Fresh off a top 25 ranking, several Saint Joseph’s
players set career-high marks during the Hawks’ thumping of the Temple
Jameer Nelson—12 assists
Delonte West—32 points
Pat Carroll—8 three-pointers
Alex Sazonov—6 blocks
But like it has been all season, it was the TEAM
play of the Hawks that led to their latest victory. The Hawks had 24
assists on their 28 field goals made. Coach Martelli has his team
believing. He told his team in the locker room, “We will not be
hurried. We will not be flustered.” And so it was to be. Maybe the
Hawks recently watched the movie Hoosiers. Their crisp passes around
the perimeter produced open shots for West and Carroll. Shooting
Coach Matt Brady deserves a big raise.
The team defense was outstanding again. Senior
Alex Sazonov was instrumental in the second half shutdown of the
Temple offense. He totaled 6 of the team’s 8 blocks. Holding Temple
under 60 points marked the 14th time this season that an opponent
failed to reach 60 against the Hawks.
Most of Saint Joseph’s games have not been close.
In addition to Temple, the Hawks have defeated 13 other opponents by a
margin of 16 or more points.
Saint Joseph’s played great defense from the
opening tip. On the first possession, Pat Carroll and Alex Sazonov
forced a jump ball and change of possession. On the 2nd
set by Temple, Sazonov rejected a shot. And on the 3rd
possession, the Hawks forced an errant pass. Fortunately, an Owl
player was able to outrun Pat Carroll to the ball.
Saint Joseph’s drained five three-pointers to
account for an 18-7 lead. At the time, Delonte West was a perfect
3-for-3 from the field for 8 points. Carroll was also perfect,
hitting all 3 of his attempts from three-point land for 9 points.
Temple answered with an 8-0 run to trim the lead
from 18-7 to 18-15. Brian Polk, Alex Wesby, David Hawkins, and Glenn
Elliot all contributed points during the run. Even when the Hawks
responded to increase the lead to 28-20, Temple did not give in.
Mardy Collins had 6 points and Alex Wesby added 5 during an Owls’ 15-3
run. Saint Joseph’s Tyrone Barley connected on a three-pointer at the
buzzer to cut Temple’s lead to 1 point, 35-34.
The bigger Temple players were effective in the
first half. They had little trouble breaking the press. The taller
Owl would back the smaller Hawk down and shoot over the defender.
Temple had a lot of success playing this one-on-one style.
Top scorers at the half were: Wesby 14 points
(TEM), Carroll 18 points (SJU), West 12 points (SJU). Oddly enough,
Jameer Nelson was held scoreless. Saint Joseph’s had 9 trifectas by
Temple acquired its biggest lead of the game (4
points) on a Wesby three-pointer, 38-34. West converted an almost
impossible baseline leaner over two defenders to make it a 1 point
game, 40-39. Then off a Pat Carroll steal, Nelson scored his first 2
points of the game to give the Hawks the lead, 43-42.
Then the Hawks ran rampant. They clinched the game
with a 17-3 advantage. By then, the Hawks were ahead 60-45. Carroll
had drilled his 8th three of the night, 1 off the team
record held by Brian Leahy. West had 25 points by then, the 6th
such time he has reached the 25+ point barrier.
Another 12-1 run turned the game into a rout,
72-48. Jameer Nelson had just performed an audition for the
Globetrotters. As he stole the ball and was the front man of a
three-on-none fast break, he peeked back to see if any Hawks were with
him. He spotted West and drove to the basket. Instead of laying it
in, Nelson tossed the ball off the glass to West for a thunderous jam.
With Nelson’s 12 assists, he passed former Hawk
great Rashid Bey for 3rd place on the all-time assist
list. The 12 assists also tied a career-high for Nelson. Despite
just 4 points and 3 rebounds, he was a major reason for the victory.
West scored his 32 points on 13-for-19 shooting.
He added 5 assists and 7 rebounds. He has earned his way thus far
onto the All A-10 first team. Though not likely, both Nelson and West
should receive strong consideration for A-10 POY. Most likely,
Xavier’s David West will be awarded the trophy for the 3rd
straight year. Maybe he shouldn’t. The best players in the A-10 have
always been the guards. And Nelson and West are arguably the A-10’s
best. So one of them should probably win the award. But David West
has the preseason pub and recently dominated Dayton in his last outing
with an incredible 47 points.
In addition to his 24 points (all on “3s”), Carroll
hauled down a team-high 9 rebounds. Sazonov had 5 rebounds and 6
Wesby led the Owls with 20 points. Collins added
The Hawks (56% FG) outshot the Owls (41% FG) from
the field. Saint Joseph’s was 14-of-31 from beyond the arc. Saint
Joseph’s has won 5 of the last 7 versus Temple.
John Chaney said it best, “They are a team…we have
Saint Joseph’s (18-3, 8-2 A-10) faces possibly its
toughest opponent to date this Saturday. They take on the Dayton
Flyers (17-4) in Ohio. Dayton is next to impossible to defeat at
home. This is a statement game, just like Villanova. A win over
Dayton on ESPN 2 would vault the Hawks farther up the rankings.
* The Dayton recap will not be posted until later
in the week.
E-Mail the Author:
Follow St. Joseph's Basketball each
week here at Collegehoopsnet.com!