Andrew Koob (@AndrewKoob)
As St. Joseph opened up Hagan Arena Monday night for the 2012-2013 season, the Hawks were dealing with high expectations, both in the Atlantic 10 and in the City 6.
A matchup against the Yale Bulldogs in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic showed that the Hawks still have plenty of work to do if they want to meet this year’s goals.
The Hawks pulled out a 61-35 win in a game where they let Yale hang around throughout the first half and into the first seven minutes of the second half.
When the offense struggled out of the gate, the Hawks turned to their defense, which held the Bulldogs offense to 25 percent shooting (13-of-52) from the field.
“We practiced better than we played, but not defensively,” Hawks coach Phil Martelli said. “That was really enjoyable to watch from a coach’s view. I’m sure fans would like to see guys banging the ball and all the dunks and other stuff, but that was really terrific team defense.”
“We struggled a little bit tonight,” Hawks guard Langston Galloway added. “But we still went out there and executed, we played really good defense and shut their main scorer down [Yale’s Austin Morgan], so it was definitely important.”
St. Joseph’s (1-0) started to pull away with 13:05 left in the second half by using a 17-0 run over a nine-and-a-half minute span. Before the run by the Hawks, the score was 36-24 with Yale (0-1) matching every bucket St. Joe’s could put through the hoop. Galloway (game-high 20 points) and forward Ronald Roberts led the charge during the run, with Galloway scoring six points and Roberts contributing five points.
“We just started to go,” Galloway said. “We definitely let off on defense, we started to get a couple steals, a couple run outs and that really built up the score.”
Galloway led the way for the Hawks with those 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting. The Hawks’ team captain also contributed two assists and assists rebounds, while forward Halil Kanacevic chipped in 11 points off 5-of-9 shooting while grabbing 11 rebounds.
Both St. Joe’s and Yale struggled to get anything going in the first half, with both teams turning the ball over and going on cold stretches that neither team seemed to be able to capitalize on. The Hawks turned the ball over seven times while shooting 36 percent (9-of-25) from the field and 36.4 percent (4-of-11) from the free throw line.
“We were on our way to a 33 point half and then went…we didn’t go cold, we went stale, and it was a couple of things,” Martelli said. “I practice this team too hard because I like them and I like being out there with them. We go too long, so I have to start to ease off a little bit with that and then we have to have these other guys find their way in the game.”
“I think you could tell that all of us were a little tight out there tonight, I know was a little over-anxious,” said sophomore guard Chris Wilson, who started in place of the suspended Carl Jones. “Not to use any excuses for not hitting a free throw, but I think everyone was just anxious. In the second half, we calmed down a little bit, but getting that first one out of the way, we should be a lot more comfortable going forward.”
One of the question marks coming into the season was the play of Roberts. Last year’s Atlantic-10 Sixth Man of the Year has been known for his athletic ability, but it was tough to know what he could do in a starter’s role. Roberts didn’t silence many critics with a poor performance in the first half from the field, but did have a good night crashing the boards. The forward shot 14.2 percent (1-of-7) for 3 points while grabbing 4 rebounds in the first half and finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds while shooting 3 of 12 from the field.
Martelli kept the bench short for the home opener, giving only forwards Papa Ndao and Daryus Quarles meaningful minutes, playing 32 combined minutes while only putting 5 points and 4 rebounds on the stat sheet. St. Joseph’s was without their only senior starter in Jones, who was serving the second of a 3-game suspension due to a violation of the university’s community standards.
In addition to suspension of Jones, Hawks sophomore guard Evan Maschmeyer, who appeared in 19 games last season, is still out with a hand fracture, meaning Saint Joseph’s had just two guards–Galloway and Wilson–who saw any significant playing time. Martelli said that Maschmeyer will miss 4-6 weeks.
Freshman forward Isaiah Miles got his first official action as a Hawk, checking in with just over four minutes remaining and making his first shot attempt, a 16-foot jumper from the right corner with just under three minutes to play and the Hawks up 25.
St. Joe’s plays Notre Dame at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York on Friday, November 16 at 9:30 PM. The game will be shown on TruTV.