Jan. 8, 2008
AMHERST, MA - Saint Joseph's (7-4) will open the Atlantic 10 portion of the schedule against UMass (11-3) on Wednesday, January 9. Game time at the Mullins Center is 7:30 p.m.
The Saint Joseph's Sports Network team of Tom McCarthy 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. The game will not be televised but the video stream will be available to All-Access subscribers on www.sjuhawks.com.
GAME NOTES: This is the latest starting date for a conference opener for the Hawks since they opened A-10 play against top-ranked UMass on Jan. 10, 1996. The Minutemen scored a 94-89 overtime win vs. SJU at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse. The Hawks are in the midst of their longest winning streak of the season (3 games). Saint Joseph's has won eight of its last nine Atlantic 10 openers and has posted an 9-3 record in the first conference game of the year during Phil Martelli's tenure. This is the first time in five years that the Hawks are opening the conference slate on the road. Pat Calathes tops the Hawks in scoring (17.4 ppg) and rebounding (7.6) and is second in assists (2.8). Tasheed Carr leads the Atlantic 10 in assists with 7.0 per game and ranks eighth in the latest NCAA statistics. The Hawks have not played a home game since December 4, but return to Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse on Saturday, Jan. 12, when they host Richmond.
LAST TIME OUT: Saint Joseph's pulled away from Drexel in the second half to score a 69-51 win on New Year's Eve at the Palestra. The Hawks led 38-26 six minutes into the second half, but the Dragons closed within 40-34 at the 11-minute mark. Pat Calathes converted a three-point play and Tasheed Carr followed with a 3-pointer to spark a 12-2 run that made the score 52-36. The Dragons never got closer than 13 points the rest of the way. Both teams had trouble getting on track in the first half as the Hawks shot 11-for-25 with 10 turnovers and Drexel made only 9 of 22 shots and also turned the ball over 10 times, while SJU led 28-20 at halftime. Calathes finished with 20 points-10 rebounds and Ahmad Nivins had 13 points. Carr (12 pts) and Rob Ferguson each finished in double figures for the Hawks, who shot 63.6 percent in the second half.
THE BIG THREE: SJU got the game it's been looking for at Siena from the the three upperclassmen in the frontcourt - Pat Calathes, Rob Ferguson and Ahmad Nivins. Calathes grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds and had a key steal and dunk with :13 to play and the Hawks clinging to a 3-point lead. Ferguson was a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point range and his three with 1:24 remaining gave SJU the lead for good. Nivins scored 20 points for the first time since Dec. 1 and made two key free throws with :26 to give the Hawks a two-point cushion.
BROTHERS IN ARMS: Pat Calathes and his younger brother, Nick, share the distinction of being the only brothers in college basketball to be their teams' leading scorers. Pat is averaging a team-high 17.4 points for the Hawks, while Nick, a freshman at Florida, is scoring 14.8 per game.
LENGTHY BREAKS: The Hawks have not played since the Dec. 31 win over Drexel, which was typical of the month of December, which saw the Hawks have long breaks in between games. They had an 11-day hiatus between the Dec. 9 game at Creighton and the Dec. 21 game at Fairfield. Then after taking time for Christmas, SJU had games on Dec. 28 and Dec. 31. SJU also had a long hiatus earlier this year because of the Preseason NIT. After defeating Boston University on Nov. 17, the Hawks played their next game on Nov. 27 and defeated Ball State.
HOMECOMING: When Saint Joseph's hosts Richmond this Saturday (Jan. 12), it will be the first game in Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse since the December 4 loss to Holy Cross. During this time, SJU will have played five straight on the road, although the game vs. Drexel was at their "home away from home", the Palestra. This schedule could be giving the Hawks and their fans early preparation for the 2008-09 season when the team will not be able to play in Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse because of the comprehensive expansion and renovation project that will be taking place. Among the highlights of the project is a state of the art facility with offices, meeting rooms and lockerrooms for SJU's men's and women's basketball teams. When the Hawks resume playing games on campus the following season, the arena will be known as the Michael J. Hagan '85 Arena. Hagan and his wife Joyce are contributing $10 million as the lead benefactors for the most comprehensive enhancement of athletic facilities in Saint Joseph's history.
PAT'S WEEK: Pat Calathes has received a pair of Player of the Week honors during the past two weeks. He was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Week on Jan. 5 for the first time in his career, earning the honor with his second consecutive double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Drexel on New Year's Eve. The senior shot 7-for-9 from the field, while handing out five assists and blocking three shots. For the week of Dec. 24, Calathes also earned the honor from the Big 5.
FINDING FERG: After a slow start, Rob Ferguson has scored double figures in five of the last six games, and has averaged 13.3 points per game in the past four. The senior had 10 points and nine rebounds against Gonzaga, and then hit for a season-high 15 points against Penn State. He scored 14 points at Creighton, hitting 5-of-7 from the field, and making all four of his 3-point attempts at Siena, scoring 14 points. The senior then had 11 points, eight rebounds and a career-high four blocks vs. Drexel. He's upped his season average to 10.2 ppg and is the squad's third leading rebounder with 5.4 boards.
LIGHTS OUT: The Hawks had a strong shooting half in the second half against Drexel, hitting 63.6 percent (14-for-22) from the field. The best effort of the year so far is when SJU converted 64.4 percent in the season opener against FDU.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Hawks will play in Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse for the first time since December 4, when they host Richmond on Jan. 12.