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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

A Minute with McCloskey

A+Minute+with+McCloskey

The missing piece for the Hawks

The St. Joe’s men’s basketball team has started the season with two wins and two losses. A record of 2-2 is significantly better than how many presumed the Hawks would start the season. Much has been learned from these first four games. Some thoughts have been confirmed, others disproven.

As I stated prior to the opening of the 2019-20 season, the Hawks will not be walked over this season. Frankly, with the 96-87 win over the University of Connecticut Huskies on Nov. 13, the Hawks could have started the season 4-0.

Through each of these four games, the Hawks showed their inexperience. This is not surprising. The Hawks are a young team. We knew this going into the season.

What we have learned are this team has two glaring holes which can both be rectified prior to the start of Atlantic 10 conference play on Jan. 2.: an inability to finish halves and the omittance of a true big man and defensive anchor.

In the Nov. 10 game versus Old Dominion University, the Hawks led 38-34 at the end of the first half. They played an incredible half. Moving the ball, hitting shots and playing lockdown defense. The Hawks final lead of the game came when the score was 41-40. Three minutes into the second half.

A team that dominated the first half of basketball could barely keep up in the second. Why?

It seems the strategy of coach Billy Lange this season is for the Hawks to run up the score as high as possible to stretch the lead out before they get too tired halfway through the second half. In one regard, this strategy is plausible: if we can score 100 points per game, we have a great chance to go undefeated.

The downside is when the Hawks have a less than stellar shooting night. The Hawks shot 7-for-31 (22%) from 2-point range against the Monarchs. A similar fate was suffered against the Loyola University Chicago Wolves. The Hawks fell apart in the second half once again. With a 54-52 lead with 15:35 left in the game, the Hawks gave up an 8-0 run followed later by another 8-0 run. Scoring droughts will destroy the Hawks this season.

The problem? The Hawks are exhausted by the second half. The starters are either playing 25-plus minutes each game or getting into foul trouble and needing to sit for extended periods of time, like junior forward Lorenzo Edwards has been forced to do so against the Monarchs, Huskies and Wolves.

The Hawks need a true big man that can be the anchor on the defensive end, providing players like Edwards and redshirt junior guard Ryan Daly the ability to take a moment to breathe on defense rather than continuously covering the wings and the lane.

Six foot 10 inch junior forward Anthony Longpré has been ruled out for the first four games of the season due to illness. For the past two seasons, Longpré was unable to be the defensive anchor that the Hawks needed. He has the opportunity to redeem himself this season upon his return.

Longpré has not seen any game action yet this year due to illness. PHOTO: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22/ THE HAWK

Longpré tends to enjoy shooting 3-pointers and playing on the arch more often than in the box. Similarly, on defense, he has been easily pulled out of the lane. That cannot happen this season.

Lange must develop Longpré into the true big man the Hawks need this season. Once the Hawks enter A-10 play, the lane will be busy with big men from Saint Louis University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst this season and they will dominate the Hawks if Longpré cannot step up.

The ball is now in Lange’s court to develop players into the mold needed to fit the team just as he was able to do with the Philadelphia 76ers. The opportunity to show why we hired you is on you now, coach Lange. Develop this team to win.

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    Matt WilsonNov 20, 2019 at 12:20 am

    I think it’s Loyola University Chicago Ramblers…..

    Reply