Garrett Miley @GWMiley
Saint Joseph’s will have a chance to redeem itself after last year’s tough loss to American University, and they’ll be doing so with senior star guard Carl “Tay” Jones back in the starting lineup Wednesday evening at home in Hagan Arena.
Last season, the Hawks were unable to overcome a 10-point first half deficit and the American Eagles held on to beat SJU 65-60. The game was dominated by American forward Charles Hinkle, who scored a career high 32 points on 10-of-16 shooting, while also grabbing eight rebounds.
Shooting woes plagued the Hawks in their matchup with American last season as they were only able to convert 3-of-17 3-point field goals. Langston Galloway shot just 2-of-11 from the field and scored a season-low five points in the loss. Despite the loss, Saint Joseph’s had the upper hand down low as they out-rebounded American 35-33 and recorded nine blocks (six courtesy of C.J. Aiken).
This season, however, things are different. Hinkle has since graduated and American is just 2-3 overall this season, coming off of a one-point loss to Florida Atlantic. American’s leading scorer through their first five games is senior forward Stephen Lumpkins, who has re-joined the team after being drafted by the Kansas City Royals and giving professional baseball a shot. Lumpkins, a six-foot-eight, 225-pound forward, is averaging 15.8 points per game and 7.2 rebounds per game thus far for the Eagles.
Ronald Roberts Jr., also 6-8 and in the same weight class as Lumpkins, will likely be part of a group tasked with matching up with the Eagles’ leading scorer on Tuesday.
“I’ll match up with any forward,” Roberts said. “I’ll be starting off on the small forward but as the game goes on I can see myself on him.”
American senior guard Daniel Munoz led the Patriot League in assists last season at 4.2 per game and is currently averaging 9.0 points per game and 3.2 assists per game this season for the Eagles. Munoz had a very respectable 2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio last season for American. However, early on in the 2012-2013 season, Munoz has nearly doubled his turnovers per game and is average 5.0 turnovers every contest this season, something that the Hawks will look to capitalize on.
“We are going to try to front the post and swarm the person throwing the ball [into the post],” said Jones. “We want to take them out of their comfort zone and maybe get a few steals out of it.”
Langston Galloway has been struggling shooting the ball over the last two games, as he has hit just six of his last 24 shots for the Hawks. Galloway is just three points away from his 1,000th career point in a Saint Joseph’s uniform, but his teammates say it’s not something that is on his mind.
“He doesn’t even want to talk about it,” Jones said of Galloway. “I try to bring it up and he just brushes it off.”
“No, we haven’t been talking about it at all but I saw it somewhere online, or on Twitter,” Roberts said. “He’s a humble guy but he’ll be happy when he gets it.”
The biggest key for the Hawks will be whether or not they can make their shots. It seems to be that simple for Saint Joseph’s. In their only loss of the season to Florida State the Hawks shot just 4-of-21 from behind the arc, something that could change this week with Jones back in the starting lineup and returning a sense of normalcy to the team’s starting five.
Saint Joseph’s will tip-off against American at 7 p.m. in Hagan Arena on Tuesday.