Minutemen Fall To St. Joseph's, 84-69
Feb. 27, 2001
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Marvin O'Connor had 21 points and No. 18 St. Joseph's overcame a 16-point halftime deficit for an 84-69 victory over Massachusetts on Tuesday night that clinched the Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season title.
Na'im Crenshaw scored 17 points, Jameer Nelson added 16 and Bill Phillips had 12 rebounds for the Hawks (24-4, 14-1), who have won 10 straight games - their longest streak since 1996-97 - and 18 of 19.
It is the first time St. Joseph's has clinched the league title since 1985-86 and the Hawks will be the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament that begins next week in Philadelphia. The Hawks also won the regular-season East crown and were the No. 1 seed in 1996-97.
Monty Mack had 15 points, Shannon Crooks added 13 points, Micah Brand scored 12 and Jackie Rogers had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Minutemen (13-13, 11-4), who had a two-game winning streak snapped and are 0-3 this season against ranked opponents.
St. Joseph's erased the 16-point halftime deficit, its biggest of the season, with a 23-6 run to take its first lead at 56-55. After a dunk by Brand, O'Connor sparked a 12-2 spurt with consecutive 3-pointers. Most of that run came without Nelson, the freshman point guard who sat down with four fouls and missed almost nine minutes.
Massachusetts was able to get no closer than seven points the rest of the way and finished the half shooting 6-for-30 (20 percent). The Hawks' lead reached 15 in the final minute as they finished 27-of-53 (51 percent) from the field in the game.
St. Joseph's defense, especially inside, was greatly improved in the second half as Massachusetts missed 13 of its first 16 field goal attempts in the half.
The Minutemen went on a 16-2 run midway through the first half and led 45-26
with 3:06 left. St. Joseph's went almost seven minutes without a field goal and
trailed 49-33 at halftime.
Massachusetts outrebounded the Hawks 27-16 in the half and shot 50 percent (19-for-38) as it rolled up its highest point total in a first half this season. St. Joseph's was just 10-for-28 (36 percent) from the field.
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