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Saint Joseph's Basketball Update

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Saint Joseph's Basketball

St. Joseph's Hawks
121 (4-0 Atlantic Ten)

by Patrick Wandalowski

January 15th, 2003

Dynamic Duo Lifts Hawks Over Owls

 

The Atlantic 10 conference has always been top-heavy when it comes to the guards.  Saint Joseph's possesses two of the best in Jameer Nelson and Delonte West.  Nelson and West combined for 51 points as the Hawks held on to defeat Temple 65-55.

 

The Hawks are now 12-1, 4-0 in the Atlantic 10.  Saint Joseph's is in the driver's seat for the A-10 East division crown.  They hold a 2 game lead over Saint Bonaventure and Massachusetts and a 3 game lead over perennial champ Temple, all 3 of which have been handed a loss by the Hawks.  Rhode Island, a surprise team (9-4, 1-1 in A-10), is not likely to challenge the Hawks for the division. 

 

Saint Joseph's entered the game as a 3 point favorite, but everyone knows that the A-10 goes through Temple.  Despite brandishing a 3-10 record, Temple had defeated a very good Indian team.  Also, Saint Josepp's coach Phil Martelli had compiled a 3-12 record against the Hall-of-Famer on Broad Street.  Who knew which Temple team would show up, the one that knocked off Indiana or the one that fell to Duquesne and was drubbed by Richmond?  

 

Temple resembled a formidable opponent, especially early on.  Lacking a true point guard, the Owls feature David Hawkins and 6o Collins in the backcourt.  Their height advantage created some problems for the Hawks.  Their size and wingspan created havoc for the Hawks trying to find passing lanes and open shots.

 

Saint Joseph's Delonte West bailed the Hawks out of trouble several times in the opening half.  The sophomore on the rise scored 9 straight points to keep the Hawks in scoring distance, trailing 21-16.  Temple had gained the early edge by connecting on 4-of-7 three-pointers, two each by Hawkins and Collins.

 

Jameer Nelson knotted the score at 21 when he LAUNCHED a 27-foot three-pointer.  Coming with the shot clock winding down and a defender all over him, the Nelson three trickled the twine.  A no-look zip pass by Nelson found an open West under the basket for an easy lay-in.  In addition to that bucket, West scored 5 straight points for the Hawks.

 

For the second week in a row, the Hawks ended the half on an emotional high.  Nelson barely evaded a trap, fired the ball over to Carroll who dished it to Sazonov on the baseline.  Sazonov faked and released the shot with 0.2 second to go.  The shot banked in for a Hawk lead, 30-27.

 

The strong backcourts of Saint Joseph抯 and Temple led the way during the 1st half.  Nelson (8 pts) and West (16 pts) combined for 24 points.  Hawkins (10) and Collins (8) countered with 18 points.  The Hawks held the edge in FG% (50.0 % vs. 39.0%).

 

Jameer Nelson and Delonte West took over the game in the second half.  The duo tallied 21 of the team's first 22 points.  By then, the Hawks had opened up a considerable lead, 52-40. 

 

The Owl's Alex Wesby asserted himself in the second half.  The senior scored all 9 of his team's points to close the gap to 54-46 with 5:11 to play.

 

Finally, Pat Carroll made an important three-pointer to give the Hawks an 11 point cushion and some breathing room.  Carroll figured to be the ideal zone buster for the Hawks against Temple, but the sophomore sniper was only 1-of-9 before that big shot.  That basket and some free throws at the end sealed the deal for the Hawks.

 

Jameer Nelson was fantastic.  Despite 6 turnovers, the star for the Hawks had 25 points, a game-high 10 rebounds, and 6 assists.  Delonte West finished with a game-high 26 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists.  The two Hawks might end up sharing the A-10 Player of the Week honor, of which Nelson has been the recipient 3 times already this year.

 

Alex Sazonov and Pat Carroll each had 6 points.  Sazonov also swatted 3 shots and hauled down 3 rebounds.  It was the 2nd straight productive game Sazonov.  He later left the game after a collision with a Temple player.  Sazonov's knee got banged in the exchange.  Despite hobbled with the bum knee, Sazonov limped to the next huddle during the time-out.  It was a strong indicator of how together a team this bunch is.  In previous years, Sazonov wouldn't even take part in the huddle, even if he was in the game at the time.  This change of attitude is a big positive.

 

The Hawks won the rebounding battle, 32-25.  The Hawks had 19 assists on 23 field goals.  They connected on 9-of-23 three-pointers.

 

Temple was led by Alex Wesby's 17 points.  Hawkins and Collins each tallied 14.

 

The Hawks next face Rhode Island.  The game is scheduled for 2pm on Sunday

E-Mail the Author: Patrick Wandalowski

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