It’s a long season and there is still plenty of basketball left so St. Joseph’s hopes that the team didn’t peak in December.
Since a 74-58 win at Hagan Arena over Villanova on Dec. 17, the Hawks haven’t been the same team.
This point was brought home following Saturday’s 84-80 loss to Penn before a revved up Palestra crowd.
St. Joseph’s brought a sizable fan base, but there wasn’t much to cheer for until the Hawks woke up in the second half after twice facing 23-point deficits.
So afterwards, coach Phil Martelli admitted that this is a rough stretch, one that has seen the Hawks lose five of the last seven.
And then came the big question – what do the Hawks need to do in order to get that momentum back.
“I have no idea to be honest with you,” Martelli said.
That doesn’t mean he and the team aren’t searching for solutions. In fact when a team is slumping, it’s often because the players and yes, coaches, are trying too hard.
For the most part, sophomore guard Langston Galloway has been the most consistent player. He scored a career high 32 points against Penn, but even he has been up and down lately.
Here are his last five games – 6 points in a loss to Charlotte, 30 in a win over Fordham, 8 in a loss to Massachusetts, 14 (5 for 14 shooting) in a loss to Xavier, followed by 32 in the defeat to Penn.
And he’s been the most consistent player.
So it’s too simplistic to say that the Hawks have to be more consistent, but really, what else is there to say?
“We all have to soul search,” Martelli said.
One theory is that the Hawks were so explosive on the fast break earlier in the season and teams are now not allowing so many transition points. So the Hawks have to find a comfort zone in working in their half-court offense.
And it won’t get any easier for the Hawks, who have to host first place Dayton in Wednesday’s Atlantic-10 matchup.
“We play a team that is in first place in the Atlantic-10, leads in rebounding margin and offensive rebounding,” Martelli said.
In other words, the Hawks have little choice but to bounce back quickly.
Martelli talks about games that are played on Wednesday, are won on Monday in practice.
So the Hawks will look to improve.
Their slump isn’t from a lack of effort, but more a lack of execution.
Right now the Hawks have suffered a jolt to their confidence and the only thing that will restore it is to be able to close out a quality opponent, something they will get a chance to do Wednesday against Dayton.