1:03- Well, we hope you’ve enjoyed our live look at the St. Joe’s-Villanova historic doubleheader day. It’s taken seven and a half hours, two train rides, a cab fare, four press passes, a bunch of running, lots of bad jokes, almost 6,000 words, two St. Joe’s losses, and a chunk of two writers’ sanity. That’s all we’ve got for tonight.
Thanks for reading, and good night.
12:15- Before we leave the Palestra, something has to be said about the effort of the Saint Joseph’s men’s team tonight. There was a clear gulf in talent between the two squads that proved irreconcilable, but the team that was out there tonight certainly wasn’t lacking for effort. It’s hard to believe that team that took the number three team in the nation to task for portions of the game tonight is the same team that couldn’t get past DePaul, Cornell, or Rider. If they can bring the same effort with them to Minnesota, they can fly back halfway across the country with a quality win in the bags. It may be too much to ask for this to be a turning point of the season, though rivalry games as hard-fought as this one often can be, but the desire of this team, at least tonight, isn’t something to be questioned.
12:05- A little reaction from both coaches:
“The goal here was to be better than we were yesterday. We had 2 good days of practice, probably the best two consecutive days all year. We didn’t lose four in a row in one day; we got there collectively and daily. This was about this day and bout playing better basketball, and I think we were able to accomplish this.
“The worse compliment you can be paid, when they’re walking down that line shaking hands, is to say you played hard, because that’s bulls—t. It means you weren’t good enough. You play to win, and we didn’t win, so we came up short.
“I was pleased with out response. Against Purdue we crumbled. When they punched us in the chest in the second half, we absolutely cracked. Against Cornell, we cracked. It never really got uncomfortable for them, but we didn’t crack.
“In some ways, it was like a bout. They took a swing, we took a swing, then they took a swing. Were walking out of here scoring 89 points, and I’m saying we were working up hill the entire second half. We came here to win, and we played for 40 minutes.
“My fear was that if we had stopped, what would have happened is that this is a tremendous defensive team. If we had stopped and played possession basketball, they would have pushed up on us and made it physically difficult to make the next pass and the next pass. They’re remarkably balanced. They have a way about them offensively that is very fluid, and a way about them defensively that is very tough.
“I play to win basketball games, and this stinks. Tonight and for basically the last month. But for these kids, I want memories they can take with them. Not all losses are losing experiences, and not all wins are winning experiences; and this wasn’t a losing experience.”
“I don’t have anything else to say about these games. You can never predict what is going to happen and just have to tough it out. You never now what’s going to happen. St Joe’s has such passionate fans.
“Their team played great, and I’m proud of our guys. It’s a tough gritty Big 5 win.
“That’s the type of ft shooing team I want them to be; that’s what I mean by gutty.
[On Martelli’s assertion that they were never uncomfortable] “Yeah, yeah. The whole game. I don’t know if they [the players] were. They might not have because they might not know the history, but I’ve seen the history. We knew coming in, with all the young guards who are going to be great one day, one of them is going to go off and I don’t know which one. That’s what I was afraid of. Was it going to be two of them?
[On Taylor King] “Nothing is going on in that mind when he shoots the ball. He just shoots it anytime anywhere. That is the beauty of him.”
11:55- 22 points for Scottie Reynolds and 20 off the bench from Taylor King, including four threes in the second half, led the Cats over the Hawks tonight. Pena chipped in 15, along with 13 from Fisher, nine off the bench from Wyans, and eight from Cheek. The story down the stretch for Nova was from the free-throw line, as they finished 35 of 40, including a streak of 28 straight in the second half. The shot 46.8 percent from the field (46.6 percent) and eight of 19 from three. They held the edge on the boards, led by nine from King.
The Hawks were led by 22 points from Hilliard in a stellar effort (5-5 from the field, 12-13 from the line) along with a team high seven boards. Govens had 19 points on 7-13, 3-7. Jones and Crosgile had 16 and 12, respectively, but combined for six turnovers. Williamson added 13 points and seven assists.
