Defensive Play Lifts Saint Joseph’s Over UMass

PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/2/2019 – The Saint Joseph’s Hawks had to overcome a second half dry spell. The Hawks did with a run of their own to get the lead back. However, it took a steal with 5 seconds on the clock by forward Markell Lodge to lift Saint Joe’s to a 64 – 62 win over Massachusetts at the Hagan Arena. It was a matter of perseverance.

“I think we stayed with it, the zone was good to us, we had some nice hustle plays,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Phil Martelli. “A little bit of perseverance even though for a majority of the second half, we played with our heads down.”

The Hawks led by 62 – 59 with 20.7 ticks on the clock. The Minutemen got the ball after a Charlie Brown free throw. The expectation was for the ball to get inside to UMass forward Rashaan Holloway, who had a game-high 23 points. That is where the ball went, but Lodge was there to disrupt the play and got a steal with 5.7 seconds remaining. The Hawks closed it out with 2 free throws by Lorenzo Edwards.

“We knew the ball was going to come to him (Holloway), but we didn’t know when,” Lodge said. “They were going to him the whole game. If they fed it to him we were going for a quick steal.

“My mindset was make it difficult for him to get the ball.”

And when the ball was on the floor and Saint Joe’s got it Lodge felt relief.

“We thought they were going to pump it inside,” Martelli said. “One of the things we wanted was active hands, and on that play in particular Markell had active hands. His energetic play was a big deal.”

At halftime the Hawks led 36 – 30. Although UMass had the statistical advantage, but their turnovers, 10 – 2, were keeping the game pointed in Saint Joe’s direction.

That turned around in the second half. SJU was committing the miscues, and the ball stopped falling as they went 1 for 12 in a stretch of the second half. A 43 – 37 lead turned into a 48 – 43 deficit until Troy Holston ended the drought that lasted over six minutes.

Then, it was UMass that went cold for 3:51 allowing Saint Joe’s to move ahead 60 – 57 with 1:18 to play. The game finally was decided on the defensive play.

“We came back at St. Bonaventure, we came back at Dayton in that atmosphere and tied the game,” Martelli said about the team showing resilience. “We’ve done that, but the length of poor play, we had second half, turnovers, that’s poor play. We have to look at that 13 minute span in the second half and say ‘how is this happening?”

Brown led the Hawks with 20 points playing all 40 minutes. Jared Bynum also did not come out of the game and he scored 10. Forward Lorenzo Edwards scored a career-high 14 points giving his team another offensive option in the game.

“A lot of the pressure is on Jared and Charlie to make shots and I was happy to take some weight off their shoulders and play hard,” said Edwards.

Rahsaan Hollway also added 12 rebounds recording his second double-double of the season. Curtis Cobb added 13 points while Keon Clergeot added 11 scores.

Saint Joseph’s improves to 10 – 12 on the year and are 3 – 6 in the Atlantic 10. The Hawks travel to 20th and Olney on Tuesday for a conference match up with the La Salle Explorers. It is also a Big Five game. Both teams are 0 – 3, so they are looking for a city series victory.

“We gotta get one,” said Edwards.

Written By: Glenn Papazian


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