Courtesy: SJU Athletic Communications  
Release:  09/01/2004
KINGSTON, RI (01/19/03) - Senior guard Brian Woodward put back his own miss at the buzzer to lead the Rhode Island Rams to a 58-57 win over the Saint Joseph's Hawks at the Ryan Center on Sunday afternoon in a battle of the two most surprising teams in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Woodward, who finished with a team-high 12 points, missed a runner in the lane and then battled the rebound away from SJU's Dwayne Jones and put the ball back in as time expired. The basket capped a 7-0 URI over the final four minutes. Sophomore Delonte West, the co-Atlantic 10 Player of the Week, turned in another stellar performance for the Hawks, tallying a game-high 26 points. West hit 11-of-19 from the field, grabbed five rebounds and dished four assists against one turnover. His running mate Jameer Nelson, however, had his worst performance of the season. The All-America candidate hit just 4-of-14 from the field, and turned the ball over six times, including two in the final minute. He also missed a one-and one with 10 seconds to play with SJU leading 57-56. "He played poorly," stated SJU head coach Phil Martelli.on Nelson. "He did not play to his level. He is in that locker room and he should be in tears because he did not play well." Rhode Island, 11-4, 3-1 in A-10 play, jumped out to an 11-2 lead in the opening minutes of the game, giving notice to St. Joe's that they were to be taken seriously. The Hawks battled back, on the strength of 23 first half points from West (13) and Nelson (10) to take the lead at the half, 31-26. URI showing the resiliency of its second year coach, Jim Baron, used a 15-6 run to start the second stanza to take back the lead, 41-37, with 14:04 remaining. The Rams built that margin 45-39, before West scored seven points on a 9-0 Hawk run, to take the lead back, 48-45, with 9:25 to play. SJU extended the lead to six points twice, both on West jumpers, the final one at the 4:08 mark. Then the roof fell in on SJU. The Hawks missed all six of the shots from the field they attempted in the final four minutes, turning the ball over three times. That stretch also included Nelson's critical missed free throw, one of three on the game from the career 78 percent shooter. On the other side, the Rams proved hungrier. URI pulled in seven of its 22 offensive rebounds, the most by a Hawk opponent, in the final four minutes, with the biggest being Woodward's at the end. "We gave up 22 offensive rebounds, that is embarrassing," stated Martelli. Lost in the result was a season best five blocked shots by Jones, the A-10's leader with 28. Sophomore John Bryant led the Hawks with six rebounds. SJU, 12-2, 4-1, now must regroup for a Wednesday match-up with Fordham at the Fieldhouse (7:00 p.m./WPEN 950 AM).