The Hawks got dominated on the boards to the tune of 42-31, and each team had 16 turnovers. St. Joe’s shot 25-58 (43.1 percent) from the field and 10-26 (38.5 percent) from three. They missed nine free throws though, led by a six of 10 performance by Williamson, which could have kept the game closer down the stretch.
11:32- While we wait for Martelli and Wright to enter the press room, let’s catch you up on the women’s stats which I’m sure you’re dying to here. The final margin was 56-42, with the Wildcats outscoring the Hawks 32-30 in the second 20 minutes. Lauren Sweeney and Heather Scanlon led the way off the bench with 15 and 10, respectively. The Wildcats’ bench almost beat the Hawks on their own with 38 points.
The Hawks got 10 points each from Gillespie, Ford, and Djouara. They shot just 15-51 from the field (29.1 percent) and finished with 16 turnovers to just three assists.
11:25- Reynolds again sinks both, and a missed three by Govens is fumbled out of bounds by Nova. Crosgile returns the favor on the ensuing possession, and the Cheek dribbles out the clock in a 97-89 win by the Wildcats. Final stats and comments to come.
11:24- Crosgile cooly and confidently sinks all three to cut the margin to six, but Garrett is forced into his fifth foul on Reynolds (despite the insistence of the Martelli family behind me that Reynolds slid his pivot foot), forcing G to the bench. He acquitted himself nicely, with 13 points and seven assists.
11:21- But we’re still plugging away. Govens sends Reynolds to the line, where he drains two clutch shots to no one’s surprise. Crosgile then smartly jumps into Fisher from behind the arc, sending him to the line and Fisher to the bench with five fouls. Hawks down nine, free throws pending, with 17.2 left.
11:18- Jones earns a steal on the in-bounds pass, and finds Crosgile who shakes off Wyans and converts a three to cut the lead to seven, 93-86, with 23.6 seconds left. Student is surprisingly subdued and mostly watching from the exit ramps. They’re just emotionally drained at this point.
11:16- Fisher finds Cheek all alone with a full-court pass for an emphatic flush, which Williamson answers with a lay-in and a Hawks timeout. Nova leads by 10, 93-83, with 34.3 left on the clock.
11:13- Prescott and Bentley are in for the fouling defense (CP does the honors) and Fisher obliges with two. Garrett drives the lane and earns a trip to the line, making one of two. Hilliard hacks Fisher with 53 seconds left, who nails both to but the Cats up 91-81.
11:11- The Hawks log 32 seconds of perfect defense, and I mean absolutely perfect. But King gets free after Hilliard hedges Reynolds on a high screen and nails a three, his third this half after none in the first 20 minutes. Jones looses the handle on a drive through the lane, and Martelli calls timeout with the Cats up 87-80, 1:15 left. Looks like the air is out of the upset balloon now.
11:09- Reynolds fouls Jones on a three-point attempt that goes halfway down and out and would have caused some serious noise damage to this old cathedral. Jones makes the first, Wright calls timeout to ice him, and then Jones makes two more. Hawks down four, 84-80, with 120 ticks left.
11:07- A Nova turnover gives the Hawks a chance to inch within one possession, but Govens goes long on a three-point attempt, and Crosgile picks up his fourth on the other end, sending Fisher to the line for two. Nova leads 83-77.
Two freshmen on the court for St. Joe’s now, with Crosgile, Jones, Govens, Williams, and Hilliard in a small lineup. Wyans also seeing time for the Cats.
11:05- End-to-end action. A Williamson cross-court swing pass finds Jones on the left wing for a three, answered by a long effort from King on the other end, answered by an old-fashioned three pointer by Crosgile (on Sutton’s fourth). Hawks down five, 82-77, 2:59 left.
11:04- Sutton stoinks a lay-in, but outreaches Williamson for the rebound and heads to the line courtesy of Govens’ third.
11:03- Wyans sends Garrett to the line (then heads off with fellow frosh Cheek for Reynolds and King), while Williamson hits one of two. Lead down to six.
