Saint Joseph's forward Halil Kanacevic returns from suspension without fanfare or incident

Saint Joseph's forward Halil Kanacevic returned from a two-game suspension in the Hawks' win at Drexel. (Yong Kim/Staff file photo)

Halil Kanacevic had a fairly quiet game against Drexel. He scored just two points on 1-for-8 shooting, and recorded two rebounds, one assist, two steals, one block and two turnovers. He also committed just one foul.

It wasn't much of a contribution in what turned out to be a 63-49 win for Saint Joseph's at the Daskalakis Athletic Center. But the fact that he didn't draw any attention to himself wasn't a bad thing. In fact, it may have been just the right thing for him.

Kanacevic returned to the Hawks' lineup Monday afternoon after serving a two-game suspension for aiming an obscene gesture at the Villanova student section. He didn't start, but playing 27 minutes in a seven-man rotation is plenty of time on the floor.

I expected him to get an earful from the always-boisterous Drexel student section, even though the DAC Pack wasn't as big as it is when classes are in session. In fact, a lot of the seats that students would have taken were occupied by St. Joe's fans.

Still, it was a game between two city schools, and any time that happens on Drexel's floor, it's a big deal. Hawks coach Phil Martelli knew it too, and spoke at length on the matter after the game. Here's what he had to say:

As we debated what to do, and what I decided would happen, it was either going to be two games or three games. I thought that his [first game back] should be on the road in a difficult environment. I wanted it to be that way.

I mean, we could have waited and made it three games. It would have been a bit excessive, I think. But we - I - decided, and got affirmation from [athletic director] Don DiJulia to do it [this way], because we wanted him to face this. We know in two weeks when we go to VCU, it's not going to be pretty.

[Assistant coach] Dave Duda spent some time with him yesterday. I said to him yesterday: "Listen. I have your back." Now he'll sit here and tell you that he did it. So it's self-inflicted, and he knew what was coming. And the only thing that - I really do - the only thing I tune in to is if there's any comment about family, and if there's any racial comment. There's no reason for that.

There wasn't much [today]. It will come, though, and he has been forewarned. Look, I'm not trying to throw a guy under the bus, but it's zero tolerance. Blink the wrong way, and we'll just move on.

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