March 22, 2008 |
The last six weeks of the season, watching the St. Joseph's basketball team was like looking into a funhouse mirror. You weren't quite sure what you would see. There was the team that was 15-5 after blowing out Villanova on Feb. 4. That team had 25 wins written all over it and seemed primed for a special season. There was the team that lost its way, dropping six of nine games mostly by forgetting how to play defense. That team fell off the NCAA bubble. Then there was the team that beat a top-10 team, Xavier, twice in eight days and made a run to the Atlantic Ten Conference final to squeeze into the NCAAs.
March 21, 2008 |
In preparing his team for an unfamiliar opponent, St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli gives his players a description of each guy on the other team by comparing him to someone they have faced. After watching tape of Oklahoma's Blake Griffin, Martelli decided not to reveal to the Hawks his first impression of the brawny 6-foot-10 freshman. That might have been scary. "I thought I was watching a young Charles Barkley," Martelli said. "He goes after everything with a fierceness.
March 17, 2008 |
Filled with anxiety, the St. Joseph's players were watching the NCAA Selection Show on television in the living room of Phil Martelli's home in Media when they heard their coach shout out a resounding "Yes" from the den. "Everyone was wondering what's going on," senior Pat Calathes said. "And then we saw our name pop up on the bracket, and we started jumping up and down. " Martelli saw St. Joe's name slotted into a bracket in the East seconds before his players because of a delay between feeds to the two televisions.
March 16, 2008 |
All they can do now is wait. St. Joseph's bubble did not burst after losing to Temple, 69-64, last night in the Atlantic Ten championship, but it deflated some. While some prognosticators are saying they did enough to warrant an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, the Hawks are still in the unwanted spot of having to wait until some time after 6 p.m. to learn their fate. "If you believe in a greater power than us, pray . . . for us please," St. Joe's coach Phil Martelli said.
March 15, 2008 |
When veteran Xavier guard Stanley Burrell opened the second half last night by firing a pass into the coaches' section of his team's bench, that was only the most glaring example of how the St. Joseph's defense had been flummoxing the 10th-ranked Musketeers. There were others. Many others. Three shot-clock violations early in the game. Forced shots. Several what's-going-on-here looks on the faces of Xavier players. A crimson-and-gray crowd each time a Musketeer touched the ball in the post.
March 13, 2008 |
Control freaks by nature, basketball coaches often act as filters between the outside world and their players, so they try to shield them from doomsday scenarios. Except if the coach is Phil Martelli. Martelli laid it all out for his St. Joseph's Hawks in the days leading up to the Atlantic Ten Conference tournament: Lose and the season is finished. And don't count on the NIT, either. He wanted his players on pins and needles, and was pleased to sense they were on edge yesterday for a first-round game against Fordham.
March 9, 2008 |
Thirty-six hours after St. Joseph's rode a wave of emotion toward its biggest win of the season, the Hawks yesterday were unable to summon the energy to hold off fired-up Dayton on Senior Day at University of Dayton Arena. Seniors Brian Roberts and Jimmy Binnie combined for seven three-point baskets in the first half and St. Joe's never recovered as the Flyers (20-9, 8-8) knocked off the Hawks (18-11, 9-7), 79-67, in the final Atlantic Ten Conference regular-season game. The defeat cost St. Joe's a first-round bye in the A-10 tourney.
March 7, 2008 |
St. Joseph's has had its problems lately, falling off the NCAA tourney bubble with some excruciating losses, but no one can deny the Hawks have a keen sense for drama. In the final regular-season game played at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse before the 59-year-old building is expanded and renovated, St. Joe's left a roaring, packed-in crowd a lasting memory by stunning No. 8 Xavier, 71-66, last night in an Atlantic Ten Conference game. The Musketeers (25-5, 13-2), who had won 11 straight, are the highest-ranked team the Hawks have ever beaten at the Fieldhouse.
March 3, 2008 |
Mark Tyndale was recalling the painful aftermath of Temple's one-point loss to St. Joseph's at the Liacouras Center in late January, the game in which he watched Pat Calathes drain a three-pointer with 3.9 seconds to go before watching Ahmad Nivins swat away his potential game-winning shot. Calathes "broke my heart the last game, and I didn't sleep for about two days and I just wanted to get past that a little bit," Tyndale said. As he spoke, Tyndale was flashing a victorious smile.
February 29, 2008 |
Four days after climbing into all the projected NCAA tourney fields with a key road win over Rhode Island, St. Joseph's slid back onto the bubble last night with a 64-55 loss to St. Louis in an Atlantic Ten game at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse. The loss dropped the Hawks (17-9, 8-5 A-10) into a four-way tie for second place in the conference with Temple, La Salle and Richmond, with three difficult games remaining. Next up for St. Joe's is Temple on Sunday at the Palestra. Then comes the A-10's powerhouse - Xavier - on Thursday in the regular-season home finale.