Jan. 14, 2009
OLEAN, N.Y. - Idris Hilliard had 17 points and Ahmad Nivins had 16 points and 13 rebounds as Saint Joseph's (8-7; 2-0 A-10) defeated St. Bonaventure (10-6; 1-2), 62-51, at the Reilly Center for the Hawks' third straight win.
Hilliard scored 11 points in the second half as SJU broke open the game. Leading by 38-34 early in the second half, the Hawks went on a 16-6 run, with six points from Hilliard, to take a 54-40 lead. The final margin was the closest that the Bonnies would come the rest of the way.
Both teams shot poorly in the first half with the Hawks hitting just 32 percent and committing 11 turnovers, and the Bonnies converting just 27 percent. Saint Joseph's had a 21-10 lead midway through the period but saw St. Bonaventure go on a 10-4 run to close to within 25-22 with 46 seconds remaining in the half. SJU went without a field goal for over six minutes and only had four points in the final 6:20 of the half.
"In the first half we were fortunate because they missed some easy shots," said SJU coach Phil Martelli. "Idris (Hilliard) had a miserable first half with five turnovers but in the second half he made some big shots and was taking shots comfortably."
"The number that jumps out is that we gave up only eight free throws (four made) to a team that averages 25. We'll take that and run with it."
Hilliard shot 8-for-13 from the field while frontcourt mate Nivins made 5-of-10 shots and added three blocked shots. Darrin Govens also chipped in with 11 points.
St. Bonaventure was led by freshman Andrew Nicholson with 12 points and Jonathan Hall with 10.
The Hawks return to Philadelphia to begin a three-game homestand starting on Sunday against Charlotte at The Palestra. The game time has been changed to noon as to not conflict with the Eagles' NFC Championship game.