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Hawks Eke Out Narrow Victory vs. DePaul

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St. Joseph's Basketball

St. Joseph's Hawks

by Patrick Wandalowski

December 22nd, 2002

The Saint Joseph’s Hawks 7th straight victory to open the basketball season wasn’t easy.  It was also quite a bit controversial. 


Clinging to a 65-62 lead, Jameer Nelson missed both free throws.  Quemont Greer of DePaul had the ball and was attempting to try to tie the game.  Good pressure by Delonte West forced Greer into a behind-the-back dribble.  Greer lost control, Nelson came over to double-team, and the ball flew out-of-bounds. 


The call went Saint Joseph’s way, and Nelson displayed some nifty dribbling to run out the last few seconds on the clock, avoiding three DePaul defenders along the way. 


Replays showed that the ball was out on Nelson.  Any DePaul player, coach, or fan has every right to be downright angry about the call.  Nevertheless, the Hawks willed themselves to a victory in front of 6,118 fans at the Palestra, including high school phenom LeBron James who was in town to play a game on Sunday.  Unfortunately, that is the closest that James will ever be to a college court.  He figures to be a top 2 pick in the next NBA draft.


In a match-up that stirs fond memories of perhaps Saint Joseph’s greatest basketball victory (Saint Joseph’s defeated #1 DePaul, 49-48 in the 1981 NCAA tourney on a John Smith lay-up), Saint Joseph’s overcome a 13 point deficit late in the first half to start the season 7-0 for the first time in nearly 40 years.  


Trailing 6-3, the Hawks embarked on an 8-0 run.  Pat Carroll was fouled on a three-point shot and made all three free throws.  Nelson scurried by four DePaul defenders on essentially a 2-on-4 fast-break.  He drew some contact, made the bucket and the ensuing free throw.  In a scramble for the ball on the other end, John Bryant stole the ball and handed it off to Nelson, who fired a length of the court pass to a streaking Tyrone Barley for an easy lay-up, 11-6.   


Not to be outdone, DePaul put together an 8-0 run of their own.  Sam Hoskin threw home a thunderous dunk over Dwayne Jones.  Delonte Holland stole the inbounds pass and floated in for a lay-up, 14-11. 


A few minutes later, Alex Sazonov tipped in an errant Nelson three-pointer to cut the lead to 18-16, ending a four minute field goal drought by the Hawks.  Similarly, John Bryant tipped in a missed Carroll shot to tie the game, 18-18.


Then DePaul established their largest lead of the game with a 13-0 run.  A Tulley free throw, a Diener basket, a Greer three-pointer and another bucket, a Hoskin and-1, and a Holland basket comprised the scoring. 


Saint Joseph’s fired back, fueled on by a 10-0 run of their own to end the half.  Juco transfer Chris Cologer made 1 of 2 free throws.  Then Nelson stole the ball and made both foul shots.  Nelson harassed DePaul into a 5 second violation, which led to two free throws by Carroll.  Nelson capitalized off yet another DePaul turnover by drilling a long three-pointer.  DePaul turned it over again, and Nelson sank two more free throws to end the half, 31-28.  


The shooting numbers at the half were pretty ugly by the Hawks.  They shot 7-for-28 (25% FG), including 3-12 from the arc.  Saint Joseph’s was outscored by the Blue Demons’ frontcourt, 22-7.  The Hawk big men were active on the offensive glass, but were missing badly on point-blank shots.  Martelli seemed miffed by the missed putbacks, “All you have to do is shoot the ball at the basket, don’t throw it”.


After allowing DePaul to shoot 54% from the field, you had a feeling the second half would be markedly different. 


Delonte West and Pat Carroll teamed up for back-to-back three-pointers to trim the lead to one, 38-37.  Shortly thereafter, Nelson was whistled for his third foul.  He signaled to Martelli to leave him in the game.  Saddled with the three fouls, Nelson continued his aggressive defensive approach.  But he was too aggressive.  A fourth foul was charged to Nelson with more than 10 minutes remaining and the Hawks trailing, 46-42.


For the second time this season, the Hawks were able to sustain a large part of the game without their leader.  Delonte West took the team on his shoulders.  West’s baseline jumper kept the Hawks close, 48-44.  Two Dwayne Jones free throws trimmed the lead to two points.  A huge three-pointer by West gave the Hawks the lead.  Two free throws by Pat Carroll capped off a 9-2 run with Nelson on the bench.  Hot-shooting DePaul was 2-of-13 to start the second half.


The teams battled back-and-forth, exchanging baskets for a couple of minutes.  Jameer Nelson re-entered the game with nearly five minutes remaining.  With the score 55-54, Nelson took over the end of the game.  Nelson sank two free-throws to extend the lead, 57-54.  After a Diener basket, Nelson stroked a pull-up jumper.  John Bryant and Dwayne Jones challenged every DePaul shot.  What they didn’t block, they contested.  Delonte West nailed an open shot with 1:10 left, putting the Hawks up 61-57. 


DePaul had to foul. Nelson made four consecutive foul shots.  Hawks led by 6 points with under 30 seconds to play.  But a Diener three-pointer cut the lead in half, 65-62.  Nelson, who was 12-for-13 from the line up until that point, missed both free throws before the controversy began.  


The Big Three of Nelson, West, and Carroll combined for 50 of the 65 points.  John Bryant hauled down 9 rebounds and Dwayne Jones blocked 3 shots and altered many more.  The Hawks shot 23-of-28 from the line (82% FT).  The defense limited DePaul to 33% FG in the second half.  The Hawks won despite shooting 35%, including 6-of-23 from beyond the arc.  Their stingy defense led to numerous steals, 5 second violations, and turnovers. 


Delonte Holland and Quemont Greer each led DePaul with 15 points.  Sam Hoskins tallied 9 points and 7 rebounds.  Drake Diener played an excellent game.  He finished with 11 points and 6 assists.  He forced Nelson into 4-for-14 shooting and 5 turnovers.


Saint Joseph’s takes on Pacific Dec 28th on a two game West Coast swing.  The last time the two teams met was in the first round of the 1997 NCAA tournament.  The Hawks defeated Pacific and their NBA center Michael Olowokandi.      

E-Mail the Author: Patrick Wandalowski




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