Jan. 16, 2009
PHILADELPHIA - The Saint Joseph's men's basketball team (8-7; 2-0) will look to extend its winning streak to four on Sunday when it hosts Charlotte (5-10; 0-2) at The Palestra. The game time has been changed to noon and the contest will be televised by CBS College Sports.
Tom McCarthy and Steve Lappas will call the action for CBS College Sports while the Saint Joseph's Sports Network team of Matt Martucci 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 three-game winning streak, which is their longest of the year and longest since a three-game streak at the end of last season. The last time SJU won four in a row was a five-game winning streak from Jan. 19- Feb.4 of 2008. This is the best start in A-10 play since last season when the Hawks opened the year with wins over UMass and Richmond. Ironically, SJU suffered its first loss to Charlotte in the third game of the conference slate. Senior Ahmad Nivins tops the Hawks with a league-leading eight double-doubles and is averaging a team-high 19.3 points and 11.1 rebounds. Ahmad Nivins leads the A-10 in field goal percentage (.665) and ranks third nationally. He also tops the league in offensive rebounds (4.7) and minutes played (39.3), and is tied for first in rebounding (11.1), while ranking among the conference's top 10 in eight categories.
LAST TIME OUT: Idris Hilliard had 17 points and Ahmad Nivins had 16 points and 13 rebounds as Saint Joseph's defeated St. Bonaventure, 62-51, at the Reilly Center for the Hawks' third straight win. Hilliard scored 11 points in the second half as SJU broke open the game. Leading by 38-34 early in the second half, the Hawks went on a 16-6 run, with six points from Hilliard, to take a 54-40 lead. The final margin was the closest that the Bonnies would come the rest of the way. Both teams shot poorly in the first half with the Hawks hitting just 32 percent and committing 11 turnovers, and the Bonnies converting just 27 percent. Saint Joseph's had a 21-10 lead midway through the period but saw St. Bonaventure go on a 10-4 run to close to within 25-22 with 46 seconds remaining in the half. SJU went without a field goal for over six minutes and only had four points in the final 6:20 of the half. Hilliard shot 8-for-13 from the field while frontcourt mate Nivins made 5-of-10 shots and added three blocked shots. Darrin Govens also chipped in with 11 points.
SEEING DOUBLE: Ahmad Nivins has now scored in double figures in 73 of the 109 games of his career and in 27 consecutive games. He's grabbed double-figure rebounds 20 times, with a league-leading eight double-doubles this season alone. The senior has 18 career double-doubles.
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.
NO HARM, NO FOUL: The Hawks have done a good job limiting the fouls this year, and there was no better example than the St. Bonaventure game. SJU committed just 10 fouls in the game and limited the Bonnies to just eight trips to the foul line - going into the game, SBU was averaging 16 free throws made and 25 attempts. Ahmad Nivins has done a good job of staying out of foul trouble as he's committed only 26 fouls in 15 games (1.7 average) and has no disqualifications.
CARR SHOW: Senior Tasheed Carr has scored double figures in the past three of four games, averaging 14.7 points in that stretch. Carr scored 14 points in the first half vs. Ball State, helping the Hawks overcome an early 10-point deficit and take the lead by halftime. He finished that game with 18 points while scoring 19 in the loss to Drexel. He had 14 against Rhode Island, while handing out six assists.
BIG SHOTS: Darrin Govens is the team's leader with 39 3-pointers, but his biggest one so far was one with :04 left in the second overtime against Rhode Island. Govens' three gave the Hawks an 80-77 lead until the Rams hit one at the buzzer to force the third overtime. The junior, who made 3-of-6 against URI, is converting 37.5 percent on the season.
DISAPPEARING ACT: The Hawks have seen some double-digit leads disappear this year with different results. But despite losing a 17-point lead against Rhode Island, the Hawks still pulled out the triple-overtime victory. Here's the rundown: Lead Result Holy Cross 12 (2nd half) Loss (OT) Drexel 11 (1st half) Loss Siena 18 (2nd half) Loss Rhode Island 19 (2nd half) Win (3 OT)
INSIDE FORCES: Forwards Ahmad Nivins and Idris Hilliard are teaming up to give the Hawks an inside presence. In the three games prior to the Ball State game, the duo combined for 105 points and 54 rebounds while hitting 64.4 percent (38-59) from the field. Nivins had a season-high 26 points and 16 rebounds against Cornell, while Hilliard recorded his first career double-double with 14 points and 10 boards. In the Siena game, Hilliard had a career-best 20 points with nine rebounds while Nivins chipped in 15 points. At St. Bonaventure, Hilliard led with 17 points while Nivins had 16 points and 13 rebounds.
WORKING OVERTIME: The Hawks' triple overtime win over Rhode Island snapped an eight-game overtime losing streak. It was the first overtime victory for Saint Joseph's since December 31, 2002, a 79-78 victory at Gonzaga. It was the longest game for Saint Joseph's since a 60-56 three-overtime win over Penn at the Palestra on January 23, 1980.
20-20: Ahmad Nivins' 28-point, 20-rebound effort vs. Rhode Island marked the first time in his career that he posted more than 20 in both categories. The 20 rebounds are tied as the 14th highest total in the nation this year. It was also the first 20-plus point and rebound game for a Saint Joseph's player since Carlin Warley in December of 1992.
IRON MEN: Depth is one of the Hawks' question marks this year so the starters are logging extra minutes. Ahmad Nivins already tops the A-10 averaging 39.3 minutes per game, while Darrin Govens is at 35.9 minutes, Tasheed Carr is averaging 34.8 per game and Garrett Williamson is playing 32.4 minutes. The triple-overtime win over Rhode Island increased those numbers as Nivins played 54 minutes in the marathon contest. Nivins and Govens rank one-two in the Atlantic 10 in minutes played with Carr holding the fifth spot.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Hawks continue the three-game homestand by hosting Duquesne on Wednesday (Jan. 21) and facing Penn in a Big 5 clash on Saturday, Jan. 24.