11:00- Just a quick look at the crowd tonight shows Michael J. Hagan among the dignitaries in attendance, along with the aforementioned Father Lannon. The university president’s going with his beige basketball sweater, one of his go to wardrobe choices (I personally like the crimson one from the final game at the Fieldhouse better, but that’s just me).
It’s past Tom’s and my bed time, and we’ve been at this for five hours now, so let us apologize ahead of time.
10:59- The Hawks catch a break heading into the media timeout, as a missed three by Jones gets collected by Pena, who trips over another Wildcat for the travel. SJU ball under their own basket, down 77-70 with 3:59 left.
10:58- A smart denial by Hilliard leads to a run-out that finishes with a Crosgile three from the right wing to cut the deficit to five. Two free throws from Wyans up it back to seven, 77-70, with 4:10 left.
10:57- Great hustle by the Hawks, as Williamson, Jones, and Prescott, who run all the way down court after a loose ball only to earn a tie-up and see the possession arrow point Nova’s way. If they lose this game, it was never a question of effort.
10:55- Reynolds gets Hilliard in the air, and heads to the line on Hilliard’s third of the game amidst chants of “F— you, Scottie” (which get a grimace out of Father Lannon in attendance). Reynolds hits both to push the lead back to eight.
10:53- Attrition has temporarily forced me to shove my foot in my mouth, as a missed hook shot by Sutton sends out the Hawks, who get a deeeeeep three from Jones (seriously, he’s a stone-cold assassin with no conscience) to cut the lead to six, 73-67. Wright wants to talk it over with 6:05 left.
10:51- Just had a white boy sequence: Irwin gets his pocket picked by Reynolds, who feeds King all by himself in the open, except for that darn rim which stuffs him cold. He then proceeds to foul Govens on the other end by falling on him (literally), and exits to a chorus of cheers from the St. Joe’s students as Govens sinks two from the line.
10:50- Just got a text from St. Joe’s resident Green Man, who in no way regularly contributes to this blog, saying that he’s in the building. (Seriously, don’t try to look up his name. Please.)
10:47- Govens hits a three, just his second bucket of a heretofore quite half, to cut the lead to nine. Jones commits a ticky-tack foul on the other end, sending the Wildcats to the line with a 71-62 lead and 6:53 left.
The Wildcats are quietly pulling away in this game one point at a time. The Hawks are sticking close, but aren’t making progress in the lead, and it looks like a matter of attrition at this point. It’s still been an excellent performance by the Hawks and nothing to be all that ashamed of.
10:46- King drains another three, and Hilliard finally breaks his streak at the line (but still manages one of two). He has 22 points and is playing like a man tonight.
10:44- Hawks have a chance to cut it to six, but Irwin fumbles a ball out of bounds, then redeems himself with a block to start a run-out that only leads to Garrett’s fourth foul and an earful from Martelli that I can’t print here.
10:43- Hilliard endures an uncalled bump by Pena, but hangs in the air and kisses it off the glass anyway. Pena gets his fourth foul on the offensive end on the ensuing possession and has to sit.
10:41- Jones enters for Crosgile, and makes an immediate impact with a long three even by NBA standards. Two free throws by Wyans after a Jones hand-check has the lead back to 10 tough, 66-56, with 9:29 left.
10:40- A loose ball ends up with Hilliard, who drops a nice jab-step and hits a 19-footer. King answers with his first three in five attempts to give Nova its largest lead of the day at 11.
10:37- O’Brien picks up his fourth foul and has to sit for Irwin. Pena converts both from the line; Nova 59-51 with 11:26 left.
10:36- Hawks take their first shot at Reggie Redding, the senior guard who is sidelined due to off-the-court issues, in a roll out. Meanwhile, Garrett hits both to cut the lead to six.
