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
"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
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
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
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.