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DEFENSE HELPS HAWKS OVERCOME DUQUESNE, 63-47
Courtesy: SJU Athletic Communications  
Release:  09/01/2004
PITTSBURGH, PA (01/23/02) ? Saint Joseph's held host Duquesne to just one field goal over the final 10 minutes to break open a closely fought contest and win its sixth straight, 63-47. SJU, moves to 12-4 overall and 6-0 in the A-10, its best start in the 19 years it has been in the league. The Hawks not only battled the Dukes, but a bad case of the flu that spread through the team. Three starters, Bill Phillips, Jameer Nelson and Na'im Crenshaw, were under the weather while Marvin O'Connor (ankle sprain) and Delonte West (shoulder sprain) were also less than 100 percent. Nelson also was hobbled with tendonitis in his knee, and looked less than his normal bouncy self. "We have every ailment known to man," stated SJU coach Phil Martelli on his team's health. "We were just trying to rest people and pull people through when they were hurting." The Hawks health and a dead atmosphere in the A.J. Palumbo Center led to an extremely ugly first 30 minutes. The Dukes (5-12, 0-6 in A-10) were matching SJU's poor outside shooting with careless ball-handling. "It is hard to get their juices to flow (against 0-6 Duquesne)," added Martelli on the lackluster start. "and when the ball doesn't fall for us that is going to be a little bit of a setback." First year Duquesne coach Danny Nee, familiar to Hawk faithful as the coach that guided Nebraska to a win over St. Joe's in the 1996 NIT Finals, also worked the clock. The Dukes ran time off the shot clock on their possessions, thus limiting the SJU offense. "We thought that they would take the shot clock down," commented Martelli. "But we were able maintain out concentration and win on the road." It marked the Hawks fifth win on an opponents floor without a loss this season. Also, it continued SJU's perfect start to 2002 as the team is 6-0, all A-10 games. O'Connor, who looked near his old self, led all scorers with 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Damian Reid and Nelson each added 13 points while Crenshaw, who tallied 14, had his string of double figure scoring games reach double figures (10). Nelson also dished eight assists against just two turnovers. "It is hard to get up for a team (like that)," explained Crenshaw. "Then you have guys who are not feeling to good, including myself, so that made it sluggish on the court, especially in the first half." Phillips tallied a season low two points, but grabbed 13 rebounds - his third double figure board game in the past four - in a yeoman's effort. Reserves Jeff Miller and Pat Carroll each saw quality minutes as West, who was held scoreless for the first time all year (0-4 FG), struggled with his shoulder. Once again, free throw shooting was a problem for SJU. The A-10 field goal percentage leader, SJU dipped below the 70 percent mark for the year with a dismal 15-of-25 mark (60%) from the charity stripe. "The foul shooting is a real concern," stated Martelli. "We start making our free throws and that will jump us a level." Senior forward Aaron Lovelace led Duquesne with a double double (13 points, 11 rebounds). The SJU 'road warriors" now must play three road games, all in the city of Philadelphia, starting with Penn (12-4) at the Palestra on Saturday (4:00 p.m./CSN/WPEN 950 AM).