November 27, 2020 –
The Saint Joseph’s Hawks intended to win two games at the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off. They did not, but showed competitive spirit in both games. The Hawks held a lead early in the second half against the 6th ranked Kansas Jayhawks. Then Kansas got to the basket in the latter 16 minutes and came away with a 94 – 72 win over Saint Joe’s. The Hawks did compete.
“We came here to win and I’m disappointed that we didn’t win,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Billy Lange. “The big picture is there is honor in losing if you compete at a level that provides hope. I think our guys are going to walk out of here with hope. There is honor in the way we competed today.”
As the game progressed Kansas began to get to the hoop by drives, then got out on transition to pull away. The Jayhawks had a third of their scoring off fast breaks holding a 35 – 11 edge in that category. KU finished shooting 50% from the floor (32 of 64). The numbers proved that was the difference, but behind a variety of reasons.
“Statistically for sure it is, but you have to go with what led to that,” Lange said. “It was a little bit of poor floor balance on shooting, we took long shots, a little bit fatigued. We crashed the boards, but didn’t get it. We weren’t getting back. I think our guys, their spirit started to break a little bit. You can’t do that for even a half a second.”
Rebounding was also a concern as the Jayhawks outboarded the Hawks by a 51 – 33 margin.
The last Saint Joe’s lead in the game was 49 – 48 at the 16:10 mark on a three-pointer by Dahmir Bishop who had 14 points in the game. He made 4 of 8 from beyond the arc. Games of this caliber should provide a confidence boost for Bishop and the team.
“We’re a young group that haven’t played a game in awhile,” said Bishop. “This is good for us, sharing experiences on the court. Us coming out here and playing these great teams, highly-ranked teams is going to be good for us in the long run.”
Jack Forrest was the leading scorer for Saint Joe’s netting 18 points. He made half of his 14 field goal attempts and went 4 of 8 from beyond the arc. Ryan Daly added 14 points and was the team leading rebounder with 7. SJU shot 35% from both the floor and from three-point land.
The Hawks had no answer for Jayhawks guard Christian Braun who had a career-high 30 points and took down 9 rebounds. Ochai Agbaji added 18 points, and Jalen Wilson scored 14 points and grabbed 9 boards.
Saint Joseph’s starts the season 0 – 2 with Villanova looming next on the schedule. Getting on the court is Lange’s biggest concern as all schedules in college basketball seem to be in flux.
“We’re trying to find games and grow at the same time,” said Lange.
Written By: Glenn Papazian