March 1, 2009
PHILADELPHIA -Ahmad Nivins scored 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds and Tasheed Carr added 17 points as Saint Joseph's snapped a five-game losing streak with a 73-62 victory over St. Bonaventure on Sunday. It was the home finale for the Hawks at The Palestra, this year's homecourt while SJU's Fieldhouse undergoes a renovation and expansion.
Nivins, playing in his last home game for the Hawks (14-14, 6-8 Atlantic 10), has scored in double figures in 40 straight games, and has recorded 19 double-doubles. He leads the A10 in scoring, rebounding and shooting percentage.
Idris Hilliard had eight points and 11 rebounds for the Hawks. Chris Matthews had 15 points and Malcolm Eleby 14 for the Bonnies (14-14, 5-10 A10), who lost their 15th straight to Saint Joseph's.
The Hawks never trailed in the game and led 52-42 with 7:29 remaining. The Bonnies rallied to within 57-52 on a layup by Andrew Nicholson with 3:36 to play, but Nivins hit a 6-footer, starting a 9-3 run, and the Bonnies never threatened again.
Senior reserve Edwin Lashley made the first start of his career, and scored five points in three minutes of action to get the Hawks going. SJU jumped out to a 25-15 lead but couldn't put the Bonnies away early. Saint Joseph's did hold a 33-30 lead at halftime.
"I would really be remiss if I didn't mention Darrin Govens. He came to me before the game and said that since Edwin hadn't played much this year, he asked if he could start in his place today for Senior Day. It was a class move and a nice gesture," said Hawk coach Phil Martelli.
The top free-throw shooting team in the A-10, the Hawks struggled from the line, going just 2-for-9 in the first half and 21-for-35 for the game.
Saint Joseph's finished with a 7-6 record on its temporary homecourt this season and will return to campus next year to the Michael J. Hagan '85 Arena.
"We want to thank all the people here at Penn, their operations and athletic administration. It's funny three different people said to me today, 'it's been hard'. I don't know what they were speaking from, they haven't lived it, what we had to do, 14 times this year. But the people at Penn have been absolutely incredible to work with, and the same with our athletic administration. So much appreciation to the people here at Penn," said Martelli.