10:33- Two straight turnovers by Nova leads to a foul by Stokes sending Williamson back to the line to come out of the under-12 timeout. Hilliard checks back in as the Nova cheerleaders take the court to a round of boos alongside the Wildcat challenging the St. Joe’s student section, and the Hawks with a chance to eat into a 57-49 lead with 11:14 left.
10:31- Can’t believe it’s take me this long to comment on Jay Wright’s suit, but it is stylish: Blue pinstripe with gold tie and matching pocket square. Phil going with black, white dress shirt, crimson tie, and white pocket square. Edge Nova.
10:30- Hilliard misses a put-back attempt, but heads to the line yet again on Sutton’s third foul, bringing Pena back in the game. Two more from Hilliard, giving 17 points and 11 for 11 from the line, see the lead back to eight, 57-49.
10:28- Nova fans way up in the corner kick off a predictable chant cascade, starting the “Safety School” chant, which garners the token, “We can’t hear you response”, followed by Nova’s “Scoreboard” chant, rebutted by a “Still can’t hear you”. Oh, Big 5.
10:25- Martelli’s chirping about a no call on a bad box out by Pena undercutting Hilliard (sorry, Phil, it was a good no-call) and Wyans drives the other end for a teardrop that makes Big Phil want to talk things over. It’s their second timeout with 14:19 remaining, St. Joe’s down eight, 55-47.
10:23- The Wildcats are intensifying the 1-2-2 full-court press, but to no avail just yet other than balls tipped out of bounds off the Cats. Jones has an un-press-related turnover, and Pena completes a three-point play on the other end. Nova back up six, 53-47.
10:21- We have the second Tim Donaghy-related roll out of the night. First was, “It takes a Nova grad 15 months to finish a sentence,” followed by “Any of these refs go to Nova?”. I can’t wait to see what other teams in the Big 5 do with Delonte West.
10:20- Pena’s third foul sends Hilliard to the line where he makes it nine straight. Pena (who along with Fisher is still on the floor with three fouls) then travels to give the Hawks the ball coming out of the under-16 timeout; Cats up 47-50 with 15:49 left.
10:18- Williamson commits the cardinal sin of perimeter defense by leaving his feet, earning his third foul in 3:34, sending Reynolds to the line for two of three (despite chants of “F—ing Scottie” fromthe student section) and the St. Joe’s captain to the bench. Nova up 50-45, 16:26 left.
10:16- Prescott takes an ill-advised three in transition, leading to a Fisher miss, and a run-out by Govens and Williamson that ends with a deuce Govens. Lead down to two, 47-45.
10:16- It gets a little hotter when Williamson hits a trey from the top of the key to cut into the Cat’s lead at 47-43,.
10:15- Fisher picks up his third foul after some combination of sweat on the floor and a Hilliard crossover puts Pena on the floor. I’m going with sweat because it’s around 87 degrees in here…
10:13- Martelli is all over the refs for a serious of calls he’s not fond of, including Williamson’s second foul in a minute. You had to expect the Hawks, who drew 11 fouls to Nova’s eight in the first half, might be on the wrong end of things a little more this half. Nova up 47-40.
10:11- An unfortunate sequence for the Hawks: Williamson makes a nice drive to the basket and looks to draw the foul, but end up with just a miss. O’Brien gets blocked on the put-back attempt, which turns into a three-point play for Reynolds. Williamson turns over the ensuing possession and fouls Reynolds; Nova ball up 44-40.
10:10- Both teams send out the starters to open the second half, which starts with a jumper by Hilliard to cut the margin to one. A good hedge by O’Brien forces Reynolds out of bounds. Hawks’s ball, 41-40.
:08- Apparently, the Mohawk is skipping form freshman to freshman on the Hawks. It started on the head of Carl Jones, and has since jumped shipped to Justin Crosgile. Is Martelli going with the hot hand in the backcourt or the more manicured head?
10:05- Halftime comes at a good time for the Hawks, as that last play may have been a sign of fatigue. Not too surprised that the Hawks have kept it so close (look at what happened against Purdue). If Martelli was planning a run-and-gun night, his plan has worked fairly well so far. This constant of rotation of players will hopefully mean a fresher team entering the half, which should mean better competition than the atomic meltdown against Purdue.
