March 11, 2008
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - Fifth-seeded Saint Joseph's (18-11; 9-7) begins its quest for the Atlantic 10 title when it faces 12th-seeded Fordham (12-16; 6-10) in the first round of the 2008 Atlantic 10 Championship on Wednesday afternoon. Game time is 2:30 p.m. at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Tickets are still available for the game by calling the SJU Ticket Office at 610-660-1712 or thru Ticketmaste at 800-736-1420 (ticketmaster.com). Ticket prices are $55, $30, $25 for Wednesday's session.
The game will air on WNTP (990 AM) with the SJU broadcast team of Tom McCarthy and Joe Lunardi. It will not be televised but will be available via video streaming on www.sjuhawks.com. Current Annual subscribers to Hawks All-Access will receive all of Saint Joseph's A-10 Tournament games for FREE as part of their Annual package, except for the championship game. Those subscribers can just log in with their normal account and begin watching the game. Please note that monthly subscribers or non-subscribers will have to purchase the pay-per-view at $9.95 per game.
The winner of Wednesday's game advances to meet fourth-seeded Richmond in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 2:30 p.m.
GAME NOTES: Rob Ferguson will break school record for games played today by playing in the 131st of his career. Pat Calathes was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Conference First Team while Ahmad Nivins was chosen to the Third Team. Both players were also selected to the NABC All-District 3 Teams, with Calathes earning First Team honors and Nivins being named to the Second Team. Both players are now eligible for the State Farm Division I All-America teams. Pat Calathes tops the Hawks in scoring (17.8 ppg) and rebounding (7.7) and is third in assists (2.7). He ranks seventh in the A-10 in scoring, sixth in rebounding, and is sixth in the league in scoring in conference games (17.9 ppg). This is the eighth straight season that the Hawks have won at least 18 games. Last year, SJU was 18-14. SJU is 55th in the RPI (kenpom.com) for games through March 8.
HAWK HONOREES: Pat Calathes earned All-Conference first team honors and Ahmad Nivins was named to the third team. They reverse places from the 2006-07 season when Calathes was on the third team and Nivins was a first team selection. It marks the eighth straight year that the Hawks have had at least one All-Conference honoree. It's also the second year in a row for SJU to have a first-team selection.
SJU IN AC: The Hawks have played in this building (previously named the Atlantic City Convention Center) three times prior to last year's Atlantic 10 Championship. Counting the tournament last year, the Hawks own a 4-1 record. In 1982-83, SJU won the Atlantic City Classic, defeating Illinois-Chicago and Northeastern. In Phil Martelli's second season, the Hawks defeated #21 Tulsa, 67-64, in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic on Dec. 7, 1996 as Terrell Myers hit a 3-pointer with one tenth of a second remaining.
IN SEARCH OF: The Hawks are seeking their first Atlantic 10 Tournament title since 1997, when they defeated St. Bonaventure, George Washington and Rhode Island en route to the crown. Rashid Bey and Yah Davis were All-Championship Team selections in the tourney held at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. It was Phil Martelli's second season as head coach at SJU, and the Hawks went on from there to reach the NCAA Sweet 16. Saint Joseph's other Atlantic 10 title came in 1986, under the late Jim Boyle.
SEEDING THE HAWKS: Saint Joseph's fifth seed in this tournament is higher than last year (sixth) and the same as 2006. The last time the Hawks were higher was in 2005, when they were the first seed in the East division.
MARTELLI AND THE CHAMPIONSHIP: There's one common thread in the two Atlantic 10 titles won by Saint Joseph's (1986 and 1997), and it's that Phil Martelli was a part of both of them. Martelli was an assistant coach under the late Jim Boyle during the 1986 title run and then after taking over as head coach in 1995-96, led Saint Joseph's to its second crown in 1997.
HAWK HISTORY: Saint Joseph's has posted a 26-23 record in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, advancing to the semifinals 11 times. The Hawks have reached the championship game four times (1986, 1997, 2005, 2006), winning it twice (1986, 1997).
THIS TIME LAST YEAR: The sixth-seeded Hawks defeated Temple in the 2007 A-10 First Round, marking their third win over the Owls that season. Then SJU fell to eventual champion GW in the quarterfinals.
POST-SEASON PUSH: Saint Joseph's is seeking its seventh consecutive post-season bid and the ninth in Phil Martelli's 13 years. The Hawks missed the post-season last year, ending a streak of five consecutive seasons.
LONG TIME COMING: The win over #8 Xavier on March 8 was SJU's first over a ranked team since March 25, 2004, when the Hawks defeated #17 Wake Forest in the NCAA East Regional Semifinals. It is the Hawks' first win over a Top 10 team since the 2003-04 season opening victory over #10 Gonzaga. The victory snapped a seven-game losing streak against ranked teams and Xavier was the highest ranked team ever beaten in Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse.
STANDING PAT: Pat Calathes is doing it all for the Hawks this year, topping the team with career-best numbers in scoring (17.8) and rebounding (7.7). He ranks seventh in the conference in scoring and sixth in rebounding, while ranking sixth in the A-10 in scoring in league games with his 17.9 average. He has led the Hawks in scoring in 17 games and in rebounding 19 times, while posting seven double-doubles and tallying 20 or more points 11 times this year. Calathes has been the Player of the Week in the A-10 three times this season and in the Big 5 four times, while earning first-team honors in both the Atlantic 10 and the NABC All-District 3.
NOTING NIVINS: Ahmad Nivins set the SJU single-season record for field goal percentage in 2006-07 (63.1), but has surpassed that this year, hitting 65.3 percent of his shots. The junior is also the Hawks' career leader in field goal percentage with a mark of 63.5.
GAMESMANSHIP: This week, Rob Ferguson will break the school record for games played in a career, Enetering the A-10 Tournament he is tied with Chet Stachitas (2002-06) with 130 games played. Ferguson is a fifth-year senior who redshirted the 2003-04 campaign.