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PENN SNAPS SJU WIN STREAK AT SIX, 62-60
Courtesy: SJU Athletic Communications  
Release:  09/01/2004
PHILADELPHIA (01/26/02) ? One-tenth of a second. That was the difference in the outcome of another classic Big Five match-up at The Palestra on Saturday afternoon. Legendary Associated Press writer Jack Scheuer, inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame at halftime along with Saint Joseph's women's standout Amy Mallon among others, has seen many of them in his 40-plus years of covering city-series play. That did not matter to Phil Martelli and his Saint Joseph's Hawks, who came up on the short end of the clock in a 62-60 loss to Penn. The loss snapped a six-game win-streak for SJU, and dropped the Hawks to 12-5 overall, 0-1 in Big Five play. Penn moved to 3-0 in Big Five play for the first time since its 1978-79 Final Four season, coached by another Big Five Hall of Fame inductee from this year's class, Bob Weinhauer. Saint Joseph's, which defeated Penn 67-61 on December 8, knew it was going to be tough to defeat Penn twice in one season. The Quakers, 13-4 overall and favored to win the Ivy League, had won on the road against Georgia Tech and Temple and knocked off Villanova at the Palestra. Besides SJU, the Quakers had lost to Illinois, 78-71, and in overtime to Davidson and Harvard. Two of the losses, SJU and Davidson, had come with junior guard Andrew Toole (13.7 ppg.) on the sidelines. "They are an Atlantic 10 level team," stated Martelli. SJU trailed 62-56 with 2:59 to play after a Koko Archibong (16 points) 15-footer. A minute later, Damian Reid cut the lead to four with a lay-up. Toole (14 points, 4 steals), who looks totally recovered from his stress fracture that caused him to miss the first contest, then turned the ball over which led to two Marvin O'Connor free throws That cut the deficit to a basket, 62-60, with 1:33 remaining. The Hawks had their chances, eight of them in all, to tie the game. Following an Ugonna Onyekwe turnover, Jameer Nelson missed not one, but three shots and Reid missed another as SJU pounded the offensive glass, but to no avail. Onyekwe finally pulled down a rebound, one of his game-high 13, and was fouled. A 64 percent free throw shooter, the junior forward proceeded to miss two. O'Connor, who nearly single-handily carried SJU to victory with 29 points, then drove the lane, appeared to be knocked about, and had his shot rim out. Onyekwe then proceeded to miss two more free throws and, before you could say deja vous, O'Connor drove the lane again, encountered contact, no whistle, and another Onyekwe rebound. After Onyekwe amazingly missed two more free throws, Crenshaw dribbled up the court with six seconds left with a chance to tie or win. Archibong fouled the Hawk senior with two seconds left. Normally a 70 percent free throw shooter, Crenshaw's accuracy dips to 53 percent at the Palestra, his least favorite building. His first shot was short, with O'Connor rebounding and putting up a floater in the lane. That missed and Alexandre Sazonov rebounded and laid it in as time expired. One official waved off the basket, but referee Jack Sweeney went to the television monitors which clearly showed that Sazonov's put back was just after the red light lashed above the basket indicating the end of the game. "The thing that jumps out is the foul shooting," lamented Martelli. "It has been an Achilles heel. We were 9-for-16 (overall), 3-for-7 in the first half. Not Na'im's (miss), that stuff happens." "I did think this would be an offensive challenge," added the Hawk coach, who saw his team score its fewest points in two seasons. "and it turned out to be just that for us." The Hawks offense, which by season's end will have four 1,000-point scorers on the floor, was not firing on all cylinders. Seniors Bill Phillips (0) and Crenshaw (2) were held to career lows, while sixth man Delonte West (2) was not his usual spark off the bench. "Bill is a timing player and it showed," stated Martelli on Phillips lack of practice time due to the flu. "That is not an excuse, he is more than capable." On Crenshaw, the Overbrook High grad has struggled in the fabled arena his entire career, and today was just another chapter in the saga. He hit just 1-of-10 from the field, contributing to a season-low 35.5 percent from the field for SJU. If you take out O'Connor's 11-of-21, the Hawks hit just 11-40 for 27.5 percent. "We had a coach with him the whole time (at Friday's Palestra workout), feeding him the ball and getting him as many shots as he can," explained the Hawk coach. "The ball just did not drop." So now SJU must regroup and in a hurry as the Hawks travel to Villanova for another Big Five clash on Monday night (8:00 p.m./ESPN2). That will be O'Connor's last chance to get a win over his former team.