When it was suggested to St. Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli that his team lacked energy at times in the Hawks’ 80-64 opening round Atlantic-10 win over visiting Charlotte, he couldn’t disagree more.
“I disagree,” Martelli said. “I think that was March basketball.”
What he meant is that when in the one-and-done tournament, those participating have a different mindset.
“I think players get tight, coaches get tight,” Martelli said. “…It wasn’t energy.”
Whatever, the game didn’t have a playoff feel to it. Even though the students are off from school this week, there was a nice-sized crowd, announced at 3,891.
Whatever, the Hawks were much more relaxed and effective in the second dhalf when they outscored Charlotte 46-37 and shot 15-22 (68.2 percent).
Carl Jones was especially effective. After scoring just five points in the first half, he erupted for 18 in the second.
The first half I was taking what they gave me and I wasn’t trying to force stuff,” Jones said. “The second half half gave me a lot and I took it.”
The Hawks more than anything seemed relieved that they finally put away a 13-17 Charlotte team that hung around for most of the game.
Now the Hawks (20-12) head to Atlantic City where they meet St. Bonaventure in Friday’s 2:30 p.m. game at Boardwalk Hall.
At least the Hawks don’t have to tap their minds to remember the Bonnies. In the final regular season game, the Hawks suffered a 98-93 double OT loss to ST. Bonaventure.
That will be tall task and then there would be a likely semifinal matchup with Temple.
ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi, who as most know is also the radio analyst on Hawks games, said St. Joseph’s would have to at least get past the semifinal (beating Temple) to even remain in the NCAA conversation.
Martelli says he doesn’t bother with projecting whether his team is an NCAA team or not. He calls it a waste of time.
All he wants to do is earn another day of practice. He has done that, actually earning two days of practice and a trip to Atlantic City that he hopes can last the entire weekend.