Stanford survives St. Joseph's, 90-83

Cardinal overcomes O'Connor's 37 points to advance in West

March 18, 2001|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

SAN DIEGO -- For the second time this season, St. Joseph's guard Marvin O'Connor had his name on the lips of every person who watched a game he lost.

It happened first on March 3, when he scored 18 points in one minute during a loss to La Salle. The second time came last night, when his team lost to Stanford, 90-83, in the second round of the NCAA West Regional, but even the normally irreverent Stanford band participated in a standing ovation when O'Connor fouled out in the last minute.

"I just felt that the crowd was giving credit for the effort I put out," said O'Connor, who scored 29 of his 37 points in the second half. "At the time, I can't explain what I was thinking. It's hard that we go out every night like everyone in America without much notice."

The 11,091 at Cox Arena saw O'Connor's work amid the sight of a near double-double performance by his teammate, Jameer Nelson, his team's comeback from a double-digit deficit, and Stanford's answer to the St. Joseph's rally, and a great finish.

"I just knew the first question was going to be about O'Connor," said Casey Jacobsen, who finished with 21 points, but was also responsible for guarding O'Connor. "I worked my butt off ... and he still had 37. Now, I can laugh about it."

But just as O'Connor was impervious to the efforts of Jacobsen, Stanford (30-2) was just as sturdy against St. Joseph's (26-7), which shot 62 percent from the field in the second half and 57 percent for the game.

Until the team made 10 straight free throws in the final minute to move into this week's regional semifinals in Anaheim, Calif., the Cardinal had to contend not just with O'Connor, but also with Nelson. The freshman point guard collected 14 points, nine rebounds and nine assists while leading the Hawks on a 28-13 run that culminated in a 67-62 lead on a three-point play by Damian Reid with 8:25 to go.

"We took a pretty good shot from a very good St. Joseph's team," Stanford coach Mike Montgomery said. "I'm really pleased with the way the kids hung in there and made the plays at the end and took the win. That's what the NCAA tournament is all about."

Until last night, the tournament had been about disappointment for Stanford, which had squandered high seeds with second-round losses in each of the past two years.

Like its next opponent, Cincinnati, the Cardinal heard a lot about its early failures during the week, and the players were glad to have cleared that hurdle.

"The second round seemed to be heartbreaker for us; to know we're in the Sweet 16, that's a great feeling," said Jarron Collins, whose twin brother Jason led the Cardinal with 22 points, including 12 during a key stretch after the team's 10-point second-half lead had slipped away.

O'Connor's last stand came with his team down 80-76. He popped a jumper and drove to the hoop, the second of which tied the score at 80 with 1:34 remaining.

"We had to stand toe-to-toe and we did," said Hawks coach Phil Martelli, who described the crowd's reaction to O'Connor as "an acknowledgement of the five kids who ... put it out there. That was real, pure basketball."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.