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MARCH MADNESS / NCAA TOURNAMENT

O'Connor's 37-Point Performance Gets a Genuine Rise Out of Fans

March 18, 2001|ROBYN NORWOOD

SAN DIEGO — When Marvin O'Connor fouled out with 12 seconds left in St. Joseph's 90-83 loss to Stanford, the crowd at Cox Arena rose almost as one, Stanford fans included.

"You know, that gave me goose bumps, and I'm not even him," teammate Damian Reed said.

O'Connor's 37-point performance was the best of the NCAA tournament so far, and the most points scored against Stanford since Arizona's Damon Stoudamire scored 45 in 1995.

He made 15 of 20 shots, five of 10 from three-point range, many with Casey Jacobsen all over him.

"I heard it," O'Connor, deeply disappointed after the loss, said of the ovation. "They were giving me credit for playing a hard game. That's all I tried to do."

Noted for scoring 18 points in one minute against La Salle earlier this season, O'Connor was even better Saturday.

"Compared to La Salle, he did what he did in one minute. Tonight, he stretched it out the whole duration of the game," Reid said.

O'Connor, a 6-foot-4 guard, is proof positive how good some players are who are rarely seen on television because they play outside the major conferences.

A Philadelphia native, O'Connor played at Simon Gratz High and transferred to St. Joseph's after one season at Villanova. His performance was his sixth 30-point game of the season.

Jacobsen called O'Connor's performance "amazing," but admitted he had never heard of him before the tournament.

"We go out every night and we give our all like everybody else in America, and [don't] get the kind of exposure or notoriety that everyone else gets," O'Connor said. "I mean, there are over 300 teams in Division I basketball, and you don't even hear of half of them.

"I just think that everybody should get that chance, and I just appreciate the applause I got when I came out."

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