Saint Joseph’s Solidifies Big 5 Status w/ Win over Villanova
It was Saint Joseph’s 300th all-time victory at the fabled
Palestra and Phil Martelli’s 1st victory ever over the
It was, how should I say it, oh yes—an old-fashioned butt-kicking.
In a statement game for the Atlantic 10, the Big 5, and the all
important summer bragging rights, Saint Joseph’s took it to Nova early
and often in the blowout of Big East conference member Villanova,
We all know by now that Hawk’s head coach Phil Martelli loves to
praise Jameer Nelson. He continuously refers to the 5’10 point guard
as the best point guard in America. He should retire the expression.
Nelson’s 30 points Monday night—enough said. Martelli doesn’t need to
talk the talk anymore. Nelson’s game-day performances do all the
Nelson led the charge in the first half. The junior All-American
candidate nearly outscored the Wildcats all by himself in the first
half: Nelson 20, Nova 23. Since they don’t play 5-on-1 basketball,
the real score at halftime was 51-23.
Playing in front of a raucous Palestra crowd, the Hawks got off to a
fast start out of the gate. Before Villanova knew what hit them,
Saint Joseph’s had established a 19-4 lead nearly 7 minutes into the
contest. Nelson had 8 of those points, including two three-pointers.
West, who did not start after returning from a team-imposed
suspension, made his presence felt by stroking two three-pointers of
his own during the run. Nova was erratic, committing 6 turnovers in
the early going.
Then the absurdity of the blowout kicked in. The lead kept growing.
West’s third trifecta made it 27-9. West hit both free throws to up
the lead to 29-9. Back-to-back three-point daggers by Pat Carroll
raised the score to 35-9. Nelson scored 5 straight points, 40-9. All
in all, a 13-0 run by the Hawks.
By halftime, Saint Joseph’s had compiled a 28 point lead. Five
backcourt players for the Hawks totaled 44 of the 51 points.
Fantastic perimeter passing (13 assists) led to open three-point
baskets (10). Nelson (20 points) and West (11) led the Hawks in
scoring at the break. ESPN pundits were busy researching the largest
margin of defeat in Villanova history. By the way the Hawks were
playing, records were on the verge of breaking.
Villanova made a brief run in the second half. Nova rattled off a
10-3 run. Pat Carroll put an end to the Nova comeback with his 3rd
three-pointer of the night. Nova couldn’t get within 17 points the
rest of the way until Randy Foye made a jump shot to cut the lead to
Surprisingly, the ineffective free-throw shooting Hawks were
connecting on most of their attempts down the stretch. The Hawks, who
came into the game under 64% as a team from the line, made 30-of-37
Though a little sloppy with the ball in the second half, Saint
Joseph’s dominated the Wildcats thoroughly. Nelson and West (the best
backcourt in the east?) combined for 55 points, 9 rebounds, and 8
assists. The duo shot 14-for-27 FG, including 9-of-17 from beyond the
arc and 18-of-20 from the charity stripe.
Carroll registered 12 points, all on three-pointers. Tyrone Barley,
in just his 2nd start of the season, tallied 9 points, 2
rebounds, and 4 assists. Center Dwayne Jones made an impact with 8
rebounds and 2 blocked shots. He held Nova’s top recruit Jason Fraser
to only 7 points and 6 rebounds.
Sweet-shooting Gary Buchanan led Nova with 19 points. Ricky Wright
had 17 points and freshman Randy Foye chipped in with 15. Nova
committed 18 turnovers. It was the first Wildcat loss in the last 6
tries versus the Hawks.
Saint Joseph’s padded its record to 16-3. The 10-1 non-conference
mark is quite impressive. They hold a 2-0 record against Big East
foes (B.C. and Nova). They won by an average of 22 points against
those teams. They won against Gonzaga in the Kennel, a place the big
name teams won’t risk playing at. Wins over DePaul and Penn are nice
feathers in their cap.
Finally, Phil Martelli got the monkey (or Wildcat) off his back. It
is his 142nd victory as a head coach, his 1st
against city rival Villanova.
The next game is Saturday night at Rose Hill gym against Fordham. The
Hawks can not afford a letdown. The Temple game follows the Fordham
game. LaSalle remains the only obstacle in completing a perfect 4-0
Big 5 record.
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