There was no outward celebrating, just the usual acknowledgement of yet another win and the urging to move on to the next game.
Yet Wednesday’s 80-62 win over Fordham carried some significance for St. Joseph’s in that it already surpassed the victory total of each of the previous two years.
The Hawks were 11-20 in 2009-2010 and 11-22 last season.
So now they are 12-5, but the true sign of maturity is that nobody seemed to be full overly jovial about eclipsing the 11-win barrier.
“Coming back and getting 12 wins early in the season, it’s a lot to build on, that’s all,” said sophomore guard Langston Galloway who tied a career high with 30 points.
It’s nothing more than something to build on.
Maybe the Hawks realize how difficult it was going through two seasons with 20 or more losses. That’s why the players don’t want to get too high over surpassing a modest win total, no matter how much of the season is left.
It’s a good sign, that this is a much more mature team, and one that feels last year shouldn’t be a measuring stick for this season.
If that were the case, then the standards and expectations would be too low.
This is a Hawks team that feels it belongs somewhere in the postseason.
Of course coach Phil Martelli doesn’t even address that matter. He says the team doesn’t realize who they are even playing past the next game.
By the way, that next game, Saturday at UMASS, will provide an immense challenge for the Hawks.
Another sign of progress is that the Hawks had spurts of being lethargic against Fordham, yet it never felt as if they were being threatened by the Rams.
And for those who say, well it was only Fordham (7-9, 0-3 A-10), remember that the Rams beat Harvard, which defeated St. Joseph’s.
No win is taken for granted, but they also aren’t savored very long. There is too much work to do.
Deep down, the Hawks are truly proud of their improvement, but they also understand that now the bar has been raised considerably higher. And they are comfortable with that.
What the last two years have done is make this group appreciate what it takes to be a winning team.
St. Joseph’s still has plenty to work on, especially at the free throw line where they are shooting .666. The Hawks entered the week last in the A-10 in turnover margin. They averaged 13.5 and caused 11.8 for a -1.7 margin. (Against Fordham, the Hawks committed just five turnovers).
Still, this is a group that won’t get complacent. Martelli surely won’t let them. The Hawks feel proud of what they have accomplished to this point, but not satisfied.
That seems to be the mindset of a team that has put the last two years behind them and has 14 regular season games left to continue to further that distance.