Courtesy: SJU Athletic Communications  
Release:  09/01/2004
DAYTON, OH (3/14/03) -- In addition to having to take on a Top 25 team in Friday's Atlantic 10 Championship semifinal, No. 25 Saint Joseph's faces the added challenge of doing it on the opponent's home floor. Which just happens to be one of the toughest places in the country to play. Indeed, the Hawks' (23-5) task tonight is a formidable one -- a match-up with No. 21 Dayton (22-5) at UD Arena, where the Flyers have lost just one game this season. Most of the expected 13,000-plus fans will be pulling hard for the home team. Approximate tip-off is 9:30 p.m. Tonight's game will be the second between the two teams in a month. Playing at UD Arena on February 15, the Hawks were knocked off their rhythm by an aggressive Flyer defense and lost, 66-56. Delonte West scored 26 points, but on 8-for-22 shooting; Jameer Nelson added 16, but was held without an assist for the first time in his illustrious career. On offense that afternoon, Dayton enjoyed a typically balanced contribution. Four players, led by Brooks Hall, who tallied 13, scored in double figures. The Flyers notched just one more field goal than the Hawks, but held commanding leads in rebounds (44-32) and assists (13-5). Saint Joseph's took solace from the fact that it held UD to 35% shooting from the floor. Down by as many as 16, the Hawks rallied in the second half to pull to within five before Dayton finally put the game away. The Hawks advanced to the semifinals with a not-very-pretty, 20-point win over La Salle last night. Saint Joseph's defense stifled the Explorers, but offensively the Hawks looked tight in the first half. Keyed by an impressive bench effort, though, they heated up in the second stanza to make the game a rout. The Flyers used double-figure scoring from four players to stomp Rhode Island, 74-57. Once again the status of West, nursing a stress fracture in his right fibula, will be a game-time decision. The sophomore shooting guard came off the bench last night, and after some initial tentative play, he found a groove and scored a team-high nine points in the first half. With the Hawks pulling away in the second half and West favoring his injured ankle, head coach Phil Martelli removed him from the game for good at about the half's midway point. The other semifinal game pits Temple against Xavier at 7:05 p.m. --Tom Durso/Saint Joseph's University Communications