At Martelli's urging, Hawks defeat American

YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER C.J. Aiken has to hear the cheers from the Saint Joseph's bench after he made a three-pointer during the second half against American.
YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER C.J. Aiken has to hear the cheers from the Saint Joseph's bench after he made a three-pointer during the second half against American.
Posted: November 29, 2012

IT WAS PROBABLY one of the better timeouts Phil Martelli has ever taken.

He'd just seen an American team that had opened with a 72-36 loss at Minnesota go on a 10-2 run to grab a seven-point lead at Hagan Arena with 2:26 left in the first half Wednesday night. So he called his Hawks over to talk about it.

He must have inspired them, because they scored the last 11 before intermission. And 19 of the first 28 after coming back out of the locker room. When it was over, Saint Joseph's had a 74-55 win to get to 4-1 heading into Saturday's trip to 11th-ranked Creighton for their first true road game of the season.

"Yeah, I said a lot of specific things," Martelli said. "None that you can [print] . . . We were down seven, because we didn't guard. That's disappointing. After that, we got stops, got out and got in the flow.

"I think we got casual. [American] had 18 points in the lane in the first half. [Our big guys] have to do better than that. There's some really good front lines in [college basketball], and we'll face one Saturday. We all have to do better."

The Hawks, who hadn't played since Nov. 20, won't play at home again until Dec. 22.

"The sense of energy has to match the game," Martelli noted. "You get 30 occasions to pour it out there. You've got to give [your fans] something. The student section was full. I told them at halftime, you have to have that fire in your belly."

If he were grading, he would have given the Hawks a C-plus.

"They're all tests," he explained. "We weren't razor sharp. There won't be any noise for us [on Saturday]."

They'll all be cheering for Doug McDermott, one of the top players in the land. So we'll see.

The Hawks, who lost last season at American, had been shooting 29.9 percent from the arc. Not this time. They went 14-for-28 (missing their last five), compared with 11-for-18 from two. They played without starting forward Halil Kanacevic, who had a back strain and did not dress. He's listed as day-to-day, but right now is expected to be ready for the Bluejays.

Four Hawks finished in double digits, led by Langston Galloway's 18. A little more than 2 minutes in, on his second field goal, the junior surpassed 1,000 points for his career. He becomes the 50th Hawk to do so, and the 21st to do it in 3 years. He joins his uncle, current assistant Geoff Arnold, in that club.

"We never talk about it," said Langston, who shot 6-for-9, 4-for-7 on threes, to go with four assists and three steals. "I've seen it in the record books. It's a special group of guys. It's great to be a part of that . . . It feels good to finally get that weight off my shoulder. Now we can just play ball and get wins."

So, what words of wisdom did Phil impart during that TO?

"Just some encouragement," Langston smiled, knowingly. "That's all."

If you insist.

C.J. Aiken and Carl Jones added 16 apiece, while Chris Wilson had 15. Ronald Roberts contributed a game-high 11 rebounds.

The Eagles (2-4) also had four score at least 10, topped by Stephen Lumpkins' 18. The 6-8 senior was a 13th-round pick in the major league draft by the Kansas City Royals and spent last year in their developmental system.

"We just started off slow, that's it," Galloway said. "Once we picked our 'D' up, we got going."

He was 5-for-20 from the arc coming in.

"We've been working on it, a lot," he said. "If you keep practicing, it's going to come. They'll fall."

These Hawks have expectations, having been picked to win the Atlantic 10. It's still November. But it's never too early to at least start moving in the right direction.

"We've all grown as a group," Galloway noted. "As we move forward, we're going to keep growing . . .

"Saturday will be a big game. Now, we can start looking toward it."

And, in due time, beyond. Or else they'll have to deal with some more of that encouraging stuff from Martelli.


Email: kernm@phillynews.com

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