KINGSTON, R.I. - Isaiah Miles knew he had to stay steady. He'd just been called for a Flagrant 1 foul. The Ryan Center, home of the Rhode Island Rams, was in a pretty good frenzy. Hard for Miles to keep his head?
"It's easier, because you know the microscope is on you," said the St. Joseph's senior. "You don't want to do anything dumb and be selfish and jeopardize your team with a loss - because I could have easily gotten into more foul trouble and sat on the bench. Nothing good would have come out of that."
From the tipoff, there was nothing pretty Saturday about St. Joseph's seventh straight victory. Phil Martelli won't complain for a second about a 64-55 victory that improved the Hawks' record to 18-3 overall and 7-1 in the Atlantic Ten and kept Martelli's team unbeaten in true road games.
And this was a true road game.
A revelation all season, Miles made a couple of big plays right after the foul, plays he wouldn't necessarily have made before this season: grabbing a tough offensive rebound in traffic and putting it back, then establishing position in the left block and turning it into a hoop. After scoring four points in the first half, all at the foul line, Miles led the Hawks with 17 points.
"I put on the board that this would be a toughness test - the noise, the intensity with which they would play," Martelli said. "They play off of their head coach, and five double-figure scorers. . . . We passed the toughness test. I'm not sure we passed the basketball test. We have to play better basketball."
Shooting just 34.5 percent and making 1 of 10 three-pointers, St. Joe's was up, 30-19, at halftime, after contesting everything the Rams put up. At one point, URI was 3 of 21 from inside the arc and two of the three had come in the first 90 seconds.
Miles was called for a Flagrant 1 foul for an elbow to the head of Rhode Island's Kuran Iverson, who went down and stayed down and then went to the locker room.
"I had my arm up, my elbows up," Miles said. "I think when I cut, I just went up with elbows and went up into his face."
The Flagrant 1 does not mean the foul was intentional. Hawks point guard Shavar Newkirk was later called for one on a play in which Newkirk was fouled and then turned his head into the head of Rhode Island's Jarvis Garrett. Between the two calls, URI head coach Dan Hurley was called for a technical. Hurley had stayed on the officials all night.
In the end, St. Joe's recorded just four assists to 13 turnovers, and made just one three-pointer. Martelli saw those numbers, and pointed them out, but also pointed to little contributions he saw from up and down his roster that led to another road win, however ugly.