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Updated: Wednesday, February 25, 2004 11:07 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(2) Saint Josephs 83, Massachusetts 58

AMHERST, Massachusetts (Ticker) -- Jameer Nelson and Delonte West each dominated a half. As usual, that translated to another victory for unbeaten Saint Joseph's.

With the best backcourt in the country combining for 42 points and 12 assists, the second-ranked Hawks rolled to an 83-58 victory over Massachusetts in an Atlantic 10 Conference mismatch.

Nelson scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half and West had 15 of his 23 in the second half for St. Joseph's (25-0, 14-0 A-10 East), which is one win away from tying the 1995-96 Massachusetts team for the best start by an Atlantic 10 school.

The Hawks have won their last six games by at least 14 points and 12 of their last 14 by double-digit margins. They will finish the regular season with a game at Rhode Island on Saturday and a home contest against St. Bonaventure next Tuesday before the start of the Atlantic 10 tournament in Dayton.

Top-ranked Stanford (23-0) is the nation's other unbeaten team. The Cardinal hosts Oregon State on Thursday night.

No team has entered the NCAA Tournament undefeated since Nevada-Las Vegas in 1991.

Massachusetts (9-16, 3-10) lost its fifth straight, but at least managed to stay competitive for a half. The last time the schools met on January 21, St. Joseph's scored the first 15 points, led by as many as 33 in the first half and posted a 92-67 victory.

The Minutemen actually scored the first two baskets of this game and held a 13-6 lead. But St. Joseph's scored the next 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers by Tyrone Barley, to take control. Nelson hit a pair of free throws and a layup to cap the 12-0 run.

UMass stayed close at 37-31, but Nelson made a jumper and West hit a basket at the buzzer to give the Hawks a 10-point halftime advantage.

St. Joseph's then opened the second half with a 22-8 run as West scored seven points and Pat Carroll had a pair of 3-pointers, opening a 63-39 lead with 13:42 left.

Carroll finished with 14 points and Barley added 12, hitting all four of his 3-point attempts. Meanwhile, UMass was 4-of-19 from behind the arc and shot 38 percent for the game.

Rashaun Freeman led the Minutemen with 21 points, but the starting backcourt of Anthony Anderson and Art Bowers combined to make just 5-of-20 shots.


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