Nov. 14, 2006
Pat Calathes added 13 points and nine boards for the Hawks (1-0), who got nearly all their scoring from the frontcourt.
Greg Nero led the Stags (0-3) with 18 points.
The Hawks have used steady 3-point shooting to make six straight postseason appearances under coach Phil Martelli, but are making a shift this season to a more inside-out team. Saint Joseph's tried to shrink the court and get the ball into the lane more often, and Nivins was the first-game benefactor.
Nivins, a 6-foot-9 center, made his first five shots in the second half, including four straight Saint Joseph's baskets early in the half in one stretch that bumped its lead to 41-26.
He grabbed seven of his rebounds in the second half.
Then again, he had plenty of chances.
Both teams struggled with their shooting and were sloppy with the ball. While that could be blamed on opening game rustiness for the Hawks, the Stags had played twice already. But the Stags lost their first game in double overtime and their second in OT, surely making fatigue a factor.
There were a combined 38 turnovers and the Stags shot 32 percent overall from the floor.
Nero scored eight straight points midway through the second half to keep the game interesting, but Ferguson excited the home crowd with two straight 3-pointers and a 16-point lead.
D.J. Rivera's 3-pointer late in the second was the first jumper by a St. Joe's guard all game. It's a drastic change for a program that recently sent star guards Jameer Nelson and Delonte West to the NBA, and relied on Pat Carroll and Chet Stachitas as 3-point threats.
The Hawks didn't even hit their first 3 until about 5 minutes left in the first half, then got two straight from Calathes and Ferguson. Nivins scored off a 2-on-1 fastbreak to help the them take a 28-17 halftime lead.
Fairfield made only 7 of 25 shots in the first half.
Notes: Freshman Darrin Govens did not play in the second half after injuring his right hand in the first half. It is feared that there is a fracture in the hand, but that cannot be confirmed until he has x-rays.