PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/18/2014 – The Saint Joseph’s Hawks men’s basketball team are marching in winning eight of their last nine games defeating the University of Pennsylvania Quakers 85 – 68. The game was the evening session of a big day at The Palestra. ESPN Game Day was here earlier prior to the La Salle vs. Temple game. There was a buzz in the building. There was excitement in the stands. It seemed to work well for the Hawks.
it’s this building on a Saturday night,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Phil Martelli about what made this night special. “You play in this building and have that kind of turnout. It’s a special building and players want to play in that atmosphere. We used the theatrics of the day in a different way. I mentioned that it was like an NCAA Tournament weekend. Your are sitting waiting for your turn. We were able to feed off each other with the ball going into the basket off of 16 assists. The players deserve the credit.”
The Hawks broke out to a 34-point halftime lead. Saint Joe’s shot 66.7% in the first half making 20 of 30 field goal attempts. They were especially hot from beyond the arc making 13 of 15 in the opening twenty minutes. Senior guard Langston Galloway made 4 of 4 from deep. He finished the game with 20 points. Senior forward Halil Kanacevic pulled down 13 of his career-high tying 15 rebounds in the first half. The Hawks put separation between themselves with a 25 – 8 run to get an 18 point lead, then followed that with a 21 – 5 run to go to the locker room leading 57 – 23. Penn made 9 of 31 (29%) in the first half.
“The start for us is always important, it loosens me up,” Martelli said. “The start is indicative of how these guys are preparing to play and I don’t want to change it.”
The Hawks had three other players score in double figures as freshman forward DeAndre Bembry and junior guard Chris Wilson scored 13 points each. Wilson handed out 5 assists. Senior forward Ronald Roberts, Jr. scored 10 points. Kanacevic missed a triple-double. He tied his career best with 12 assists in addition to his rebounds, and got 9 points. For the game Saint Joe’s made 16 of 24 three-point shots (66.7%), and were credited with 24 assists on 31 made baskets.
“They got out in transition and ran harder than us,” Penn Coach Jerome Allen about the Penn defense against the Saint Joe’s offense. “They ran to open spots, we jogged back thinking guys weren’t open. Our communication wasn’t great. It was just executing and they made us pay for it.”
Sophomore guard Tony Hicks led Penn with 15 points. Senior guard Steve Rennard and freshman forward Dylan Jones scored 13 and 10 points each. Penn out-scored Saint Joseph’s 45 – 28 in the second half.
Saint Joe’s improves to 12 – 5 and are 1 – 2 in Big Five play. The Hawks prepare for a home contest against Rhode Island on January 22. Penn stands at 3 – 11 and went 0 – 4 in the city series. The Red and Blue have seven days off before meeting NJIT at home.
Written By: Glenn Papazian