By Tom Durso for sjuhawks.com SAN DIEGO, CA (3-17-01) -- The Hawks' magical mystery tour of a season came to an end Saturday with a 90-83 loss to Stanford in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Twenty years after toppling top-ranked De Paul in the second round of the Tournament, St. Joseph's came within a whisker of doing it again. In a hugely entertaining game, the Hawks wiped out a 14-point first-half deficit before falling to the Cardinal (30-2), which advanced to the Tournament's Sweet 16. St. Joseph's ended the season at 26-7, tying a school record for wins. SJU got a superhuman effort out of junior guard Marvin O'Connor, who netted a career-tying 37 points on 15 of 20 shooting before fouling out, to a standing ovation, with 11.9 seconds remaining. His 706 total points set a St. Joseph's record for most points scored in a season; the previous record was Cliff Anderson's 690 in 1966-67. Jameer Nelson tallied 14 points and came within a rebound and an assist of securing a triple double; Na'im Crenshaw contributed 10 points. "All of this was the rightful culmination of 190 days together," said a drained Phil Martelli, the Hawks' head coach. "We had to stand toe-to-toe, and we did. We had to stand with our backs to each other, and we did. We go home now and we collect the uniforms, but you know what you saw. We didn't lose. They get to go on. ... I think we'll be back." The Hawks used their superior quickness to chip away at the Cardinal's lead and took their first lead with 10:10 to go in the second half on layup underneath by Alexandre Sazonov. The teams then traded leads for the remainder of the game, with Stanford hitting all 10 of its final free throws to seal the victory. "I'm glad we had this chance," said O'Connor. "All the predictions for us this year were obviously wrong. We proved a lot." For the game, SJU shot an impressive 57 percent from the floor-including a blistering 62 percent in the second half-and hit five more field goals than Stanford. But several Hawks were hampered by foul trouble, and the Cardinal made 16 more free throws than St. Joseph's did. It was only in the second half, when SJU was able to get out in transition and to begin sinking three-point shots, that the Hawks drew close. Before that, Stanford kept the pace deliberate and relied on its outside sharpshooters and punishing interior defense to build its big lead. "We took a pretty good shot there from a very good St. Joseph's team," said Cardinal head coach Mike Montgomery. "It was a tough game. There's a sense of relief, for sure." Four Stanford players tallied in double figures, led by Jason Collins, who totaled 22 points.
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