Feb. 3, 2009
PHILADELPHIA - Saint Joseph's (12-8; 5-1 A-10) will look to bounce back from its first loss of the calendar year of 2009 when it returns home to face George Washington (6-12; 0-6) on Wednesday, February 4 at The Palestra. Game time is 7 p.m.
The Saint Joseph's Sports Network team of Matt Martucci 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.
GAME NOTES: The Hawks saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end with the 69-58 loss at Dayton. It was SJU's first loss in the calendar year of 2009. Senior Ahmad Nivins tops the Hawks with a league-leading 13 double-doubles and is averaging a team-high 19.8 points and 11.8 rebounds. He has scored in double figures in 32 consecutive games, also the best in the Atlantic 10. Ahmad Nivins leads the A-10 in field goal percentage (.663) and ranks third nationally. He also tops the league in rebounding (11.8), offensive rebounds (4.3), defensive rebounds (7.4) and minutes played (39.5), while ranking among the conference's top 10 in eight categories. He's averaging 21.7 points and a league-best 14.3 rebounds in conference games only, Tasheed Carr was named the Atlantic 10 Co-Player of the Week for Feb. 1 after posting 21 points, six rebounds and eight assists in the win over Richmond. The senior leads the conference in 3-point field goal percentage (42.9).
LAST TIME OUT: Saint Joseph's saw its seven-game winning streak come to an end as the Hawks fell at Dayton, 69-58. Tasheed Carr led SJU in scoring for the second straight game, tallying a team-high 14 points. Ahmad Nivins scored a season-low 12 points while adding 13 rebounds for his 13th double-double of the season. Saint Joseph's led early on, holding a 15-12 advantage with just under 12 minutes remaining in the first half on a three-pointer by Darrin Govens. A 9-0 run for Dayton put the Flyers ahead and UD would not relinquish the lead for the remainder of the game. Dayton led by six at halftime, enjoying a 14-6 advantage in free throw attempts over the opening stanza. The Flyers stretched the lead to as many as 17 with 3:28 to go before the final margin settled at 11. SJU ended the game 18-of-18 from the free throw line, including a six-for-six effort from Garrett Williamson.
SEEING DOUBLE: Ahmad Nivins has now scored in double figures in 78 of the 114 games of his career and in an A-10 best 32 consecutive games. He's grabbed double-figure rebounds 25 times, with a league-leading 13 double-doubles this season alone, giving him 22 career double-doubles.
JUST WARMING UP: Phil Martelli's teams are known for their strong play as the season progresses, especially during the conference slate. In the past four years, the Hawks have headed into January with a combined 22-19 record (53.6 winning pct.). But during the conference regular season (counting this season), Saint Joseph's has compiled a 47-24 record (66.2%). This season, SJU was 5-7 at the end of December and has since won seven of eight, going undefeated in January.
MAN IN THE MIDDLE: In conference games, Ahmad Nivins is averaging a dominating 21.7 points and 14.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 61.5 percent from the field and 80.6 percent from the foul line. After Nivins' 34-point, 16-rebound performance against Duquesne, Phil Martelli said, "Any discussion about the best player in the city... please, the precincts have closed. I'll go as far to say - he's the best player in the league."
STRAIGHT SHOOTING: The Hawks lead the conference in free throw percentage, hitting 74.1 percent. In the past five games, SJU has hit 81.4 percent (101-of-124) from the line. Ahmad Nivins leads the way for the Hawks hitting 78.3 percent with a team-high 152 attempts. Fellow starters Darrin Govens and Tasheed Carr are each hitting over 70 percent as well. In conference games only, SJU is converting 77.6 percent, which included an 18-for-18 effort at Dayton. Carr, Nivins and Govens are each converting over 80 percent in A-10 games.
IRON MAN: In the statistics calculated by www.kenpom.com, Ahmad Nivins ranks second in the nation in percentage of team's minutes played at 95.6 percent. Nivins is averaging 39.5 minutes per game and has played 791 out of a possible 830 minutes.
THE THROWBACK: Ahmad Nivins ranks 28th in the nation in scoring but more impressively, he is the only player among the nation's top 50 scorers that has not hit at least one 3-point field goal. Nivins has accumulated his points with 138 field goals and 119 free throws.
THE STREAK: SJU's numbers during seven-game winning streak were: outscored the opponents 77.8 to 67.4 points shot 48.1 percent from the field hit 72.8 percent from the foul line held foes to 29.2 percent from 3-point range
SUBPAR EFFORT: SJU had one of its worst shooting days at Dayton, converting just 34.6 percent, the lowest effort since the Drexel game on New Year's Eve. It snapped a seven-game streak in which the Hawks converted 40 percent or better from the field.
IDRIS' IMPROVEMENT: Sophomore Idris Hilliard could make a case for being one of the most improved players in the league this year. He saw limited action in all 33 games as a freshman (5.7 minutes per game) and averaged just 1.2 points and 1.0 rebounds. This season, he is averaging 28.4 minutes, 9.0 rebounds and 5.2 rebounds. His field goal percentage of 52.5 ranks second on the team.
LOOKING AHEAD: SJU travels to UMass on Sunday, Feb. 8 for a nationally-televised game on CBS College Sports and then returns home to host city rival Temple at The Palestra on Feb. 12, which will be seen on either ESPN or ESPN2.