March 21, 2008
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP)--Saint Joseph's rallied from a 19-point lead, but fell short in a 72-64 loss to Oklahoma in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Birmingham.
Rob Ferguson closed out his SJU career with 21 points, hitting 9-of-12 shots and half of the team's six 3-pointers.
David Godbold scored a career-high 25 points for Oklahoma, including the Sooners' first 11 of the second half.
Godbold and the Sooners (23-11), who had a 25-year postseason streak end last season, built a 19-point lead and watched most of it dissipate against a Hawks team eager to prove it belonged.
Godbold, who was averaging just 6.9 points a game, buried a trio of 3-pointers in the first 3 minutes of the second half to push Oklahoma ahead by 19 points. His third punctuated a 25-6 run that began with a tie game late in the first half, forcing Saint Joseph's (21-13) to call a timeout.
The Hawks, playing in their first NCAA tournament game since advancing to the regional final as a No. 1 seed four years ago, scored 10 straight points and twice pulled to within four points.
Garrett Williamson's putback for the Hawks made it 65-61 with 3:31 to play. Quiet most of the game, Oklahoma's star freshman Blake Griffin scored back-to-back baskets inside to double the lead with just over 2 minutes left.
Godbold, a part-time starter, had 18 second-half points and made 5-of-8 3-pointers. He also defended Saint Joseph's leading scorer, Pat Calathes, who was held to six points, 12 below his average. Ahmad Nivins had 14 points and Darrin Govens had 12. Calathes made just 2-of-11 shots and had few open looks at the basket in his final college game.
Guard Tasheed Carr, the only Saint Joseph's regular with NCAA experience, fouled out with 5:25 left. He played in the tournament as a freshman at Iowa State.
Saint Joseph's had polished its NCAA resume with two wins over Xavier, a No. 3 West seed, in a nine-day span at season's end to earn an at-large bid.