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Barley, Nelson Set Record as #2 Hawks Down Fordham, 72-54
Courtesy: SJU Athletic Communications  
Release:  09/01/2004
BRONX, N.Y. (2/17/04)The dynamic backcourt of Jameer Nelson and Delonte West led second-ranked and unbeaten Saint Joseph's to its 23rd win with the 74-52 decision over Fordham in the sold-out Rose Hill Gym. With the victory, Hawk seniors Nelson and Tyrone Barley set the school record for victories by a four-year class with 91. With the victory, the Hawks also clinch their second straight Atlantic 10 East Division title.

Nelson and Barley have compiled a 91-26 record in their four years, eclipsing the mark of 90 held by the 1981-82 class of Bill Healy, Mark Dearborn and Brian Warrick.

"It's very special to break the record. I told Ty (Barley) after the game that I wouldn't want to spend my four years with anyone else," said Nelson. "He's helped me out so much over the years. Just facing him every day in practice has helped me so much. He gives tremendous effort all the time."

Nelson had 18 points and nine assists, West added 16 points and Barley had 10 for the Hawks, who matched the 1981-82 West Virginia team for the second-longest winning streak in Atlantic 10 Conference history. Saint Joseph's (23-0, 12-0 A-10 East) is approaching the conference record of 26 straight wins set by Massachusetts in the 1995-96 campaign.

Fordham had the loud and enthusiastic crowd working for it early, as the Rams stayed with the Hawks for the first 10 minutes. SJU then broke it open midway through the first going on a 16-2 run and taking a 37-21 lead into halftime.

The Hawks continued that spurt after intermission, outscoring the Rams, 17-2 in the first five minutes, to own a 54-23 lead. SJU led by as much as 64-31 and before Coach Phil Martelli began emptying the bench.

"It was a tremendous atmosphere, and one which we welcome. Our shot selection was off and we were a little uncomfortable early on. The middle part of the game is what we've come to expect from our guys, sharing the ball and defending the ball," said Martelli.

It was SJU's first game since attaining the national ranking of second, matching the highest ever accomplished in December 1965.

The Hawks are four games away from completing an undefeated regular season. They face Temple on Saturday at the Palestra, then play at Massachusetts and Rhode Island before hosting St. Bonaventure in their regular season finale.