Dec. 18, 2006
PHILADELPHIA - After an eight-day break for final exams, the Saint Joseph's men's basketball team returns to action hosting Saint Mary's on Tuesday, December 19, at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse. Game time is 7 p.m.
The contest will be broadcast locally on WHAT Radio (1340 AM) with Tom McCarthy and Joe Lunardi calling the action.
Fans are asked to bring a new unwrapped toy to the game for the Marines' Toys for Tots collection.
Saint Joseph's is 5-4 on the year while the Gaels are 6-6.
GAME NOTES: Leading scorer Ahmad Nivins is doubtful for the game due to a sprained ankle (right) that he suffered in practice on Dec. 13. Alvin Mofunanya will most likely get the start in his place. The Hawks are playing for the first time in nine days after taking a break for final exams, which ended today (19th). Saint Joseph's has lost two in a row and three of the last four. Phil Martelli needs eight wins to surpass Hall of Famer Jack Ramsay on SJU's list for coaching victories. Ramsay totaled 234 in 11 years (234-72 from 1955 to 66) while Martelli's 12-year mark stands at 227-129. The two schools have only met once before, last year in California, with SJU scoring a 70-66 win.
AHMAD'S WEEK: Ahmad Nivins was named the Atlantic 10 Co-Player of the Week on Dec. 9, sharing the award with Rhode Island's Jimmy Baron. Nivins averaged 27.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in the first two games of the NABC Classic, with a career-high 28 in the win over Bellarmine. He shot 21-for-29 (.724) from the floor in the two games. The sophomore then scored eight points in the Hawks' loss to Ohio, but earned NABC Classic All-Tournament honors. In the three games, Nivins averaged 21.6 points and 8.0 rebounds.
INJURY REPORT: The Hawks have two players with sprained ankles - leading scorer Ahmad Nivins and reserve Marcus Mitchell. Nivins sprained his right ankle in practice on Dec. 13 and Mitchell injured his on Dec. 17. Both are doubtful for the Saint Mary's game and Nivins is hopeful of returning for the Holiday Festival. Rockwell Moody missed the three games of the NABC Classic after injuring his right hand in the Dec. 7 practice and receiving stitches. The stitches have since been removed and Moody has returned to practice.
CALLING ON ALVIN: Sophomore Alvin Mofunanya will most likely get the start in place of the injured Ahmad Nivins. Mofunanya has two career starts to his credit, last season in place of the injured Dave Mallon. In his first start against St. Bonaventure (Feb. 4, 2006), he recorded a career-high 13 points on 5-for-8 shooting in 21 minutes played.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK JINX?: Not sure if being named the A-10 Player of the Week can "jinx" a player, but Ahmad Nivins earned the conference honor on Dec. 9, and then sprained his right ankle in practice on Dec. 13. He is hopeful of returning for the Holiday Festival on Dec. 28 and 29.
STEALING AWAY: The Hawks rank second in the Atlantic 10 in steals per game (8.78) while D.J. Rivera is also second with 2.22 per game. SJU registered a season-high 16 steals in the Bellarmine win, which was the most for the Hawks since the NCAA Second Round win over Liberty in 2004. Rivera also had a career-high six steals against Bellarmine which was also the most since Jameer Nelson had six in that game.