Thursday, December 25, 2014

Final game typifies Hawks season

The final game was sort of a microcosm of the season for St. Joseph’s – some good stretches, some rough ones and then a disappointing ending.

Final game typifies Hawks season

Saint Joseph´s Carl Jones lands on the court after missing a<br />shot during the first-round of the NIT on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, in Philadelphia. (Michael Perez/AP)
Saint Joseph's Carl Jones lands on the court after missing a shot during the first-round of the NIT on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, in Philadelphia. (Michael Perez/AP)

The final game was sort of a microcosm of the season for St. Joseph’s – some good stretches, some rough ones and then a disappointing ending.

The Hawks finished 18-14 following Tuesday’s 63-61 loss to St. John’s in an opening NIT game at Hagan Arena.

The game received plenty of national attention, but not the type St. Joseph’s would desire. The game-winning, off-balanced fall-away jumper by St. John’s sophomore Sir’Dominic Pointer at the buzzer was considered the top play of the day by ESPN’s SportsCenter.

Now St. Joseph’s will begin looking ahead to next season because looking behind is a little painful.

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Everyone knows that the Hawks were the preseason Atlantic Ten choice and fell way short.

It was a combination of bad predicting and an inconsistent season.

Leading scorer Carl Jones is the lone graduate so the Hawks should be more than competitive next season.

What hurt more than anything is that the players for the most part didn’t show improvement over last season.  Ronald Roberts Jr. is the only Hawk who stepped up his game, but not significantly. Roberts, like many of his teammates, had too many inconsistent outings.

So much has been made of the Hawks possibly reading those preseason press clippings, but what seemed more damaging was how they struggled in the half-court offense.

Too many times the shot clock wound down too far and the Hawks were forced to force shots.

Whatever is the makeup of the A-10 next year, the Hawks should be very competitive.

Just like this year, there should be expectations of challenging for a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

For somebody reaching for positives, one can look at the Hawks performance this year past the regular season.

St. Joseph’s won a hard-fought 58-57 A-10 quarterfinal victory over Xavier, with Langston Galloway’s two free throws with 1.4 seconds the difference. Of course nothing came easy and Xavier almost scored on a length-of-the-court pass that hit the backboard, into the arms of Isaiah Philmore, who missed a very makeable layup.

Then the next night, the Hawks were getting outclassed by VCU before closing with a 22-10 run during the last two minutes in an 82-79 defeat.

A three-pointer at the buzzer by Papa Ndao, made the outcome look closer than it was, but the Hawks still fought until the end.

And then they played St. John’s right down to the wire.

So as coach Phil Martelli often said about the Hawks, “we played hard, but not always well.”

Next season they have the capability to do both, but that was the same case this season, so nothing should will assured other than the Hawks will have plenty to prove.

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
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