Both teams’ shooting numbers came back down to earth, with St. Joe’s finishing the half 12-31 (38.7 percent) and Villanova coming in at 16-37 (43.2). The Hawks closed the gap on the offensive boards late in the half, but were still outrebounded 29-19, including 12-6 on the offensive glass, and were outgained 13-4 in second-chance points.. The Hawks need to improve their shooting behind the arc (3-11) and from the line (11-17) to sustain the upset bid).
Leading the way for St. Joe’s was 12 big points from Govens on a very solid five-of-nine shooting. Hilliard added 11, included all 7-7 from the line. Williamson and Jones had four each, while Crosgile and O’Brien each had three.
Nine points from Scottie Reynolds on just 3-4 from the field lead the Wildcats, followed by eight each from Pena and King (though King is 0-4 from three after entering the game shooting over 40 percent from beyond the arc. All nine players to see action for the Wildcats have recorded a field goal.
9:53- Believe it or not, Martelli used the timeout to draw up a play whereby Jones held the ball under his arm like a young yellow Labrador, only to try and penetrate, fail, and chuck up a 26-footer that would lead to a Villanova breakout and Sutton dunk. Goven’s halfcourt bid fell short to end the half,, and the Cats hold a 41-38 edge at halftime.
9:51- King continues to be cold from behind the arc, and the Hawks take their first timeout with 45.6 seconds left to discuss strategy, down one.
9:50- Sutton and King miss easy tip-ins, only for St. Joe’s to respond with a 22-footer from Crosgile that traveled 25 feet. Reynolds then splits the defense like the Red Sea to retake the lead, 39-38.
9:49- Sutton and Wayns both miss front ends of one-and-ones, both recovered by Irwin, who then finds Govens at the other end for a lay-in that puts the Hawks ahead 38-37 with 2:03 left to play.
9:46- Irwin sinks the first, but misses the second, which bounces off Stokes straight to Hilliard for the lay-in. Williamson picks Reynolds pocket at other end, and makes one of two from the line to cut the lead to one, 37-36, with 3:16 left. Williamson’s second went in, then out, the second or third shot of his to do that today.
9:44- The foul situation for the Wildcats looks like this: two each on Pena, Sutton (who hasn’t seen the floor since very early in the half), King, and Fisher. Armwood also has one down low. They’re now going small (with Irwin and Hilliard the only St. Joe’s forwards) with King as the big, Cheek, Wayns, Stokes, and Reynolds.
9:43- Jones hits a three from the left wing before King misses his rebuttal. A loose ball foul sends Irwin to the line for two on the other side of the under-four break, with the Wildcats up 37-32 with 3:38 left.
9:41- A failed trap in the corner leaves Wyans open for a three, and Prescott’s attempt to answer flies long. Govens picks up the mess and gets turned away by Armwood, but finds Hilliard in the back door with a superb pass that send the man from Roselle, NJ to the line. King now has two fouls on the night as well, while Govens earns a break after some smart minutes with two fouls. Hawks down 35-30, 4:31 left.
9:39- Govens reinvigorates the crowd with a steal and a little up-and-under lay-in (as tonight’s announcer Bill Raftery would say, “with a little KISSSSSS!!”). Pena picks up his second foul of the game on a loose ball on the other end; O’Brien converts only one, but good work by Hilliard keeps the ball alive for a missed three by Govens. Hawks down just four right now.
9:37- Hilliard heads to the stripe after Fisher picks up his second foul, bringing fellow Corey Stokes back on the floor. Hilliard hits both to cut the lead to 32-25 with 6:29 left. The Hawks are in the bonus already.
9:35- Possible symbol of the evening: Crosgile does well on a drive to earn a trip to the line; misses the first, lane violation on the second. Don’t forget, only one of these teams lost to Rider and Cornell.
