Archive for Monday, November 26, 2001

St. Joe’s drops Colorado, 81-75

November 26, 2001


— St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli put it succinctly.

"I'm just glad they didn't play as good as their football team did on Friday," he said.

Two days after Colorado ran over Nebraska on the football field, Marvin O'Connor scored 29 points to lead No. 19 St. Joseph's past the Buffaloes 81-75 Sunday.

O'Connor made 5-of-8 3-point shots in the second half. Bill Phillips, who was 4-for-5 from behind the arc, added 18 points and seven rebounds for St. Joseph's (2-1).

The Hawks relied on O'Connor's shooting and aggressive man-to-man defense to deliver the first loss of the season to Colorado (3-1).

"I got some real good looks," O'Connor said. "My teammates were finding me. I made some big shots. That's a good thing, because we needed them. They wouldn't go away."

The Buffaloes were often out-of-sync on the offensive end, turning the ball over 15 times, but stayed with St. Joseph's for much of the second half.

Michel Morandais led Colorado with 16 points. Mookie Wright added 15.

O'Connor hit 10-of-19 from the field and 5-of-11 on 3-pointers.

"We used to just make up plays for him when he got off like that. Now, we actually run plays for him," Martelli said. "When he goes, he goes."

Colorado was outscored 30-12 from behind the 3-point line, as St. Joseph's hit 43.5 percent of its long-range shots.

"The big difference in the game was the 3-point shooting," Colorado coach Ricardo Patton said. "I think everything else was pretty even. We were even with them on the boards and at the free-throw line."

"I thought it would be a physical game," said Martelli, who received quality minutes from reserves Alexandre Sazonov and John Bryant. "I was concerned about our big guys being foul prone, and they were. But the bench came through."

St. Joseph's maintained a double-digit lead for the first seven minutes of the second half, but the Buffaloes countered with an 11-3 run to close to 62-57 with 8:53 to go. O'Connor's fourth 3-pointer of the half and another by Phillips put St. Joseph's back in control.

"That's why Marvin O'Connor is a big-time player. He makes those shots, especially when they needed them," Patton said.

The Hawks opened the game by missing 11 of their first 14 shots. They then hit 16 of their next 23. St. Joseph's scored 11 straight points, keyed by three straight steals, to take a 19-12 lead with 11:07 to play in the first half. Colorado cut the lead to three with 3:19 to go, but the Hawks used an 11-4 run over the final moments to take a 42-32 lead into halftime.

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