7:00 PM ET, January 13, 2004
Hagan Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Once Jameer Nelson got the basket early in the second half that moved him into second place on Saint Joseph's career scoring list, he decided it was time for an assist.Nelson asked coach Phil Martelli for backup point guard Dwayne Lee to play the rest of the game. "He works hard just like everyone else," Nelson said. "He puts the pressure on me in practice every day. I tip my hat off to him." Nelson scored 13 points, and Delonte West had 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead the sixth-ranked Hawks to a 79-35 victory over Fordham on Tuesday night. Lee played a season-high 19 minutes, scoring seven points on 3-for-6 shooting. It was the kind of game where Saint Joseph's (14-0, 4-0 Atlantic 10) could afford to play 14 players, with 10 of them scoring. "It definitely felt good to get out there for some extended minutes, more than usual," Lee said. "It's great to get out there and get more of a feel with the rest of the team." The Hawks would have gotten better competition with a split-squad scrimmage, opening on a 31-8 run thanks to five early 3-pointers. The Hawks, who led 48-12 at halftime, are two wins shy of the longest winning streak in school history set by the 1964-65 team coached by Jack Ramsay. "We are good, but we're just not great yet," Martelli said. Fordham (4-10, 1-2) turned the ball over 10 times in the game's first 8 minutes, looking badly overmatched against the quicker, more talented Hawks, who are the top-ranked team in the RPI ratings. Saint Joe's has outscored its opponents 95-34 in the first half the last two games. The Hawks were ahead of Duquesne 47-22 Saturday. The Rams finished the half with more turnovers (13) than points (12) and shot 20 percent from the field (5-for-25), missing all nine 3-point attempts. Despite running the lead to 36 points, Saint Joe's used a full-court press for most of the first half, not relenting until there was about 5 minutes left. "When we come with that much energy, we're kind of hard to deal with," Martelli said. "I feel for them." Michael Haynes scored 17 points for the Rams, who had a two-game winning streak snapped. Fordham coach Dereck Whittenburg spent part of the game slumped in his chair, arms folded and with nothing to feel good about. "It was a combination of a very good team against a program that's really hit bottom," said Whittenburg, in is first year at Fordham. "We're not at that level of course, but we didn't compete and I think we were intimidated at the beginning. They're great, but they weren't really tested tonight." Nelson went from seventh to second on the scoring list, and has 1,737 points. He trails only Bernard Blunt, who scored 1,985 points from 1990-95. Nelson played only the first 8 minutes of the second half. Fordham had its lowest point total since losing 50-32 to Virginia Tech in 1997. Nelson won't have to wait years from now to tell his kids about the record -- his 2-year-old son Jameer Jr. was at the game. "It's fortunate he could be here to see this right now," he said. "He understands the game a little bit." The 14-0 start matched the 1987-88 Temple team for second-best start in Atlantic 10 history. UMass started the 1995-96 season with 26 straight wins. Referee Michael Kitts missed the second half with a strained calf.