9:33- For the offensive prowess on display, there have been some terrible shots. Govens just chucked up a runner wide of everything, Wyans fired a three at nothing but air, plus Bentley, Irwin, and Crosgile all have airballs to their credits already.
9:31- O’Brien makes a nice move to the goal, but flubs a dunk, and a Bentley run out on the ensuing possession leads to a block party by some combination of Armwood and Pena that lands the ball in the Drexel student center. Nova looks poised to pull away, leading 32-23 with 7:47 left.
9:27- Govens improbably exploits the matchup against King with a step-back three. St. Joe’s shows token press on the inbounds play, while Nova has flashed press all night. Malik Wyans and Isiah Armwood are in just in time to see Irwin chuck an airball.
9:26- Cheek hits both, as Bentley enters the game for a lineup of O’Brien, Irwin, O’Brien, Crosgile and Jones. Offense should be in short supply. In fitting fashion, King earns another second chance put-back, and Crosgile hoists a three. Govens back in; Nova up 29-20, 9:53 left.
9:21- Cheek, the high school teammate of St. Joe’s AJ Rogers shows why he was an All-American coming out of St. Anthony’s with a huge put back. Crosgile then responds with a three, but Nova is headed to the line with a 25-20 lead with 10:37 left. Villanova already has eight offensive rebounds to St. Joe’s zero, and eight second chance points. It’ll be a long night for the Hawks if that doesn’t change soon.
9:20- Tay with a nice drive to the basket and lay-in high off glass, then almost causes a steal at the other end that instead ends up in a King flush.
9:19- A couple ugly possessions in a row, with SJU just getting outworked on the boards. King hits two from the line to put them up 19-15 with 13:16 left. Govens, now with two fouls, exits for Crosgile while Bryant Irwin is in for O’Brien. Dominic Cheek also in for Nova.
9:18- Hilliard makes both, but King answers with a run to the post. Govens has a three rim out on the other end.
9:15- Hilliard picks up a loose ball and goes strong to the hole, earning a trip to the charity stripe on the other sides of the under-16 media timeout. Both teams are shooting lights out, with the Cats at 6-10, and the Hawks at 5-8. Nova leads 15-13, 14:46 left.
9:14- Jones is in and immediately drives the baseline and kicks out to an open Garrett who drains an 18-footer. Back-to-back threes by Fisher and Reynolds aren’t a good sign for the Hawks though.
9:11- Interesting defensive matchups. Stokes is on Govens, Reynolds on Prescott, and Stokes on Williamson. Doesn’t matter for O’Brien, who takes a nice bounce pass from Govens (hey fundamentals!) and hits a layup in transition. He misses the point after, but does rack up the first foul on King.
9:10- Hilliard with a big move in the post gets the bucket and earns a trip to the line, converting the point after; Hawks up 7-5, 17:18 left. The foul is the second on Sutton, in comes Taylor King.
9:09- I may eat my words later (unlikely), but Prescott looks overmatched early. He has one shot blocked from behind by Reynolds, turns the ball over into Scottie’s chest, then gets turned inside out leading to a block that sends Reynolds to the line to make one of two. Jones/Crosgile, where art thou?
9:08- Govens gets out of the gate with a three from the right corner to tie the game at fours.
9:07- Good signs from Garrett early, as he drives to the basket and earns a trip to the line; converts one of two, Nova up 2-1, 18:57 left.
9:06- Hawks win the tip but O;Brien turns it over. Sutton misses a 19-footer, but the Wildcats retain possession and Stokes hits a long two from the corner.
9:05- Student section is on point today. They forced two fans in Nova gear who walked into the wrong section to turn back with the classic “A—–e” point and chant, and were boisterous throughout the national anthem with a group, “Oh”.
9:02- The night starts out with Athletic Director Don DiJulia honoring Govens for his 1,000th point at Rider, the 48th Hawk to do so. The game ball is presented by former Hawk great Joe Spratt, and Wildcat Allen Ray, taking a break from playing with Ferrara in Italy’s Serie A.
