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St. Joseph's Loses to Auburn

A10 Homepage

Saint Joseph's Hawks Basketball


by Patrick Wandalowski

March 26th, 2003

Nelson Stars, Daniels Wins, Carroll A No-Show

Saint Joseph’s Jameer Nelson (32 points 9 rebounds) was the best player on the court.  Auburn’s Marquis Daniels (25 points, 8 rebounds) made big shot after big shot for the Tigers.  And Saint Joseph’s Pat Carroll (0-5 FG) was nowhere to be found.


In perhaps the best game of the NCAA tournament thus far, Auburn led most of the first half.  Trailing 4-3, Auburn used an 11-2 run capped off by a Nathan Watson three-pointer to establish a 14-6 lead.  The Hawks’ Dwayne Jones stopped the run with a basket, but Auburn struck right back with Kyle Davis’s 3rd dunk of the half, 17-8.


Auburn attacked Saint Joseph’s in the lane.  The Tigers’ frontcourt produced 14 of the team’s 17 points.  Marco Killingsworth and Kyle Davis pounded the Hawks in the post.  They combined for 8 quick points.  The high percentage shots forced the Hawks to play a half-court game where they were unable to create an up-tempo game and get easy baskets.   


A slow start befell the Hawks.  Saint Joseph’s made only 4 of their first 16 shots.  Surprisingly, senior center Alex Sazonov was the scoring leader.  He converted 3 free throws and two field goal attempts to tally 7 points.  The Hawks’ perimeter players drew nothing but iron for the entire half and Sazonov winded up being the leading scorer at the break.


The Tigers closed out the half on top.  Watson buried a baseline three-ball and Marquis Daniels finished an “and-1” play, giving the SEC team their largest lead of the half, 32-19.


Daniels (8 points), Watson (6), Davis (6), and Killingsworth (6) provided balanced scoring for the #10 seed.  Auburn’s frontcourt outscored the Hawk big men 21-11.  Auburn played effective defense over the course of the half, forcing 8 turnovers and containing the Hawks to 19 points and 30% FG shooting.


The flashy backcourt for the Hawks (Nelson, Delonte West, and Pat Carroll) was a combined 3-for-13 FG.  Pat Carroll, good one game absent the next game this season, did not even attempt a shot.  Sazonov led the Hawks with 7 points and Nelson added 5 points.


The Hawks played shell-shocked in the first half.  The second half performance exemplified their defensive tenacity, their hustle, and their claim to having the nation’s best point guard (sorry T.J. Ford and Luke Ridnour).


Known to go on scoring tears to pull away from close games, the Hawks rattled off a 13-0 run in the early stage of the second half.  Delonte West, hesitant but looking more mobile than the last few games, and Jameer Nelson netted 9 points between them during the run.  The run brought the Hawks from down 37-24 to a 37-37 tie with nearly 12 minutes left.  The final bucket of the run, a Nelson step-back jumper, was superb.  Nelson faked, juked, and twisted the Auburn defender before drilling the baseline jumper.  This was the start of a player entering “The Zone.”  It was the start of a special performance.


Auburn sensation Daniels countered with a three-pointer, 42-39.  A West three-pointer locked things up at 42 apiece.  Down 2 points, Jameer Nelson dropped in a rainbow floater over the outstretched hand of an Auburn defender, 45-45. 


The Tigers went back down low.  Killingsworth muscled in a basket to retake the lead.  Following a missed shot in the lane by Dwayne Jones, Nelson tipped in the offensive rebound to tie the game at 47-47.  Killingsworth banked in a short shot.  West hit both ends of the 1-and-1 to tie the game again.


Auburn was struck with some good luck.  Trying to drive to the lane, Daniels lost control of the ball and dribbled the ball off his own foot.  Heading out-of-bounds, the ball seemed destined to be in the Hawks’ possession.  But AUB’s Derrick Bird happened to be in the right place at the right time.  The ball rolled right into his hands just before hitting the sideline.  Bird launched a three-pointer that found nothing but net, 52-49.


Nelson, clutch as he is on the line, sank both ends of the 1-and-1 to cut the lead to 1 point.  Tyrone Barley was whistled for a controversial block defending the baseline.  Bird hit both free throws to widen the lead to 54-51 with 2:19 remaining.


