Friday, August 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Martelli on La Salle loss: "We didn't stand toe to toe."

For the most part, St. Joseph’s has been competitive in Atlantic-10 games this season. And while the Hawks were sort of competitive in Saturday’s 76-64 loss to La Salle at the Palestra, it was only the second A-10 game that they lost by double digits.

Martelli on La Salle loss: "We didn't stand toe to toe."

LaSalle´s Tyreek Duren drives on St. Joe´s Chris Wilson in first half<br />on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at the Palestra.  (Ron Cortes/Staff<br />Photographer)
LaSalle's Tyreek Duren drives on St. Joe's Chris Wilson in first half on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at the Palestra. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

For the most part, St. Joseph’s has been competitive in Atlantic-10 games this season. And while the Hawks were sort of competitive in Saturday’s 76-64 loss to La Salle at the Palestra, it was only the second A-10 game that they lost by double digits.

The fact that the first one was in last Saturday’s 80-62 defeat at UMASS, is not a good sign for a team still searching for consistency so late in the season.

The Hawks were within distance, but in the last 10 minutes, couldn’t get closer than seven points. And thus the performance brought this blunt assessment from coach Phil Martelli.

“We stood toe to toe with VCU and Butler, all those teams above us and this was another chance and basically, we have to call it the way it is, we didn’t stand toe to toe,” Martelli said.

More coverage
 
Buy local college sports tickets
 
Latest college sports videos

The Hawks lost at home to Butler, 72-66 and suffered an overtime 92-86 loss at VCU.

St. Joseph’s has a week off before hosting George Washington. There are only five games left in the regular season. The A-10 record is 5-6.

Even earning one of the 12 spots to compete in the A-10 Tournament is not assured.

As Martelli has said repeatedly, it’s not that his team isn’t playing hard. They just aren’t playing well.

The Hawks often run the shot clock down and then end up taking forced shots.  Yet the Hawks shot 53.1 percent from the field against La Salle, including 63 percent in the second half.

The Hawks lost this game on the defensive end, where La Salle shot 62.2 percent for the game and 62.5 percent (10 for 16) from beyond the arc.

La Salle missed just six shots in the second half, going 16 for 22 (72.7 percent).

Martelli says that La Salle won’t always shoot like this, but just a week ago the Explorers shot 18 for 33 from three-point range in an 89-53 win over Fordham.

So La Salle has the capability to stretch a defense and make it pay for allowing open shots.

Usually with the presence of C.J. Aiken and his shot blocking ability, Hawks opponents don’t have much success inside, but La Salle big men Jerrell Wright and Steve Zack combined for 18 points on 9 for 13 shooting and most were near the basket.

So this was a total defensive breakdown. Every time the Hawks made what looked like a second half run, La Salle would answer.

That is what standing toe to toe is all about.

Marc Narducci
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 mnarducci@phillynews.com and follow him on Twitter.

Marc Narducci
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected