Feb. 8, 2009
AMHERST, Mass. - Ahmad Nivins scored 21 points and pulled down 12 rebounds to lead Saint Joseph's (14-8, 7-1 A-10) past Massachusetts, 68-64, in A-10 men's basketball action at the Mullins Center Sunday. Tasheed Carr added 14 points and Darrin Govens 11 as SJU used an 11-2 run late in the second half to pull away from the Minutemen.
Trailing 37-34 at halftime, SJU took its first lead of the second half, 54-53, with 4:48 remaining thanks to a Garrett Williamson (seven points, six rebounds) lay up. The game would eventually be tied up at 56 and that is where SJU went on its final run to put the game away.
A Nivins jumper and another by Williamson pushed the lead to four at 60-56 with 1:25 to go. Three free throws by Carr and Williamson made it 63-56 before an Anthony Gurley jumper brought UMass (8-13, 3-5 A-10) within five with 38 ticks left.
Idris Hilliard (nine points, six rebounds) made an easy lay up, which was followed by Carr's easy lay up pushing the lead to 67-58, SJU's largest of the game. UMass would get no closer than three the rest of the way.
The Hawks shot 45.5% from the floor, while the Minutemen struggled to 38.1% due to stifling Saint Joseph's defense late in the game. Nivins made another case for A-10 Player of the Year with his ninth consecutive double-double and 15th overall in helping the Hawks to second place in the Atlantic 10.
SJU will return to action when they host A-10 and Big 5 foe Temple on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. The game will be played at The Palestra and will be featured on ESPN or ESPN2.