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Men’s basketball soaring high

Timothy Morgan ‘12, Hawk Staff
February 15, 2012
Filed under Sports

Phil Martelli knew that his team was in for a tough night going up against the tough Saint Louis defense, which turned out to be as good as advertised on Wednesday night.

Saint Louis’ defense did not waste any time creating a hole for Saint Joseph’s. The Billikens raced out to an early 12-0 lead. St. Joe’s appeared lost trying to execute its half-court in the opening minutes.

“The start of the game kind of came back and bite us,” said Martelli after his team’s 72-60 loss to St. Louis.

St. Louis controlled most of the first half, but the Hawks did make a run. Ronald Roberts, ’14, and Langston Galloway, ’14 ,both scored eight half points and helped the Hawks cut the halftime deficit to two, 29-27. The beginning of the second half saw each team trading buckets. With ten minutes left, the Hawks trailed 41-40, but St. Louis went on to a 11-0 run seizing control of the game.

“There were four occasions when the game was tied and they score on the next possession,” said Martelli.

The Hawks were slowed down by St. Louis’ defense and when they did score, Cody Ellis answered every time with a three. Ellis shot 6-10 from the field, including 6-9 from behind the arc for 20 points.

“I think there was a little too much space,” Martelli said. “Our scouting report said to make (Ellis) bounce the ball, he didn’t have too many dribbles tonight.”

The Hawks tried to creep back, but never really came close enough, losing 72-60.

After St. Joe’s fell to St. Louis on Wednesday, Phil Martelli had some questions about his team.

They were answered on Saturday against UMass.

“We had a hurt and a bother about leaving that game Wednesday, we didn’t empty our tank,” said Martelli after his team’s 73-62 win over UMass. “Tonight, we emptied our tank.”

Neither team was that crisp in the first half. Each team turned the ball over too many times and could not hit a shot when they held on to the ball. St. Joe’s shot 12-32 (37 percenr) from the field, while UMass shot 12-35 (34 percent). The second half saw the quality and pace of play pick up. St. Joe’s used a team effort and balanced scoring to take control of the game and hold on for the win.

Roberts had a few big buckets down the stretch to seal the victory for the Hawks.

“There were a couple of big buckets that Ron got because Halil [Kanacevic] delivered the ball to him in a very comfortable fashion,” Martelli said. “I thought every player gave us something.”

St. Joe’s had four players in double figures, led by 17 points from Carl Jones, ’13, and Galloway’s 15. Jones scored 13 of his 17 points in the first half, and his teammates picked him up in the second half. Roberts had 14 points and C.J. Aiken, ’14, added 13 points. Like Martelli said, every player had a contribution. Chris Wilson, ’15, made a big play finding Galloway in the corner for a three to bring St. Joe’s up 14 with around 6 minutes left. Halil Kanacevic,’14, only had six points, but had 15 rebounds and controlled the glass all night.

“It was a great team effort,” Martelli said.

The Hawks played great defense all night and held a high-scoring team to only 62 points on 33 percent shooting.

“I thought we had a terrific defensive performance,” said Martelli. “The defensive game plan goes all to (assistant coach) Dave Duda. We had a little wrinkle on how we guarded their ball screen.”

Martelli commended Jones, especially on his defensive effort.

“Tay [Jones] did a terrific job on [Chaz] Williams,” said Martelli. “Everyone guarded Williams. We did a really good job of not giving him cracks, especially in transition.

“Tay had a very mature game, but it started Thursday in practice.”

This was a very big win for the Hawks, bouncing back from that tough loss to St. Louis. Martelli was not happy with his team’s effort on Wednesday and it was clear he made sure that his team was more energized for an equally big game. UMass is ahead of St. Joe’s in the A-10 standings, which adds even more importance to this win. This was a great team effort and every player did one or two little things right to help them win.

Roberts had a quiet 14-point night. He had big buckets at the end of the game and then you look up and he has 14 points and 8 rebounds, including some very big free throws.  Kanacevic was a monster on the glass and really helped St. Joe’s control this game.

The Hawks go on the road this week to take on Rhode Island Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. and George Washington on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 4 p.m.


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