Phil Martelli talked about a lack of fire.
Ron Roberts said the Hawks played in spurts.
Neither could explain why St. Joseph’s didn’t have the same intensity the entire game.
Certainly St. Louis did which is why the Billikens came to Hagan Arena and beat the Hawks, 72-60, continuing a recent roller coaster trend for St. Joseph’s.
St. Joseph’s was going for its second winning streak of more than two games this season. Instead the Hawks are now 15-10 overall and 5-5 in the balanced A-10.
This game was like the Hawks season in the fact that it was up and down, with the down leading the way.
The Billikens scored the game’s first 12 points. St. Joseph’s would eventually take a 23-21 lead and would trail just 29-27 at halftime.
Early in the second half St. Louis went up by seven, the Hawks tied it at 39-39 with a 7-0 run and then shortly after the Billikens ended matters by going on an 11-0 run to lead 52-40.
Thus this season of peaks and valleys continues.
“We have had a lot of ups and downs,” said guard Carl Jones, who finished with 13 points. “Now we have to bounce back.”
This time it won’t be so easy against a Massachusetts team on Saturday at Hagan Arena that already owns a 71-62 home win over the Hawks.
That was another game of spurts, where the Hawks led 20-3, but obviously couldn’t sustain that early pace.
St. Louis is a great defensive team. The Billikens entered the game allowing 56.9 points, which was No. 8 nationally and No. 1 in the A-10 in scoring defense.
Very little was easy for the Hawks. And the Billikens aren’t a great offensive team, but 6-8 sharpshooter Cody Ellis hit all five of second half three-point attempts and that was enough on this night.
Here’s the key stat.
St. Louis was 10 for 20 from beyond the arc.
St. Joseph’s was 4 of 16.
The Hawks also committed 17 turnovers.
So the inconsistent play continues and now with six games remaining, the Hawks can’t afford to come out anymore games without the proper emotion.
Keep in mind, that St. Louis is an excellent team, one that we could be seeing in the NCAA Tournament, but to come out and get down by 12 at home to anybody, is hard to fathom this time of year.
There have been other losses that were wakeup calls to the Hawks and they are running out of chances.
That is why St. Joseph’s has to play each and every game as if the season is on the line and for an entire 40 minutes.
There is so much at stake for St. Joseph’s, but the opportunities won’t continue to exist if the Hawks begin and then end games the way they did against St. Louis.