Jan. 7, 2005
PHILADELPHIA - The Saint Joseph's men's basketball returns home to host Rhode Island on Saturday, January 5 at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse. The game, beginning at noon, will be the first telecast of the year on the Atlantic 10 TV Network.
The 4-6 Hawks are coming off of a 53-50 win over Fordham on Wednesday evening to kick off their defense of their Atlantic 10 East regular-season title. Rhode Island is 3-9 and 1-0 in the league, having defeated St. Bonaventure, 72-70.
The game will be seen in Philadelphia on Comcast SportsNet and regionally on the following outlets: FSNY, FSN Ohio, NESN, FSN Pittsburgh, Comcast SportsNet DC, Empire Sports Network and WGSR.
All of the action can be heard via the Saint Joseph's Sports Network on WPEN-Radio (950 AM).
At tomorrow's game, the Hawks will recognize the North Philly Aztecs, the local youth football team which is the 2004 Pop Warner Super Bowl Champions.
LAST TIME OUT: SJU ended its four-game losing streak and picked up its first win in almost a month, winning at Fordham, 53-50. The Hawks held a 29-20 lead at halftime, and although Fordham came within one point on a few occasions, never relinquished it. The Hawks held a 51-42 lead with three minutes to play, but Fordham made one last run and closed to within 53-50 with :39 to play. SJU gave the Rams a few more chances by committing key turnovers, but Fordham couldn't convert, and a 3-point attempt with 2.3 seconds left was off the mark. Pat Carroll had 14 points and Chet Stachitas added 10 for SJU, which shot 51.4 percent in the game.
PLAYING THRU PAIN: Chet Stachitas is still not 100 percent after suffering a high ankle sprain at San Francisco (Dec. 11), but he has not missed any action. In fact, Stachitas scored 19 points and hit five 3-pointers at Old Dominion, shooting 7-for-15 from the field and handing out a career-high five assists. He followed that with 14 points in the loss to Bucknell and 16 against Ohio State. Prior to the injury, Stachitas had been averaging a team-high 16.7 ppg, coming off a career-high 27-point effort vs. UC-Davis. He still leads the team in scoring with 14.1 ppg.
ALWAYS FIRST: SJU's upperclassmen have a strong claim, that they have never been out of first place in the Atlantic 10. It's basically true, as there has been only one day in the past three seasons - January 12, 2002 - that Saint Joseph's was not in first place in the Atlantic 10 East. The Hawks have won four straight Atlantic 10 division crowns and are hoping to become the only team other than UMass to win five consecutive, as the Minutemen did it from 1991 to 1996.
A-10 SUCCESS: The Hawks own a 55-10 Atlantic 10 record over the course of the past four seasons, including the current year. In their 23 seasons of A-10 play, SJU is 202-161 and has had .500 or better campaigns in 14 of them.
A LOOK BACK: During last year's season, the Hawks won many of their 30 games rather handily. Among the few which were close were both contests against Rhode Island. SJU won on its home court on Jan. 8, 73-59, in a game that was closer than the score indicated. It took until the second half for the Hawks to gain a double-digit lead. In a nationally-televised thriller on Feb. 26 in Kingston, the game went down to the wire. SJU trailed as late as 1:26 to go, but Delonte West hit a 3-pointer at :58 to give the Hawks the lead. West hit a free throw at :19 and the SJU defense held URI on its final possession to survive the scare and win their 26th in a row, 57-55.
FOLLOW THE LEADER: Chet Stachitas has led the team in scoring in five games this year, while Dwayne Jones and Pat Carroll have been the top scorers twice. Jones has topped the squad in rebounding in all 10 contests.
SHORTENED BENCH: The Hawks will be without three reserve players today, leaving Coach Martelli with 11 available. Artur Surov is out indefinitely with a bruised hand suffered in practice last week. Arvydas Lidzius and Andrew Koefer are unavailable because of academic commitments as they are taking classes during the inter-session.
DEJA VU?: At this time last year, Pat Carroll had a similar 3-point shooting percentage (under 40 percent), but went on a tear the rest of the way. Thru December of 2003, Carroll had made 34.7 percent (16-of-46), and then just 9-of-28 through the first five games in January to give him a season percentage of 33.8. But the Xavier game on Jan. 17 seemed to begin the transformation for the shooter, as he hit two key 3-pointers at the end of the game. That started a remarkable streak in which Carroll would then go on to convert 41 of his next 73 shots in the regular season (57.1 percent) to increase his season percentage to 46.1. He finished the year hitting 45.8 percent, to rank sixth in the nation.