2001 at La Salle's Hayman Hall. Although a 91-90 La Salle win, it was one of the most famous games in SJU history as Marvin O'Connor tried to rally the Hawks by scoring 18 points in 57.5 seconds. The last time the teams played on Saint Joseph's campus was on February 11, 1992, as the Hawks scored an 84-80 overtime victory at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse. Today will end a string of eight straight regular-season meetings being played at The Palestra. In the 112 meetings in the SJU-La Salle series, only 15 have been played at either one of the campuses.
BEYOND THE ARC: Darrin Govens is in sole possession of second place on the Hawks' all-time list for career 3-point field goals with 236. The record is 294 set by Pat Carroll (2001-05). Govens is also just five short of the school record for career 3-point attempts (661) held by Carroll.
MOVING UP THE LADDER: As Darrin Govens moves up the ladder among the Hawks' all-time leaders in 3-pointers and points (tied for 25th), Garrett Williamson has made his mark in a few categories. Williamson currently ranks seventh in career assists with 407 and eighth in blocked shots with 103. The senior has played in 127 games to date with 96 starts.
WHERE HAS IT BEEN? The Hawks turned in their best shooting performance of the year at GW, hitting 58.8 percent from the field and 60 percent from 3-point range. SJU opened the game shooting a season-best 64.0 percent from the field, led by a 6-for-6 effort from Idris Hilliard.
BACK TO BASICS: In the rare week off that the Hawks had in between the Charlotte game and the GW game, Phil Martelli went back to basics. He put the Hawks through two days of skill work and it might have paid off - SJU shot a season best 58.8% from the field and 60% from 3-point range in the win at George Washington.
AT A LOSS: The Hawks' streak of nine consecutive winning seasons is in jeopardy with the sub-.500 record. The last time SJU was under .500 was in 1999-00 with a 13-16 mark.
POST-SEASON HOPES: The Hawks are looking to qualify for the A-10 Tournament with a win today. Saint Joseph's has been a participant in all 27 years of the conference tournament to date.
IDRIS' DOUBLES: Idris Hilliard bounced back to have a big game at George Washington, making his first seven shots en route to 17 points on 8-for-11 shooting. Hilliard, who went 6-for-6 in the first half, had three more points than he scored in the previous four games combined. The junior put together a six-game double-figure scoring streak, which ended vs. Richmond. During that time, Hilliard averaged 14.1 points and converted 52.3 percent (33-63) from the field.
CENTENNIAL MOMENT: March 6, 2008 - "The Fieldhouse Finale" saw many former SJU coaches, players and mascots in attendance, including Hawk greats Jack Ramsay, Jameer Nelson and Mike Bantom. The on-court Hawks added to the celebration with a 71-66 upset of #8 Xavier for the highest ranked team ever to be beaten at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse.
LOOKING AHEAD: Saint Joseph's needs a win today to extend its season. If the Hawks win, they clinch a spot in the Atlantic 10 Tournament and will travel to a campus site on Tuesday for a first-round game.