Dec. 30, 2007
PHILADELPHIA - Saint Joseph's (6-4) will take on city rival Drexel (7-5) on New Year's Eve at the Palestra. Tickets are still available for the game, which begins at 6 p.m.
The contest will be televised on CN8, The Comcast Network. It can also be heard on WNTP (990 AM) and via audio streaming on www.sjuhawks.com.
Drexel is the home team for the game and prior to the Hawks-Dragons at 6 p.m., there is a Drexel vs. American women's game beginning at 3:30 p.m.
GAME NOTES: The Hawks have won two in a row - a win tonight would give them their longest winning streak of the season. Pat Calathes tops the Hawks in scoring (17.4 ppg) and rebounding (7.4) and is second in assists (2.8) Tasheed Carr leads the Atlantic 10 in assists with 7.0 per game and ranks ninth in the latest NCAA statistics. This is the last game in preparation for the conference season. SJU opens A-10 play on January 9 at UMass.
THE BIG THREE: SJU got the game it's been looking for at Siena from the the three upperclassmen in the frontcourt - Pat Calathes, Rob Ferguson and Ahmad Nivins. Calathes grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds and had a key steal and dunk with :13 to play and the Hawks clinging to a 3-point lead. Ferguson was a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point range and his three with 1:24 remaining gave SJU the lead for good. Nivins scored 20 points for the first time since Dec. 1 and made two key free throws with :26 to give the Hawks a two-point cushion.
BROTHERS IN ARMS: Pat Calathes and his younger brother, Nick, share the distinction of being the only brothers in basketball to be their teams' leading scorers. Pat is averaging a team-high 17.1 points for the Hawks, while Nick, a freshman at Florida, is scoring 14.8 per game.
RINGING IN THE NEW YEAR: The Hawks and New Year's Eve have become a recent tradition. This will be Saint Joseph's fifth game on New Year's Eve in the last seven years. In the program's history, the Hawks are 2-4 on the final day of the year. Here's the rundown: 2005: at Gonzaga, L 102-94 2004: at Ohio State, L 72-61 2002: at Gonzaga, W 79-78 (OT) 2001: Gonzaga, L 83-80 1996: at Wisconsin-Green Bay, W 64-59 1961: Seton Hall at ECAC Holiday Festival (New York), L 91-83
LENGTHY BREAKS: Having played Siena last Friday, this will be a quick turnaround for the Hawks, compared to the rest of the month. For example, Saint Joseph's had a week break in between the Fairfield and Siena games. After closing out 2007 tonight, SJU will have some more time before opening the conference season on January 9 at UMass. SJU had a long hiatus earlier this year because of the Preseason NIT. After defeating Boston University on Nov. 17, the Hawks played their next game on Nov. 27 and defeated Ball State. They also had an 11-day hiatus between the Dec. 9 game at Creighton and the Dec. 21 game at Fairfield.
BOUNCING BACK: Ahmad Nivins bounced back from a 2-point performance at Creighton (Dec. 9) with 15 points in the win at Fairfield. Nivins made 7-of-8 shots from the field - a marked difference from the Creighton game in which he didn't have a field goal attempt. He followed that with a team-high 20 points at Siena, going 7-for-12 from the field and 6-for-10 from the foul line.
TAKING OVER: Tasheed Carr did what leaders do as he scored 10 key points in the final seven minutes at Fairfield. The Hawks lost their 17-point lead and saw Fairfield close to within seven points. Carr took over, hitting three field goal attempts and 3-of-5 free throws in that stretch. The junior, who joined the Hawks this year after transferring from Iowa State, was elected co-captain by his teammates before even playing in a game for SJU. Carr has always felt certain of his role, as he has the words "born leader" tatooed on his wrists.
BREAKING OUT: Idris Hilliard had a career-best game in the win at Siena. The freshman sparked the Hawks with a personal-best eight points, helping SJU maintain the lead in the first half. He also grabbed three rebounds.
UNSUNG HERO: Garrett Williamson wasn't the high scorer in the Fairfield win, but he was the difference maker according to Phil Martelli. "Garrett was the player of the game for us. He made every one of those small plays - like a steal or offensive rebound - that you need to win a game like this." Williamson had seven points, two rebounds and three steals in 20 minutes of action. One of the key plays came with 1:36 to play and the Hawks holding a seven-point lead. Williamson made a diving backcourt steal and set up a 3-pointer by Rob Ferguson that gave the Hawks a 10-point lead.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Hawks get another break and start the conference season on Jan. 9 at UMass. SJU makes its return home on Jan. 12 against Richmond.