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November 29, 2007

No. 19 Gonzaga survives in overtime

PHILADELPHIA — Gonzaga needed overtime to deny Saint Joseph's its biggest win in four years.

Matt Bouldin scored 16 points, including the go-ahead free throws in overtime, to help No. 19 Gonzaga hold off Saint Joseph's 70-65 on Thursday night.

Austin Daye scored 17 points and David Pendergraft had 13 for the Bulldogs (6-1), who needed a late rally in regulation for the thrilling win and to take the overall series lead in the battle of the small Jesuit universities.

Pat Calathes led the Hawks (3-2) with 24 points and Ahmad Nivins scored 14. The Hawks battled back from a 17-point deficit in the first half to take the lead late in the second.

Even with a frenzied sellout crowd rallying on the Hawks, they failed to hold on down the stretch in regulation. It came back to cost them in overtime.

Nivins missed two free throws with 1:32 left in overtime and the game tied at 61.

Bouldin made both of his attempts from the line on the next possession and Daye pumped his fist when his jumper gave the Bulldogs a four-point lead. Micah Downs made two free throws with 20 seconds left that sealed the win.

With Gonzaga clinging to a two-point lead and only 30 seconds left in regulation, Jeremy Pargo was whistled for an offensive foul. Tasheed Carr, a 55 percent free-throw shooter, made two from the line that tied the game at 59-all with 10.3 seconds to go.

The Bulldogs missed two shots to send the game into OT.

The Hawks got there by blowing a six-point lead with 3 1/2 minutes left in regulation and that cost them their first win over a Top 25 team since March 2004.

Calathes screamed in celebration after he was fouled on a thunderous baseline jam in front of a crazed student section. He made the free throw for a 53-47 lead with 5:07 left.

A timeout was a perfect spot for the SJU faithful to break out their "The Hawk Will Never Die!" chant. The front row of the student section also unfurled a banner of their famed slogan.

The celebration was a bit premature.

The cross country series has become one of the more competitive rivalries for both programs. The series was knotted at two wins each and none of the first four games (all played since 2001) had been decided by more than eight points.

The Bulldogs, who played a near-flawless first 10 minutes of the game, looked lost most of the rest of the way. They played loose with the ball throughout the second half and slumped in a 1-for-15 stretch from the field that saw the Hawks rally and take the lead.

The Hawks went ahead for the first time when Rob Ferguson's 3-pointer made it 43-42 and sent the sellout crowd into a frenzy.

The Bulldogs turned the ball over on two straight possessions and Calathes converted the second into a layup for a 45-42 lead. Calathes would make two free throws to give him 19 points and put the Hawks up five.

The 3,200-seat Alumni Fieldhouse was sold out as usual and absolutely rocking in the biggest game to hit Hawk Hill since Jameer Nelson and Delonte West formed the backcourt for the top-ranked Hawks four seasons ago. Students snaked around the gym more than two hours before tip to snare the best bleacher seat in the house and the tight game gave this one a late-season atmosphere.

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