Jan. 21, 2009
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Idris Hilliard tapped in a missed shot at the buzzer to give Saint Joseph's a thrilling 99-98 overtime win over Duquesne on Wednesday, in a game which saw both teams lead by double digits.
Ahmad Nivins had a career-high 34 points and grabbed 16 rebounds and Hilliard added 20 points for Saint Joseph's (10-7, 4-0 Atlantic 10), which won its fifth in a row.
Jason Duty had a career-high 20 points and Damian Saunders also had 20 for the Dukes (12-6, 3-2), who had six players in double figures.
Nivins hit two free throws with 30 seconds left in OT to give the Hawks a 97-96 lead. But Duty hit a 3-point shot with eight seconds to go for a 98-97 Duquesne advantage. The Hawks brought the ball down the court and Tasheed Carr drove to the hoop but had his shot blocked. Garrett Williamson rebounded and put up another shot, which Hilliard tipped in right at the buzzer.
Duquesne took the early lead, 16-5, in the first six minutes. The Hawks fought back and outscored the Dukes, 25-16, to take a 31-30 lead. Nivins scored 18 points on 7-for-8 shooting to help SJU take a 53-37 lead at halftime, and was the most points scored in a half by the Hawks all season.
Saint Joseph's led by as much as 18 points early in the second half, but saw Duquesne rally with a 24-4 run to move ahead 76-71 with 4:23 to play.
The Dukes led 88-82 with 45 seconds to go in regulation. But Nivins scored six straight points and his two foul shots with 14.4 remaining sent the game into overtime.
Nivins finished the game hitting 10-of-12 from the field and 14-of-15 from the foul line in 44 minutes of action.
"In the second half our defense was disappointing because we are built defensively. It was a team that played on its heels and was really threatened at the end. But we played that last possession well," said Hawks' coach Phil Martelli. "I like the fact that it's not euphoria in that lockerroom."
The five-game winnning streak is the longest for Saint Joseph's since February of last season.
SJU gets a break from conference play when it takes on Penn in a Big 5 game on Saturday evening at the Palestra.