Jan. 27, 2009
RICHMOND, VA. - The Saint Joseph's men's basketball team (11-7; 4-0 A-10) looks to extend its six-game winning streak when it visits Richmond (11-8; 3-1) on Wednesday evening. Game time at the Robins Center is 7 p.m.
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.
GAME NOTES: The Hawks are riding a six-game winning streak, which is their longest of the year and longest since a six-game winning streak from Jan. 19- Feb. 4 of 2008. SJU has not yet lost in the calendar year of 2009. The Hawks' 4-0 record in the Atlantic 10 is the best start since the 2004-05 team had the same record. If they improve to 5-0, it will be the best start since 2003-04. Senior Ahmad Nivins tops the Hawks with a league-leading 11 double-doubles and is averaging a team-high 20.4 points and 11.6 rebounds. He has scored in double figures in 30 consecutive games. Ahmad Nivins leads the A-10 in field goal percentage (.677) and ranks fourth nationally. He also tops the league in rebounding (11.6), offensive rebounds (4.6) and minutes played (39.6), while ranking among the conference's top 10 in eight categories. He's averaging 25.8 points and a league-best 14.8 rebounds in conference games only, Ahmad Nivins was named the Atlantic 10 Co-Player of the Week for Jan. 25 and a league-best fifth time this season. He also earned Big 5 weekly honors for the fourth time this year. The senior averaged 26.3 points and 14.3 rebounds in three wins.
LAST TIME OUT: Ahmad Nivins had 20 points and 17 rebounds to lead Saint Joseph's to an 80-68 victory over city rival Penn at the soldout Palestra. Darrin Govens matched Nivins with 20 points for the Hawks, who won their sixth straight. Tasheed Carr scored 15 and Garrett Williamson added 11. Penn led 60-59 with 7:37 left in the game before Govens hit an 18-foot jumper that started a decisive 14-2 run for the Hawks. A layup by Williamson with 3:29 left capped the outburst that gave Saint Joseph's a 73-62 advantage. The Quakers led by as many as 16 points in the first half, hitting 10 of its first 17 shots on the way to a 24-8 lead with 10:30 left in the first half. But the Hawks, who missed nine of their first 12 field goals, scored 21 of the next 24 points to take a 29-27 lead with 4:24 left in the opening half and a 37-34 lead at the break. Nivins, who had his 11th double-double of the season, opened the second half with a dunk and 6-foot jumper, and the Hawks scored 13 of the first 20 points in the half to lead 50-41 with 15:16 to go.
SEEING DOUBLE: Ahmad Nivins has now scored in double figures in 76 of the 112 games of his career and in 30 consecutive games. He's grabbed double-figure rebounds 23 times, with a league-leading 11 double-doubles this season alone. The senior has 21 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 46-23 record (66.6%). This season, SJU was 5-7 at the end of December and has since won six in a row to start 2009, including a 4-0 conference record.
MAN IN THE MIDDLE: In conference games, Ahmad Nivins is averaging a dominating 25.8 points and 14.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 65.2 percent from the field and 78.2 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."
MINUTE MAN: In the statistics calculated by www.kenpom.com, Ahmad Nivins ranks third in the nation in percentage of team's minutes played at 95.3 percent. Nivins is averaging 39.6 minutes per game.
THE THROWBACK: Ahmad Nivins ranks 22nd 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 128 field goals and 112 free throws.
THE STREAK: SJU's numbers during its current six-game winning streak tell the tale. The Hawks are outscoring their foes - 79.0 to 71.2; shooting 46.6 percent from the field; and hitting 72.3 percent from the foul line.
SHARING THE BALL: The Hawks had an impressive 21 assists on 23 field goals against Charlotte. Overall, SJU is averaging 16.0 assists per game with Garrett Williamson leading the way with his 5.1 average.
DOUBLE HEADER : Ahmad Nivins has been averaging a double-double all season and would join a select group of Hawks if he finishes the year that way. The last Hawk to average a double-double was Dwayne Jones in 2004-05, with his averages of 10.1 points and 11.6 rebounds. Prior to Jones, Will Johnson was the last one to notch the double-double in 1995-96 (10.5 ppg; 10.2 rpg). Since 1952-53, the feat has been accomplished 29 times by a total of 16 different players.
AHMAD'S ACCOLADES: Ahmad Nivins continues to compile the weekly honors this season. He was named the Atlantic 10 Co-Player of the Week for Jan. 25, marking the fifth time this season he's received the honor, the most of any player in the league. He was also chosen the Big 5 Player of the Week for the fourth time. Nivins earned the nods by averaging 26.3 points and 14.3 rebounds in the Hawks' 3-0 week. Nivins shot 25-of-34 from the field and 29-of-33 from the line. He had 25 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Charlotte and followed that with a career-high 34 points and to go along with 16 boards as Saint Joseph's edged Duquesne, 99-98 in overtime. Nivins closed out the week with 20 points and 17 rebounds in a non-conference win over Penn.
LOOKING AHEAD: SJU travels to Dayton on Sunday and then returns home to host George Washington Feb. 4.