Dec. 10, 2006
LOUISVILLE, KY- -Ohio shot 65 percent in the second half to put away Saint Joseph's, 79-72, in the final game of the NABC Classic for both teams at Louisville's Freedom Hall. With the loss, the Hawks drop to 5-4, while Ohio improves to 6-2.
The Hawks' Ahmad Nivins was named to the All-Tournament Team and was joined by Jerome Tillman, Ohio; Adam Brames, Bellarmine; Terrence Williams, Louisville; and Juan Palacios, Louisville, who was named the MVP.
Ohio led the entire game, but the Hawks closed a 12-point deficit to 54-53 with 8:14 to play, helped by two 3-pointers from freshman Jawan Carter. Then trailing by only 56-55 at 7:35, the Hawks committed three consecutive turnovers that allowed the Bobcats to build their lead back to 61-55.
SJU's Rob Ferguson hit a 3-pointer to again close within 61-58 at 5:07, but Ohio guard Bubba Walther put away the Hawks with back-to-back 3-pointers, including one that was at least six feet behind the arc, giving OU a 67-60 lead with under four minutes to play.
With the Hawks pressing, D.J. Rivera stole the ball in the backcourt, and Aryvdas Lidzius picked it up to feed Garrett Williamson, who converted the layup and the ensuing free throw to cut the SJU deficit to 73-68 at :50. But with the Hawks forced to foul, Ohio made 6-of-6 from the line in the final 30 seconds to ice the game.
"I don't think we were ever really in it. There's a missing ingredient and it's on the coaches to find that missing ingredient," said Phil Martelli. "We have holes. I knew that we have holes but some of them are emotional, so of them are psychological, some of them are skill-wise, physical. You have to have a lot of fingers to cover all the holes. That's my responsibility to cover the holes."
Saint Joseph's again got out to a slow start and saw the Bobcats take control early. Trailing by as many as 12 points, Carter got the hot hand and hit two 3-pointers in the final two minutes to pull the Hawks within 33-30 at halftime.
Ferguson led the Hawks in scoring with 16 points while Carter had 15, making a career-best 5-of-7 3-pointers. Williamson finished with 13, while going 7-for-8 from the foul line. Ferguson and Nivins had eight rebounds each as the Hawks
Nivins, who had averaged 27.0 points in the first two games and was named the A-10 Player of the Week, was limited to eight points.
"We knew going in that it would be a zone game and we told Ahmad (Nivins) he would have to be patient. The numbers are the numbers. We're not a 3-point shooting team. We knew that they would surround him so it was up to our team to play better basketball," said Martelli.
Ohio was led by 19 points apiece from Walther and Jerome Tillman, while the Bobcats shot 60.4% in the game. The Bobcats, like Saint Joseph's, defeated Bellarmine and lost to Louisville on the weekend.
Saint Joseph's returns home but takes a break for final exams. The Hawks return to action on December 19, hosting Saint Mary's at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse.