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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 '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

“We’ll keep going”

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Men’s basketball falls to La Salle in Big 5 contest

On Feb. 18, the Saint Joseph’s University Hawks men’s basketball team traveled to the Olney section of Philadelphia to face Big 5 and Atlantic 10 rivals: the La Salle University Explorers. The two teams had met earlier this season, but this is the game that count ed toward the Big 5 standings. It was also the last Big 5 game of the season for St. Joe’s.

Both teams were in need of a win. La Salle was one win from a three-way tie in the A-10 and the Hawks had lost five straight games and were looking to add another win in the victory column.

“We’ve got to walk in here like big boys and we’ve got to leave here like big boys,” said Head Coach Phil Martelli after the game. “It’s the cards that we have, we’ve got to play the hand.”

The game  began with La Salle possession and the Explorers scored the first points of the game. The Hawks answered, but La Salle was able to keep the lead and fight off the Hawks.

The Hawks kept the game within reach for part of the first half. They continued to answer La Salle offensively, but La Salle’s shooting could not be stopped. La Salle’s guards, senior Jordan Price and junior Amar Stukes, were making almost every shot they took. Their combined shooting helped give La Salle an 18-point lead at halftime with 44 and St. Joe’s with 26.

The Hawks started off the second half with the ball looking to break La Salle’s lead. St. Joe’s tried with their shooting, but were unsuccessful.

The Hawks used their substitutions to try various lineups. Seniors Brendan Casper and Javon Baumann both made an impact, but it was unfortunately not enough. They had a combined 10 points from the bench.

Not much that the Hawks tried strategically seemed to work. The lack of substantial shooting and defense allowed La Salle too many wide open shots and the Hawks were missing from all over the court.

The Hawks did start to gain momentum later in the second half. Freshman Charlie Brown had a couple of steals that led to layups, Baumann had a few blocks, and sophomore Chris Clover slammed down a big dunk. The Hawks were able to get within 11 points.

All that momentum soon disappeared as La Salle was able to get some quick points.

“They [La Salle] went to their advantages, which is scoring the ball,” Martelli said. “They leaned on it.”

La Salle won the game by a score of 83-68 making it the Hawks’  sixth straight loss.

One issue the Hawks dealt with throughout the game was their shooting. The Hawks finished with a 44.6 field goal percentage. They only made two shots beyond the 3-point arc throughout the entire game, both coming in the second half. Their foul shooting, however, was not as much of an issue. They were 16-22 from the foul line for 72.7 percent. Compared to percentages from games earlier in the season, that’s a successful rate.

“It’s just numbers,” Martelli said. “You can throw these numbers into a computer and they’re going to come out. If you say one team is going to make 12 3-pointers and the other two, then I would say the team with 12 wins. Basically it’s the story.”

The Hawks defense allowed 83 points and had some issues with communication. They left their opponents unguarded multiple times, which led to easy baskets. The Hawks also allowed La Salle to make twelve 3-point shots and finish with a 52.7 field goal percentage.

However, the Hawks did give La Salle trouble with the press late in the second half. The numerous injuries for the Hawks were definitely a factor in the result of the game, but there were definitely other aspects that came into play as well.

The Hawks were confident that they’d be able to compensate for the loss of stars DeAndre’ Bembry and Isaiah Miles among others this year.

“We worked hard during the offeseason, so I feel like we’re able to make up those losses,” junior James Demery said prior to the start of the season.

St. Joe’s, however, could never have seen the injury struggles they’ve experienced coming. Though even with all the issues within the game and the year, Martelli still has faith in his team.

“We’ll keep going,” he said. “We’re not collecting uniforms yet.”

The Hawks next game is at 7 p.m. on Feb. 22 against St. Bonaventure University at Hagan Arena.

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