Hawks still flapping after win over Wake
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) – Jameer Nelson and Delonte West each
scored 24 points to lead Saint Joseph’s to an 84-80 victory over Wake Forest
in an NCAA Tournament regional semifinal in the East Rutherford bracket.
Pat Carroll added 17 points for the Hawks (30-1), who will play Oklahoma
State in the regional final on Saturday. Tyrone Barley contributed with 13
points for St. Joseph’s in the win.
“We’re 30-1 and we’re in the Elite Eight,” said Hawks coach Phil Martelli.
“You can say what you want, this is one of the best teams in America. It is
the best story in college basketball.”
Justin Gray led Wake Forest (21-10) with 23 points, while Eric Williams
chipped in with 19 in defeat.
Saint Joseph’s built an 11-point lead after back-to-back three-pointers by
Carroll and Barley with just under seven minutes to play in the game, but the
Demon Deacons would not quit.
A three-pointer by Gray pulled Wake Forest within seven, 72-65, with just over
five minutes remaining. A field goal by Williams and a free throw by Gray then
cut the Demon Deacons’ deficit to 72-68 with under four minutes to go.
With the Hawks clinging to a five-point lead, Carroll hit a key three-pointer
to increase the advantage to 76-68 with under two minutes remaining in the
Wake Forest, though, would still not go away quietly. Down 79-72, the Deacons
scored five unanswered points to get within two with under a minute to go.
Chet Stachitas then came up with a big play when he put back a Nelson miss to
put the Hawks up 81-77.
Chris Paul proceeded to make 1-of-2 from the line with 27.6 seconds left to
get within 81-78, but Saint Joseph’s went 3-of-4 from the line in the closing
seconds to escape with the win.
The Hawks trailed by one at the break, but a layup by West just seconds into
the second half put Saint Joseph’s in front, 39-38. Williams hit a pair from
the line to restore Wake Forest’s one-point lead.
With the score tied at 41-41, Nelson scored to give the Hawks the lead and
they would not trail again. A three-pointer by West stretched the lead to
48-42 and Carroll’s trey gave Saint Joseph’s a 51-44 advantage with 13:20
Wake Forest pulled within five, 62-57, but threes by Carroll and Barley with
under seven minutes to go put the Hawks up by 11.
Jamaal Levy scored seven points in the early going to help Wake Forest jump
out to a 13-5 lead. The advantage grew to 17-8 on a field goal by Gray with
just under 13 minutes left before halftime.
Saint Joseph’s responded by scoring 13 of the game’s next 14 points to take
the lead. Back-to-back three-pointers by Barley and West ignited the spurt and
Barley connected again from beyond the arc to pull the Hawks within one,
18-17, midway through the opening half. Back-to-back baskets by West capped
the run to give the Hawks a 21-18 advantage with nine minutes to play in the
A three-pointer by Gray tied the contest and a shot from beyond the arc by
Paul with 6:20 to go in the half put the Deacons back on top, 26-25. Nelson
answered with a three to give Saint Joseph’s a 28-26 edge.
Vytas Danelius made 1-of-2 from the free throw line in the final minute to
give Wake Forest a 38-37 edge at the break.
Gray scored 12 first-half points to lead the Demon Deacons, while Nelson and
West each had 11 for the Hawks.
“Phil’s kids have been marvelous,” said Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser. “I
hadn’t seen them play that much, but I guess they did to us what they did to
29 other teams.”