9:01- Alright, we’re back up and running live at a REAL academic institution. We will be bringing you this game live in its entirety barring any unforeseen setbacks
Starting lineups are out: Nova going with Antonio Pena, Maurice Sutton, Corey Stokes, Scottie Reynolds, and Corey Fisher.
Hawks rolling out Todd O’Brien, Idris Hilliard, Chris Prescott, Darrin Govens, and Garrett Williamson; no surprises there.
8:53- I gotta say I was a little concerned by the ratio of Nova fans to Hawk fans on the train, but that’s because they’re all here tonight. They are occupying the entire side of the gym and wrapping around into where the normal people sit.
8:45- Now, for a bit of preview:
The Hawks are struggling with the magic tonic that has been Carl Jones going cold the last three games, and face their toughest opposition of the season in the No. 3 ranked Wildcats. Someone has to step up as the dependable guy, most likely Darrin Govens, to turn in a big performance (and we don’t mean 7-23 shooting and a bunch of points in garbage time) for them to stay close. It may take an otherworldly performance from beyond the arc (which the likes of Jones, Chris Prescott, Bryant Irwin, and Justin Crosgile are capable of) coupled with a cold night form Nova’s gunners.
The explosive offense of the Cats is going to challenge the Hawks unlike anything else they’ve seen this season. Scottie Reynolds has always had those quiet yet strong games against the Hawks and emerged at just the right moment. He may be able to play distributor tonight for his teammates. The matchup of Corey Stokes against Prescott, Charoy Bentley, or whoever else may be one they want to exploit thanks to the former’s prohibitive height advantage.
The major concern for Hawk fans will be what style the Hawks want to play. Head coach Phil Martelli has stressed an uptempo, run and gun style this year (admittedly with more run than gun) to compensate for their struggles in the halfcourt offense, but running with the Wildcats may be a recipe for disaster (just ask UCLA about last year’s NCAA Tournament dismantling). If they choose to turn this into a track meet, then expect it to favor Nova’s faster, more athletic team (especially Corey Fisher). If the Hawks try to turn it into a halfcourt game, that favors Nova’s many deep threats (especially Taylor King). See what we’re getting at here.
We know that there’s magic associated with this old building, with the rivalry, revelry, and pageantry that is the Big 5. But the Hawks will need all that and more tonight:
Tom: In a bit of poetic irony, there I’ll go with 77-55 in favor of the Cats to avenge the loss of two years ago, the only one for this senior class against in Big 5 play.
Matt: I hate to call Tom optimistic, but he is. I’m thinking something along the lines of 94-66. Too much running by St Joe’s leads to too much scoring by Nova.
Keep reading for women’s break down…
8:01- Good thing Tom wore his Chucks, because a bit of hybrid speed walking/jogging/cardiac arrest has us on the train with some zealous ’Nova fans who are systematically challenging the notion that their degrees are worth more than ours. A text from Athletic Communications guru Jack Jumper let’s us know the final damage in the women’s game, a 56-42 trampling by the Wildcats. Final stats to come when we reach our final destination.
7:36- It’s 50-33 at the under-four minute media timeout, and we’re out. This game is pretty well decided barring one of the largest miracles ever performed by a member of the Jesuit order, and we’ve got our running shoes on for the train station. See you one the train (hopefully.)
7:34- Amy Gillespie gives us reason not to change the name on the front of the jersey’s from “Saint Joseph’s” to “The Fighting Djouaras” with a bucket in the lane. By my count, she’s the first Hawk not from the Ivory Coast to score any points since Ford made two free throws with around 14 minutes left, and the first non-Djouara-ite to hit a field goal yet this half. Yes, it’s getting ragged; and yes, we’re tired.
7:33- Scanlon hits what we call “The dagger”, a three from the corner to push the lead to 48-33 with 4:13 left, and simultaneously relieve the consciousness of these two writers about possibly leaving a close competitive game.
7:31- Sweeney hits another two. It’s now 45-33 Villanova.
