SALT LAKE CITY — SALT LAKE CITY -- St. Joseph's needed long distance to find the way to San Jose last night.
Living beyond the arc, the Hawks launched a staggering 43 three-pointers against Boston College -- an NCAA tournament record -- and hit enough of them to survive the second round of the West Regional.
An 81-77 overtime victory earned St. Joe's (26-6) a berth in the Sweet 16 on Thursday in San Jose, Calif., against defending national champion Kentucky.
"What you saw is what we are," said St. Joe's coach Phil Martelli. "Down by 12, looking like we didn't have much of an idea against the zone. And then Terrell [Myers] steps up and makes a couple of threes, Arthur [Davis] makes a three and Rashid [Bey] makes a three."
It is an article of faith that the Hawks will live -- or die -- on the perimeter. And their biggest deficit last night wasn't 12 points, but 13 (50-37) with 13: 49 left in the second half.
Then Myers hit a three-pointer and Bey followed with two more, and then Davis hit one, and, with a few free throws tossed in, it was a four-point game just like that.
"Our philosophy has been that the next shot is the most important one," said Bey, who was 4-for-14 from three-point range. "You might miss the first one, but have confidence to step up the next time and make the next one.
"I think we're going to have to start getting the ball down low in the next game because I can't take it, personally."
It's a philosophy that has carried St. Joe's to a 26-6 record, 10 straight wins and a revived national profile.
No one had a bigger profile in overtime, though, than Bey, who scored 10 of St. Joe's 12 points, including a critical three, to finish with 23 points.
After squandering a six-point lead in the final 55 seconds of regulation, the Hawks took a 72-69 lead in overtime on a Davis free throw and a rare two-point basket by Bey.
The Hawks missed shots on the next three possessions and BC (22-9) was able to get only a driving layup by Scoonie Penn.
At 72-71, Bey hit his fourth and final three to give St. Joe's a four-point lead with 52.5 seconds left. In the ensuing free-throw parade, the Hawks hit six of eight to preserve the lead.
BC had forced overtime on two pressure free throws by Penn with 5.7 seconds left.
Down by four in the final two seconds of overtime, Antonio Granger heaved a 35-foot attempt -- and was hit by St. Joe's Russian import, Dmitri Domani. The shot missed and no foul was called, much to the relief of Martelli.
"I was wondering what the rates were to send him back to Moscow," Martelli said, perhaps only half in jest.
The Hawks' three-point figures were numbing for BC coach Jim O'Brien. They hit 14 of 43 threes. That was 23 more three-pointers attempted than twos (and one more than Long Island shot in its first-round loss to Villanova, eclipsing Loyola Marymount's record from 1989).
"It was a bizarre game," O'Brien said. "This may be the single most bizarre stat sheet I've ever seen. It came down to the quantity of threes they were willing to take, and the fact we had opportunities to get something done and made mistakes."
The Eagles seemingly had the game under control when a 31-9 run opened that 13-point lead. But a stretch of nine possessions produced six turnovers.
Kentucky 75, Iowa 69
A zone defense Rick Pitino borrowed from Illinois helped the Wildcats defeat Iowa and advance to the Sweet 16.
Pitino adopted a 3-2 zone used by the Illini against Iowa earlier in the season, and he said it played a major role.
"We had to make changes in one day's preparation," the Kentucky coach said. "If we had to play man-to-man [the whole game], we'd have been in serious trouble. They'd have beaten us."
Tied 35-35 at halftime, the Wildcats (32-4) took the lead soon after on a three-point shot by Ron Mercer.
Iowa got within three points in the closing minutes, but Kentucky answered each time. Three running one-handers by Wayne Turner and a three-pointer by Scott Padgett preserved the lead.
"I didn't think I could arrive at the day where I was as proud of a team as I was of the 1987 Providence team," said Pitino, who took the Friars to the Final Four that year. "This team rivals that. Whatever happens to these guys, whether it's players going to the NBA, injuries or Ron getting in foul trouble, they come through."
Mercer picked up his third and fourth fouls midway through the second half yesterday and finished with 10 points. Jared Prickett, hitting seven of 11 shots, led the Wildcats with 15 points.
Iowa's Andre Woolridge closed his college career with a 29-point performance. Ryan Bowen added 14 and Guy Rucker 10 for the Hawkeyes (22-10).
Pub Date: 3/16/97