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MARCH MADNESS / NCAA TOURNAMENT

Georgia Tech Learns What Flap Over St. Joseph's Is All About

March 16, 2001|ROBYN NORWOOD

SAN DIEGO — The St. Joseph's Hawk did her job Thursday, flapping throughout St. Joseph's first-round victory over Georgia Tech.

The Hawks' first-half runaway turned into a tight 66-62 victory, but nevertheless set up a matchup between two of college basketball's quirkiest mascots when St. Joseph's plays top-seeded Stanford Saturday in the second round of the West Regional.

Hawk, meet the Tree.

"I know [Casey] Jacobsen and I've seen Stanford and I know that silly thing that runs around," St. Joseph's Coach Phil Martelli said. "He's a tree. How do you put that on your resume? And that's a smart guy, or girl, that got into Stanford."

St. Joseph's Hawk, for the first time, is female, a former team manager named Sarah Brennan. Her traditional duty: Flap without ceasing.

There was a little flap between the teams during warmups, when the Georgia Tech players encroached on St. Joseph's turf.

The team from Philadelphia took umbrage and took it out on Georgia Tech, using a 15-0 run to help take a 17-point halftime lead over the Yellow Jackets, who shot 37% and committed 17 turnovers.

St. Joseph's held Georgia Tech center Alvin Jones scoreless in the first half, and to eight points in the game.

Georgia Tech (17-13) came back in the second half and got as close as three in the final minutes, but never got over the hump.

"This team, we're not going to back down from anything," said Jameer Nelson, the Hawks' marvelous freshman point guard.

St. Joseph's guard Marvin O'Connor had more to say about how the team from the Atlantic Coast Conference seemed to perceive the Atlantic 10.

"Just to elaborate on that a little, I heard a lot of 'ACC,' " said O'Connor, who led all scorers with 21 points.

"We really took that personal going into the locker room. . . . St. Joe's--they probably don't even know where it's located."

Let us enlighten the Yellow Jackets: St. Joseph's (26-6) is in the second round.

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