7:29- Sweeney has 10 points now, all in this half, and the Wildcats now have a 10-point advantage, 43-33.
7:28- Griffin draws up a doozy of a play out of the timeout. At least we assume. All we saw was Ford travel. That’s at least seven turnovers.
7:25- Gillespie gets stonewalled in the paint so badly that Griffin has to take a timeout to bail her out. I honestly don’t remember the last time someone who’s name doesn’t rhyme with “Wowaro” scored. St. Joe’s has the ball with 11 seconds left on shot clock, down 41-33 with 6:55.
By the way, these two writers will be out of here in 12 minutes for a train to Palestra regardless of what happens on this next possession (mainly just to find some reliable Wi-Fi).
7:23- And Brittany Ford appears to have checked out of the game. She had a turnover on the offensive end, a foul on D, and the body language of someone waiting for a SEPTA bus that is late again. Djouara does hit a lay-up, but Sweeney answers with one of her own to keep it at eight.
7:20- Djouara has another jumper go in-and-out, and a nice post move by Sweeney and two free throws the next time down pushes it back to eight.
7:17- Djouara rises over the taller Tia Grant on an isolation play to hit a jumper and cut the lead to four. She has eight points, and always seems to play well against Nova (32 points last season). St. Joe’s gets a turnover and has possession coming out of the under-12 timeout.
7:16- Looks like Villanova are starting to get wise to the full-court pressure, as Sweeney hits a 16-footer from the corner. Cindy Griffin wants to talk things over with her Hawks, and send Baker and Prim back in, with the Wildcats up 35-29 with 11:14 left.
7:14- The big girl’s got some range too, as Scanlon steps out to hit a tree from the right corner. She has seven points on the game, and the Cats are up 33-29.
7:13- Djouara hits a Djo-jumper to give the Hawks the lead, but Scanlon finishes a chance on the other end to regain the edge. Kelly Cavallo enters the game for the first time, and Bryant also returns.
7:12- A Ford hook shot goes halfway in, then out. It would have given the Hawks their first lead in a while.
7:11- Ford makes two from the line to bring the Hawks within a single point. Important to note that three Nova forwards—Scanlon, Pearson, and Elliott—all have three fouls. They’re going 11 girls deep right now, but it’s still something to look at.
7:10- Still no Internet; Tom’s off bribing students for their sign on to the VU student network. Better school my ass…
7:08- An offensive foul on Doherty sends both teams to the under-16 timeout down 28-25 with 15:06 left.
7:07- The Hawks turn Nova over again, and retain possession on a tie-up, but Ford commits her fourth turnover of the game on another jump-ball situation. Cats still up three.
7:04- The Hawks have stepped up the defensive intensity, as Michelle Baker’s near bulldozing of this laptop attests. The Wildcats have come up empty on their last four trips, including three turnovers, and two free throws from Prim have the lead down to three with 16:42 left to play.
7:03- The Wildcats push the lead to eight, but a steal by Baker leads to her lay-in, and one free throw from Gillespie off a turnover caused by Djouara’s defense has the lead back down to five.
7:01- Carey’s first points of the game up the Wildcats lead to six right out of the halftime break.
7:00- Hawks roll out all five starters to open the second stanza. Sarah Jones replaces Swiezynski to start things. The injured ’Nova forward is on the bench with an ice pack on her knee and appears to be in better spirits, though her return looks doubtful.
6:55- Here’s the halftime recap in this nightmarish internet situation:
Both teams have been anything but effective on the offensive end. St. Joe’s is 8-25 shooting (32 percent) with nine turnovers, while Villanova is tearing it up to the tune of 9-23 (39.1 percent) with seven turnovers. The Wildcats are also shooting a paltry one-for-seven from three-point land.
Ford leads all scorers with eight, followed by five from Gillespie, four from Djouara, two from Baker, and one from Ashley Logue.
Shannon Elliott has seven to lead the Wildcats, followed by six from Kyle Doherty, five from Jones, and four from Getty. 13 of their 24 point have come from the bench.