7:05 PM ET, January 10, 2004
A.J. Palumbo Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Many Duquesne players weren't convinced beforehand that No. 9 Saint Joseph's was deserving of its ranking or might be better than city rival Pittsburgh. They are now.Jameer Nelson scored 19 of his 21 points before halftime and hit four 3-pointers during a pivotal 24-4 run that started Saint Joseph's on a 78-61 rout of Duquesne on Saturday night.Delonte West added 20 points and the Hawks (13-0, 3-0 Atlantic 10) overwhelmed the Dukes with their ball movement, outside shooting and relentless defense to keep the best start in school history going."We watched a lot of film on them, but they're a lot better than we thought -- I didn't think they were a Top Ten team," said Duquesne's Elijah Palmer, who scored 14 points. "We played (No. 15) Pitt, but they (the Hawks) are as good as anybody I've faced -- ever."With Nelson shooting 4-of-7, St. Joseph's went 12-of-28 on 3-pointers -- the seventh time in 13 games they've had 10 or more 3s. Duquesne (5-8, 0-2) was 5-of-20 on 3-pointers while falling behind by as many as 28 points."We're more than a one-man team, and when you can shoot 3-pointers, it allows you to (open) big leads," Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli said.The Hawks handled the Dukes much more easily than Pitt did in its 59-45 victory at Duquesne last month. Pitt (16-0), a double-overtime winner Saturday at Miami, and Saint Joseph's are two of major college basketball's six remaining unbeatens."They are the best team we've played this season," Duquesne's Bryant McAllister said of the Hawks. "We'd try to make a run, but they'd still be swinging the ball around and looking for a good shot. We could pick that up, not rush it as much as we do and be more poised and patient."Duquesne coach Danny Nee did exactly that, telling his players during timeouts to pay attention to how Saint Joseph's always looked for a good shot. He pointed out the Hawks usually made four passes, and often as many as eight, before taking a shot."That team exudes confidence," Nee said. "We couldn't do anything with West or Nelson, and that was a game decided in the first few minutes."Saint Joseph's quickly opened a 10-2 lead with the help of two tip-ins by Dave Mallon and was never threatened in beating Duquesne for the seventh straight time and 13th in 14 meetings. The Dukes have lost 12 consecutive games against Top Ten teams and 14 straight against ranked teams, including the loss to Pitt."We try to win every 4-minute segment but especially the first one," Martelli said. "If you let a team that maybe questions if they can play with you (hang around), all of a sudden it's 8-2 the other way, the crowd gets excited and visions start dancing in their head."There was no danger of that happening.Saint Joseph's led 21-15 with just over 7 minutes left in the first half, then turned to its most reliable weapon -- the 3-pointer -- to increase its lead from six points to 26 in just over 5 minutes.Nelson started the 24-4 run with consecutive 3-pointers that made it 27-15. Nelson was coming off a 32-point game against Richmond and has 82 points in his last three games despite sitting out 10 minutes Saturday."He's very confident and is a leader, and they all believe in him," Palmer said.The Hawks' next three baskets also were 3s, by Chet Stachitas, Nelson and Tyrone Barley, to double up the score at 36-18, and Nelson later added another 3 and a baseline layup off West's excellent pass to finish off the run. Saint Joseph's had more 3-pointers (8) in the first half than Duquesne did field goals (7).Stachitas added 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, 3-of-3 on 3-pointers.The Hawks nearly matched their season's average of 8.53 3-pointers before halftime, then made certain the Dukes never made of a game of it despite a 6-0 run to start the second half.Duquesne fell to 2-12 at home against ranked teams since moving into the A.J. Palumbo Center 15 years ago. The Dukes haven't beaten a Top Ten team in Pittsburgh since a 91-84 upset of then-No. 10 Florida State on Dec. 15, 1992.Saint Joseph's improved to 6-0 on the road.
|» Jan 10, 2004||JOES 78, @DUQ 61||Recap|