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Men's Basketball Hosts Siena on Sunday Evening at The Palestra
Courtesy: SJU Athletic Communications  
Release:  12/27/2008

Dec. 27, 2008

PHILADELPHIA - Saint Joseph's (5-5) men's basketball returns to action hosting Siene (6-4) on Sunday, December 28 at The Palestra. Game time is 7 p.m. and tickets will be available at the door.

The Saint Joseph's Sports Network team of Tom McCarthy and Joe Lunardi will broadcast the game on WNTP (990 AM). Streaming audio will also be available on www.sjuhawks.com free of charge as provided by Stretch Internet. Streaming video will also be available thru a subscription to Hawks' All-Access.

Click here for game notes.

GAME NOTES: • SJU is looking to string together consecutive wins for the first time this season. • Senior Ahmad Nivins tops the Hawks with a league-leading six double-doubles in the first 10 games. He's averaging 19.5 points and 11.5 rebounds. • Garrett Williamson ranks third in the Atlantic 10 in assist/turnover ratio (2.33). The junior fell two points shy of a triple-double when he had 8 points-10 rebounds-10 assists at Towson. • Ahmad Nivins leads the A-10 in field goal percentage (68.3), offensive rebounds (5.0) and minutes played (38.5). He ranks eighth in nationally in field goal percentage and 12th in rebounding. • Darrin Govens has notched double figures in all but one game. He scored 22 in the win at Towson and followed that with 18 points against Villanova. • The Hawks will face city rival Drexel on New Year's Eve, for the second year in a row. Game time is 5 p.m. at The Palestra.

LAST TIME OUT: Ahmad Nivins scored a season-high 26 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead Saint Joseph's to a come-from-behind 71-67 victory over Cornell at The Palestra. Nivins hit on 10 of 13 shots for the Hawks, while Darrin Govens added 15 points and Idris Hilliard had his first career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 10 rebounds. Saint Joseph's fell behind 13 points in the first half, which was the largest deficit overcome for a win this season. Trailing 20-7, the Hawks went on a 19-8 run to close to within 28-26 with 2:50 left in the hafl. SJU took the lead, 32-31, on a tip-in by Nivins at :42, but Cornell hit a jumper at :04 to give the visitors the 33-32 lead at halftime. Saint Joseph's trailed 44-38 with 15:46 to play, but Nivins sparked a 20-7 run to give the Hawks a 58-51 lead. The Big Red then scored nine straight points, capped by two free throws, to move ahead 60-58. Saint Joseph's then ran off 10 unanswered points, six by Hilliard, to take a 68-60 lead. Cornell rallied to within 70-67 on a free throw with 10.5 seconds to go, but Nivins made one of two free throws a second later to seal the victory.

SEEING DOUBLE: Ahmad Nivins has now scored in double figures in 68 of the 104 games of his career and in 22 consecutive games. He's grabbed double-figure rebounds 18 times, with a league-leading six double-doubles this season alone. The senior has 16 career double-doubles.

INSIDE FORCES: Against Cornell, forwards Ahmad Nivins and Idris Hilliard combined for 40 points and 26 rebounds. For Nivins it was a season-high in points, while Hilliard reached his career-high in rebounds, while notching his first-ever double-double.

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS: Ahmad Nivins is living up to expectations this year as he leads the Hawks in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage. The senior had 26 points and 16 rebounds vs. Cornell, while making 10-of-13 from the field. Since Phil Martelli's teams are mostly known for their guard play, Martelli was asked if Nivins was the best big man he has coached. Martelli agreed to an extent, saying, "To be honest, most of my big guys set screens and get the hell out of the way."

INSIDE-OUTSIDE: The inside-outside combination of Ahmad Nivins and Darrin Govens provided a performance at Towson that the Hawks have been waiting for. Nivins made 9-of-12 shots, and 7-of-8 from the foul line, en route to a game-high 25 points. Govens had the hot hand from the perimeter to connect on 7-of-13 and score 22 points.

SPREADING CHRISTMAS CHEER: For the 14th consecutive year, the Hawks have participated in an annual Christmas project to help needy families in West Philadelphia. Using donations from the Saint Joseph's community and fans (collected at the Creighton game), the players shopped on December 13 for the families and then delivered the gifts on December 20.

DOING IT ALL: Garrett Williamson just missed a triple-double at Towson when he fell two points shy. The junior had eight points, tied his career-high with 10 rebounds and notched a personal best 10 assists. The last time a Hawk registered that statistical rarity was on Feb. 19, 2005 when Dwayne Jones had 11 points-11 rebounds-10 blocks vs. St. Bonaventure.

ON HIS SHOULDERS: Phil Martelli's admitted that's he's placed a huge burden on the shoulders of Ahmad Nivins. "If he's in the conversation for Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, then we have a chance to be a good team. If he's not the best player on the floor each game, then we're in trouble. Certainly our players and Ahmad understand the burden that's been placed on him, and Ahmad has willingly accepted it."

ROAD WARRIORS: SJU is in the midst of a three-game stretch at this year's homecourt, The Palestra. SJU was on the road for seven of the first nine games. They are 2-2 in away games in 1-2 on neutral courts.