St. Joe's Takes Xavier, 61-53, in A-10 Semis

Saint Joseph's used a 15-0 run over 7 1/2 minutes starting at the end of the first half for a 61-53 upset of nationally ranked (10/12), and number one seed Xavier in an Atlantic 10 Conference Men's Basketball Championship semifinal Friday night at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall.

Box Score

Saint Joseph's defense took Xavier out of its comfort zone. XU shot 32.0 percent in the opening half and didn't hit a three pointer until 8:56 of the second when Josh Duncan canned the trey. XU was 1-14 beyond the arc, 7.1 percent, for a team that averaged just under 40% (39.9) this season. Xavier also had three shot-clock violations in the opening 20 minutes.

Pat Calathes scored 15 of his game-best 24 points in a nine-minute span, including four 3-point shots and a traditional three-point play. He also had eight rebounds and two blocks.

Ahmad Nivins added 15 and Rob Ferguson scored 11 points. Tasheed Carr was credited with five assists.

Saint Joseph's (21-11) scored the first points of the game and stayed in front throughout the first half except when Xavier (27-6) tied the score, first 2-2, and then 20-20, on a Stanley Burrell layup about five minutes before the halftime break.

Ferguson hit a pair of baskets and Pat Calathes had two three-point plays, one from beyond the arc with 2 seconds on the clock, as SJU took a 30-20 lead to the locker.

During those handful of minutes, Xavier was 0-for-4, three were attempts from 3-point land, and committed a pair of turnovers.

St. Joe's hit the first five points of the second for a 35-20 lead, the largest of the game.

Xavier made the scoreboard on Duncan's free throws at 17:05. Drew Lavender fed C.J. Anderson to make the score 35-24, the clock reading 16:19.

Xavier had been scoreless for 6:58 minutes. It took 7:44 minutes for their next basket

The Musketeers got within nine at 48-39 on Duncan's trey at 8:51.

Xavier got back to a 9-point defict on Duncan's layup resulting from Derrick Brown's offensive rebound of Burrell's missed shot. Lavender's free throws brought the score to 56-51, with 59 second left.

Calathes made three of four free throws and Love hit two from the line in the final minute to seal the win.

Xavier, which came into the game with six players averaging between 11.7 and 10.0 ppg. had a trio in double figures: Duncan 11; Burrell and Love 10 points each.

Love had a game-best nine rebounds; Brown pulled down eight boards. Burrell had five assists and three steals.

XU used a full court trap press in the final minutes. The Hawks beat it on passes to Calathes at half court and timeouts in the back court, which in effect extended the shot clock. (The 10-second backcourt requirement starts over on the inbounds play.)

The fifth-seeded Hawks beat #12 Fordham in the first round of the tournament and then took #4 Richmond in last night's quarterfinals.

Saint Joe's will play the winner of Friday evening's final semifinal between #2 Temple and #6 Charlotte. Saturday's championship game tips at 6:00 p.m. and will be nationally televised by ESPN.

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