Nelson drove and drew the foul.  He hit both foul shots, 54-53.  Dwayne Jones gave the Hawks a chance.  He swatted a shot and the ball was deflected off Auburn with 47 seconds remaining.  Nelson got by his man and tried to use the glass.  It was a poor angle and ball came off the glass short of the rim, but Nelson grabbed the rebound and put the ball up on the rim.  It rolled off, but the Hawks got it back again.


With a 10 second differential on the shot clock, Nelson drove to his right and released a one-handed 12-foot floater over an Auburn shot-blocker.  It was all net and the Hawks led 55-54 with 12 seconds remaining. 


The Hawks moved Tyrone Barley over to guard Daniels, who had been guarded by West most of the game.  From about 24 feet, the 6’6 Daniels elevated and boldly drained a deep three-pointer in the face of Barley with 6 seconds left, 57-55.  Nelson took the ball, raced the length of the court, and was hacked across the wrists with 0.5 seconds left.  His 1st shot was a tad short but bounced in.  The second free throw was perfect, 57-57.    


Overtime was needed.


The Hawks weathered 5 straight opportunities by the Tigers on the 1st possession of overtime.  Auburn would grab the offensive rebound, have the possession arrow in their favor during a jump-ball, or have the ball deflected off a Hawk just before going out.  The Hawks did prevail on that possession, and by the time they got the ball, the clock read 3:45.  


Nelson was electric to start the OT.  The junior swished two three-pointers to give Saint Joseph’s its largest lead of the game, 63-59.  The Hawks had the ball and the lead with nearly 2 minutes left. 


Nelson barely missed another three-pointer, and no one got back on defense.  Auburn streaked to a fast-break dunk courtesy of Daniels.  Nelson tried to hit another three-pointer but was off the mark.  Daniels took the ball string to the basket, drew the foul on Jones, and still finished.  His free-throw gave AUB the lead, 64-63.


In a questionable coaching decision, Nelson in-bounded the ball on what seemed to be the last possession for the Crimson and Gray.  Tyrone Barley ended up with the ball and the shot clock winding down.  Trying to create space, Barley pushed off with his forearm and was whistled for an offensive foul.  Auburn was fouled by the Hawks.  Derrick Bird, an 80% FT shooter and best on the Tigers missed the first one but hit the second one.


Nelson penetrated and the other Hawks seemed surprised he didn’t shot.  A wide-open West caught the ball and rotated the ball to an open Pat Carroll, who was 0-4 up until that moment.  Carroll released the ball from the top of the arc.  A Tiger defender leaped at him.  Carroll’s shot landed on the base-line, a foot left of the basket.  Replays were inconclusive as to whether it was tipped or not.


It didn’t look tipped.  It looked like a rushed shot.  It missed badly.  Carroll was 0-5 for the game and that was the end of the season for the Hawks.  If it was tipped, Saint Joseph’s would have had the ball with 0.6 seconds to go at their basket with a chance to tie.   


For Auburn, Daniels had 25 points on 10-for-19 shooting.  Killingsworth (15) and Bird (11) also reached double figures.  The Tigers connected on 44% of their shots, a good rate against the nation’s #1 FG % defense.


For Saint Joseph’s, Jameer Nelson scored 32 of the Hawks’ 63 points.  He was 11-for-22 from the field, including 7-of-8 from the line.  Delonte West was the only other Hawk to reach double-figures (10 points), but was 3-for-13 from the field.  The injury severely limited his explosiveness. 


The good news for Saint Joseph’s is that Dwayne Jones is only a freshman.  The 6’11 center had 9 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 blocks.  Having developed a decent hook shot, he is two good post moves away from being a dominant big man in the Atlantic 10.


Three-point shooting was a negative for the Hawks, who hit just 6-of-24.


The off-season begins.  Will Pat Carroll work extensively on his ability to create a shot?  He has already honed the spot-up three-pointer.  He will need to develop a slashing ability.  Will Nelson declare for the NBA?  Or will he come back and continue his assault on the SJU record books?  Will Delonte West heal completely and be a force as he was midway through the season?  Who will emerge next season: Dave Mallon, Chet Stachitas, Mike Williams?  Remember, only 1 senior will be lost and 7 of the 10 guys coming back are now freshmen and sophomores.


Well, it has been a blast.  I don’t know if I will cover the Hawks next year, but I know I will definitely be watching them.  Hope all of you have enjoyed the articles.                         

E-Mail the Author: Patrick Wandalowski

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