Thursday, February 11, 2016

Dayton Win Was A Season-Saver For Hawks

It’s not too dramatic to suggest that St. Joseph’s saved its basketball season with Wednesday’s 77-63 win over Dayton at Hagan Arena.

Dayton Win Was A Season-Saver For Hawks


It’s not too dramatic to suggest that St. Joseph’s saved its basketball season with Wednesday’s 77-63 win over Dayton at Hagan Arena.

The Hawks had been reeling, having lost three in a row and five of seven and they had to take on a team that entered the evening as the first place team in the Atlantic-10.

Sophomore Ronald Roberts was sensational with a career-high 27 points. He scored the final 15 for the Hawks.

Yet what truly ignited the 50-31 second half advantage and gave the Hawks that needed spring in their step was the defensive play of C.J Aiken.

More coverage
Get the latest local sports news with the Philly Sports Now app
Latest college football rankings
Latest college sports videos
SHOP: Collegiate Sportswear & Merchandise

It’s not just that the nation’s second leading shot blocker added five more to his total, but the rejections, including two during an 11-0 run that gave the Hawks the lead for good, ignited the offense.

It got the Hawks running.

“We have to play quicker,” St. Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli said the day after the win.

Martelli wasn’t in much of a celebratory mood and for good reason. The Hawks (13-8 overall, 3-3 A-10) have to visit a Temple team on Saturday that is up to business as usual which means getting sharp for a likely NCAA bid. 

The Owls (14-5, 3-2) are coming off Wednesday’s 79-57 win at Charlotte. That’s the same Charlotte team that went into Hagan Arena and beat St. Joseph’s, 57-52 on Jan. 7.

“The wins they have are so impressive that you are talking about a postseason team that is going to be difficult to beat,” Martelli said of the Owls.

The Owls are 2-0 against the ACC with wins over Duke and Maryland.

Martelli says that Temple’s 72-67 win at St. Louis is highly underrated.

“A very tough place to play,” Martelli said.

Of course Temple also lost at home to the same Dayton team that St. Joseph’s beat, so knocking off the Owls is a possible.

Had St. Joseph’s not stopped its skid on Wednesday, winning on Saturday would have been even more of a monumental challenge.

“It would have been really difficult,” Martelli said.

Not impossible, but few would have liked the Hawks chances.

Now the Hawks enter the game with much more confidence instead of a four-game losing streak. It’s a big difference.

Instead of picking up his team emotionally, Martelli can focus on the matter at hand, attempting to stop the likes of Ramone Moore (17.2 ppg.), Khalif Wyatt (16.3 ppg.) and point guard Juan Fernandez (11.5 ppg. 4.3 assists per game).

“I think Temple plays what I consider an appealing style of basketball,” Martelli said. “They are well aware of their strength and their strength is in their balance.”

For the Hawks to win, they have to have the same type of effort from their frontcourt as they did against Dayton.

Roberts, who is the sixth man, along with Halil Kanacevic and Aiken, combined for 54 points, including 40 after intermission.

Despite that impressive final 20 minutes, the Hawks are clearly the underdogs against Temple and they have to show they can win in a tough road environment, even though the travel won’t be more than a short bus ride. 

St. Joseph’s is 2-6 on the road.

Yet had the Hawks not won at home on Wednesday, navigating their way on the road at Temple, would have seemed insurmountable.

That’s because Temple isn’t the type of team an opponent looks to pick itself up emotionally against.

Winning with confidence against Temple is hard enough, but it sure beats the alternative, which the Hawks would have faced had they not defeated Dayton on Wednesday.

We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog
Marc Narducci has performed a variety of jobs at The Inquirer since beginning with the paper in 1983. A long-time high school sports reporter in South Jersey, Narducci has also served as a beat writer for the 76ers, a backup Eagles and Sixers writer and has covered all the professional and colleges in the Philadelphia area. Among his duties at The Inquirer over the years, Narducci has covered one Super Bowl, two World Series and three NBA all-star games. Most recently he has covered the Philadelphia Union soccer team and this season will be adding college basketball duties, paying specific attention to St. Joseph’s. A life-long Southern New Jersey resident, Narducci is a 1977 graduate of Paul VI High and 1981 graduate of Glassboro State College (now Rowan University). Email Marc at and follow him on Twitter.

Marc Narducci
Latest Videos:
Also on
letter icon Newsletter