Saturday , Mar , 20 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Top-seeded Hawks soar into Sweet 16

=== Top-seeded Hawks soar into Sweet 16 ===

Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) – Jameer Nelson scored 24 points to lead Saint
Joseph’s over Texas Tech, 70-65, in second round action of the NCAA Tournament
at HSBC Arena.

Delonte West added 15 points and Pat Carroll had 14 for the Hawks (29-1),
who are seeded first in the East Rutherford bracket. Saint Joseph’s advanced
to play Wake Forest in the Sweet 16 on Thursday. The fourth-seeded Demon
Deacons edged out 12th-seeded Manhattan, 84-80 earlier Saturday.

“That’s the first locker room where we’ve had a joyous celebration, and they
deserve it because they’re going to the Sweet 16,” said Hawks coach Phil
Martelli after the game.

Andre Emmett led the eighth-seeded Red Raiders (23-11) with 18 points, while
Mikey Marshall and Devonne Giles netted 14 points each.

Texas Tech was able to erase a 60-53 deficit with seven straight points, all
coming from the line, and the game was all square with five minutes to play.

From there, Carroll quickly untied it with a big three-pointer to ignite an
8-2 run, punctuated by five straight Nelson points, to stake the Hawks to a
68-62 lead with a minute remaining.

“I am the leader of the team and the captain,” said Nelson. “The team looks to
me to take all the big shots and make the plays, and at that time, my team
found me.”

The Red Raiders couldn’t do much more as they missed six of their final seven
shots, giving the Hawks their first berth in the round of 16 since 1997, when
they lost to eventual runner-up Kentucky in the West Regional Semifinals.

The Hawks struggled to find their rhythm early as they made just four of their
first 15 shots and trailed after Texas Tech notched nine straight points to
assume a 21-12 advantage.

St. Joe’s, though, came back with a vengeance as West led the charge with nine
straight points during a 12-0 burst, giving the Hawks a 24-21 edge just past
the midway point of the opening half.

The Hawks were not finished as the Raiders kept settling for jump shots. After
a Ronald Ross bucket cut it to one, St. Joe’s embarked on another 12-0 spurt
behind seven points by Nelson. In all, it was a 24-2 explosion that put the
top seed ahead by 15 at 36-23 with four minutes left.

“They made a great run…and I can’t think of any other team that has made a
run like that on us this year,” said Texas Tech coach Bob Knight. “I think
it’s good to see a team like this play college basketball.”

Texas Tech started to patrol the offensive glass and work the ball inside,
answering with four consecutive baskets, three on putbacks, to close out the
half down by just five, 36-31.

“We made our run, and they made theirs,” said Emmett, whose collegiate playing
career came to an end. “They got a little more out of their run than we did.
It was even from there on out.”

West led all scorers with 13 points in the opening half, while Emmett’s
eight led the Raiders.

The second half saw more see-saw action as St. Joe’s hit big shots every time
Texas Tech looked to knot things up. Finally though, the Raiders used the foul
line to break even at 60 apiece.