The wins over Massachusetts and VCU were impressive but St. Joseph’s arguably had its best victory during Tuesday’s 79-53 victory over visiting Dayton.
First off, the Hawks were playing the second hottest team in the Atlantic-10. Dayton had won six in a row and like the Hawks, was going for its 20th win of the season.
St. Joseph’s led 39-20 at halftime and never took its foot off the gas.
“This was really good,” coach Phil Martelli said.
This is a coach who typically likes to look at what the Hawks have to improve on, but even Martelli was impressed.
While Martelli wouldn’t state whether this was the most impressive win of the season, saying he doesn’t compare one against the other, the players were more than willing to chime in.
“This was definitely one of our best games because we performed all 40 minutes,” guard Langston Galloway said. “At Dayton, we played well for eight to nine minutes and were able to stretch it out but this game we played 40 minutes.”
Galloway was referring to St. Joseph’s 60-57 victory at Dayton on Jan. 29. That was the last time the Flyers had lost before Tuesday.
What was even more impressive is that the Hawks didn’t need a breakout game by Galloway to win.
A game after he scored a career-high 33 points in an 87-72 win over Fordham, Galloway was limited to seven points on 3 for 9 shooting.
Point guard Chris Wilson scored a career high 20 points and hit all eight field goal attempts. Forward Ronald Roberts Jr. had a game-high 22 points. Halil Kanacevic had 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists and DeAndre’ Bembry added 12 points.
Galloway was more than pleased to trade a W for a less than stellar individual performance.
“Ron stepped up in the second half and Chris was making shots all night and it makes it easy for me, I don’t have to go out and try to score 30 every night,” Galloway said. “This team, the chemistry is through the roof and it’s great to have a balanced attack.”
Wilson set the tone in this game. He saw that the Dayton defenders were playing off him to help down low with Roberts and Kanacevic and the junior point guard took advantage of the free space he was afforded.
“You take what openings you get and as a point guard try to be aggressive,” Wilson said.
Before Tuesday, Dayton’s largest margin in defeat was 14 points in an 80-66 home loss to VCU.
This is a Flyers team that still has NCAA aspirations, making the Hawks performance that much more impressive.
St. Joseph’s played strong defense, blocking eight shots. The Hawks only committed six turnovers, three in each half. And they shot 28 for 48 for the game (58.3 percent).
It was as complete a game as St. Joseph’s has played in a season where the 20-7 Hawks continue to enhance their chances to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament.