4:00 PM ET, December 27, 2003
Michael J. Hagan '85 Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Saint Joseph's, which is at its highest ranking in 38 years, won by 18 points Saturday for its ninth straight win. That wasn't good enough for Hawks coach Phil Martelli. Delonte West scored 22 points and Jameer Nelson added 15 in No. 10 Saint Joseph's 73-55 victory over Pacific. "You have a certain expectation with the way that you play," Martelli said. "It was almost like it was casual. These (wins) are so hard to come by." The Hawks (9-0) are off to their best start since they won their first 10 games in 1964-65 and this is their highest in-season ranking since they were No. 5 in 1965-66. The Hawks won their first seven games last season before being upset by Pacific. Saint Joseph's, though, hardly looked like a Top Ten team, shooting 40 percent from the field while missing easy layups and blowing a dunk. West even missed an open layup that was rebounded and missed again by Nelson, in an uncharacteristic play from one of the best backcourts in the nation. "Plain and simple, we had a bad performance," West said. "Going into conference play, that's going to be unacceptable or we're going to be in the locker room with our heads down." The Hawks missed 17 of their first 24 shots -- including four layups -- and shot only 35 percent in the first half. "These are college players that miss layups. To me, that's inexcusable," Martelli said. "You miss a shot, you miss a shot. But to miss a layup at this level, that can't happen." The Tigers (4-6) almost pulled another upset this year, trailing by five points midway through the second half despite a sloppy game in which they committed 18 turnovers, preventing them from making a serious run. Nelson shook off a slow start in the second half, hitting two straight 3-pointers before dishing an assist to Dwayne Lee for another 3 and a 62-49 lead. A 3-pointer by Chet Stachitas stretched the lead to 14 and the Hawks never let the lead dip below double digits again. Stachitas scored all 14 of his points off the bench in the second half, thanks to 4-for-6 3-point shooting. He hit two during an 18-9 run late in the second half that pushed the lead to 20 points. "Chet was a huge factor in the second half," Martelli said. Stachitas has earned more playing time thanks to his 3-point shooting and the continued slump of starting forward Pat Carroll. Carroll scored only five points and played just 2 minutes in the second half. Martelli said Stachitas will continue to play more, giving the Hawks' second-leading 3-point shooter added confidence. "The more you're on the court the more you feel the coach is behind you because he thinks you can do it," Stachitas said. "You get your legs and you get better rhythm then when you come out there and try and shoot right away." West and Stachitas combined to go 13-for-20 from the field. The rest of the Hawks were 12-for-34. "We were hoping to do a better job on West, but he had a very good game," Pacific coach Bob Thomason said. "The other guards hurts us, too, especially Stachitas." Christian Maraker scored 15 points and Tyler Newton had 11 for the Tigers, who shot 41 percent. Pacific could not hold on to the ball early, with Nelson opening the game with a steal for the first of 13 first-half turnovers. Saint Joe's would score 11 points off those turnovers. "We didn't take very good care of the ball in the first half," Thomason said. "We haven't handled pressure very well." Nelson had perhaps his worst half of the season in the first 20 minutes, missing six of eight shots with only one assist. Nelson was bothered by a stomach virus for most of the week, but he said it didn't affect his performance. "We didn't capitalize and you have to do a great job of that when you're playing a good team," Nelson said.
|» Dec 27, 2003||@JOES 73, PAC 55||Recap|