Phil Martelli isn’t buying the excuse that his team may be tired. St. Joseph’s hasn’t really been the same team since a 74-58 victory over Villanova on Dec. 17.
Since then, the Hawks are 5-3, but 3-3 in the last six games.
With a short rotation, Martelli was asked if the minutes were starting to take a toll on the players.
“I can understand that conversation and we have had it,” Martelli said.
“Langston (Galloway) and Tay (Carl Jones) lead us in minutes with 33,” he said. “It’s not like they are playing 40.”
The math is a little off. Jones is averaging 36.2 minutes and Galloway 35.1.
Even so, Martelli makes a good point about college players who have extended minutes, so he won’t use fatigue as an excuse.
“It’s 100 days you are doing this and they have been doing this their whole lives,” Martelli said.
He did say that more than the physical grind is the mental fatigue that could be creeping through.
“The practices are not long but they are mental and we need them to concentrate long and that is the area more than physically, the mental part,” Martelli said.
He said players have to digest scouting reports, must know their defensive assignments, how to play off screens and so much more.
So there will be no built-in excuse about fatigue. What has been a bigger hindrance has been the opposition.
Wednesday’s opponent Xavier is back to playing like the team that was ranked earlier in the season before the well-documented fight with the University of Cincinnati and the subsequent suspensions
Xavier is now 12-5 overall and 3-1 in the A-10, having won three in a row after losing its first conference game to La Salle.
“They have their way back and look like Xavier again,” Martelli said. “It will be a difficult task and a game we look forward to.”
Most of all, he looks forward to seeing the old St. Joseph’s team, the one that beat Villanova a month ago.