Nov. 15, 2008
WORCESTER, MASS. - The Saint Joseph's men's basketball team will play its second game in three days when it travels to the sold-out Hart Center at Holy Cross on Sunday afternoon. Game time is 4 p.m.
Holy Cross will be retiring the numbers of four standouts prior to the game including Bob Cousy and Tom Heinsohn.
The contest will be broadcast on WNTP (990 AM) with Tom McCarthy and Joe Lunardi calling the action. Audio streaming is available on www.sjuhawks.com.
GAME NOTES The Hawks started off 2008-09 with the 69-57 win over Rider on Friday night, winning their eighth season opener in the past 10 years. Saint Joseph's and Holy Cross are both Jesuit schools. The Jesuit Basketball Spotlight has been introduced this year to draw attention to the 90-plus men's and women's basketball games that are scheduled around this season amongst the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities across the United States. More information on page 5. The Hawks have a connection with Holy Cross legend Bob Cousy, who is being honored today. Former Saint Joseph's star Jameer Nelson was the winner of the inaugural Bob Cousy Point Guard Award in 2004. Saint Joseph's makes its first-ever trip to the EA Sports Maui Invitational, November 24-26. The Hawks begin the journey on Wednesday when they head to San Francisco for a few days.
LAST TIME OUT: Ahmad Nivins had 25 points and 13 rebounds to lead Saint Joseph's to a 69-57 season-opening win over Rider in the Hawks' first-ever game at the Wachovia Center. Despite digging itself a 9-0 hole, SJU got on the board and began to shut down Rider, tying the score 18-18 with 8:58 to go. Nivins scored 11 points in the first half and the teams were tied at halftime. SJU opened the second half using a 12-1 run and took its biggest lead, 58-42, with 10:56 to play. Nivins made his first eight shots of the game, and finished at 9-for-11, while tying his career-high in rebounds (13). Darrin Govens added 19 points and Idris Hilliard had a solid eight points and six rebounds in his first career start.
STRAIGHT SHOOTER: Senior Ahmad Nivins enters the 2008-09 season vying to join former George Washington standout Alexander Koul (1995-97) as the only players in A-10 history to lead the league in field goal percentage three consecutive years. Nivins shot .647 (165-of-255) from the field a year ago, setting the SJU single-season mark while also ranking fourth in the nation. He also holds the Saint Joseph's career record with a percentage of .637 (418-656).
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARDS: Phil Martelli has stressed that for the Hawks to be successful, Ahmad Nivins has to average double-figure rebounds. Martelli said of the senior, "His game is in great shape. But if he's a double-digit rebounder, then he will be playing for money next year and we'll be playing late into the season. If he's not a double-digit rebounder, then we're going to be in a little bit of trouble." Nivins got off to a good start, posting 25 points and 13 rebounds in the season-opening win over Rider. It marked the 12th double-double of his career.
STRONG START: Sophomore Idris Hilliard made his first career start vs. Rider and had a solid effort. He tied his career-high with eight points, while setting new personal bests of six rebounds, three assists and 27 minutes of action.
IRON MEN: Depth could be one of the Hawks' question marks this year so the starters could be logging extra minutes. That was evident from the beginning as Darrin Govens played a career-high 39 minutes against Rider and Ahmad Nivins saw 38 minutes of action.
SHARING THE BALL: Saint Joseph's did a good job of sharing the ball in the second half against Rider, registering 13 assists, as opposed to just five in the first half. Guards Tasheed Carr, Garrett Williamson and Darrin Govens had four assists each.
TO THE POINT: Instead of labeling his guards as either a point guard or a two guard, Phil Martelli prefers to say that "they're just guards". But the coach does have the luxury of having a few players who can run the point. Garrett Williamson, Tasheed Carr, Darrin Govens and Charoy Bentley will all be utilized to run the Hawk offense. Williamson started with the ball in the season opener.