Jan. 4, 2006
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Brian Thornton scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Stanley Burrell had 17 points to lead Xavier to a 62-58 win over Saint Joseph's on Wednesday night in the Atlantic 10 opener for both teams.
Trailing by one with just over 2 1/2 minutes left, the Musketeers (8-2, 1-0) got three straight baskets from Thornton, Dedrick Finn and Burrell to give them just the cushion they needed to hang on.
Not that the Hawks (5-5, 0-1) didn't make it interesting.
Dwayne Lee hit a 3-pointer that pulled the Hawks within two with just under a minute left, then Burrell hit a jumper from the right side that bounced around the rim a couple of times before falling through to make it 57-53.
After a couple of Xavier free throws, Ahmad Nivins was fouled on a big dunk with 21.7 seconds left, but the 87 percent free-throw shooter couldn't sink perhaps his biggest attempt of the season, leaving the Hawks down three.
Xavier, though, sealed the game from the line and won its third straight game.
Lee scored 16 points, Abdulai Jalloh added 15 and Nivins had 12 rebounds and 12 points for the Hawks."We give that team one three and seven offensive rebounds, but the number that stands out to me is 15 turnovers. You can't have balls taken out of your hands," said SJU coach Phil Martelli. "I'm not questioning the mental toughness of this group, but the physical toughness has to dramatically improve if we're going to play at this level."
With the Musketeers down nine early in the second half, they used a 14-2 run highlighted by a tying 3-pointer from Burrell and a go-ahead fastbreak dunk by Thornton to take a 40-38 lead.
Jalloh quickly sank a 3-pointer to tie the game at 41-all and Nivins went up strong inside for a 43-41 lead. Jalloh delivered again with a runner in the lane to make it 45-41.
Xavier scored the next six points, and the lead kept swapping from there until late in the game.
The Hawks played most of the second half short-handed after key reserve Dave Mallon left for good about 2 minutes into the half with a scratched cornea and Rob Ferguson went to the bench for about 6 minutes after he was whistled for his fourth foul.
While Xavier missed nine of 13 free throws in the first half, Chet Stachitas and Lee each sank three straight free throws after they were fouled on 3-point attempts, and Stachitas scored 11 in the half to give the Hawks a 29-22 lead at the break.
The Hawks played their first game at Alumni Fieldhouse since Nov. 18. Even with the loss, perhaps the Hawks shouldn't be so stingy about playing their home games here - they're 50-5 on campus since the 2000-01 season.
Saint Joseph's held a moment of silence before the game for former coach Jim Boyle, who died Dec. 23.