If only St. Joseph's could find the consistency that coach Phil Martelli is looking for, then things might start to settle down for his young team.
On Saturday, the Hawks had an opportunity to establish something along those lines against a good George Washington team, one that already had beaten a ranked Wichita State team.
Instead, the Hawks fell behind early, then rallied furiously only to fall short, 64-60, in the Atlantic Ten Conference opener for both teams at Hagan Arena.
Beaten in just about every aspect of the game for the first 32 minutes, St. Joseph's (6-6) found itself trailing, 51-31, with eight minutes to play. Suddenly, the Hawks came to life. They outscored George Washington by 29-13 over the final eight minutes and actually trailed by only 63-60 with six seconds remaining.
But the Colonials' Joe McDonald, fouled by St. Joe's James Demery, sank 1 of 2 free throws to put the game away.
Martelli said the team's second-half surge meant little in the big picture. That's because the Colonials, who led by 31-18 at the half, set the tone by dominating the Hawks from the start.
"It means nothing," Martelli said. "It's meaningless because it's a loss. It was a loss where we didn't engage in the fight for 40 minutes. And that's the only way we are going to do this - by engaging in the fight for 40 minutes."
The Colonials held the Hawks to 7-for-26 shooting in the first half. They also outrebounded them, 27-10, and had 10 first-half offensive rebounds.
The Hawks' DeAndre' Bembry led all scorers with 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Chris Wilson added 15 points for St. Joseph's. However, Isaiah Miles, who had scored 23 and 24 points in the previous two games, went 0 for 5 from the floor and was held scoreless.
George Washington (11-3) had three scorers in double figures, led by guard Kethan Savage with 16 points. Forward Kevin Larsen finished with 15 points, nine rebounds, and three blocked shots, and Yuta Watanabe came off the bench to score 12.