Men’s basketball drops fourth straight game
The Saint Joseph’s University Hawks took on the University of Massachusetts Minutemen for the 70th meeting between the two teams. The Hawks were looking to break their three game losing streak. This was also the Hawks’ Phil Martelli’s 700th career game as head coach.
“We have to rise up everybody,” freshman Charlie Brown said after Saturday’s loss to UMass, 87-76. “Every player, every coach, we’ve got to rise up, rise our game.”
The game began with UMass taking the opening tip off and the first points of the game. UMass took control early by making their first five shots and took a 9-point lead.
However, the Hawks did not give up. They stayed with the Minutemen and got within 3 points midway through the first half thanks to a shot from beyond the arc by Brown. The Hawks also made some great plays and got the crowd energized. There was a possible missed three-second violation call against UMass, including a slam dunk by sophomore Markell Lodge and great shots by freshman Nick Robinson and Brown.
“People start to play him a certain way,” Martelli said about Brown. “We have to make it easier by getting by people and making some plays on distributing [the ball].”
Throughout the half, the Hawks were improving their play on both sides of the ball. They tightened up their defense and were making their shots. Again the score was within three points with 1:24 left in the first half, but it did not stay that close for long.
The Minutemen made several shots and were able to take an 8-point lead into halftime, with a 43-35 score.
The Hawks started the second half with the ball and the momentum started to shift in their favor.
St. Joe’s was making their shots, getting defensive and offensive rebounds, and were able to keep the Minutemen from sinking shots they were making in the first half, beginning to cut down the lead UMass had built.
UMass going cold with their shooting also helped the Hawks. They were missing shots and were out-rebounded by the Hawks for part of the second half.
St. Joe’s was able to get the game within two points before senior Javon Baumann was fouled. He made both shots and the game was tied up at 55.
“We worked really hard to get to 55-55,” Martelli said after the game. “I think we just played. I don’t think it’s anything noteworthy. We tried different guys and Javon Baumann gave us a lift.”
Unfortunately the game was not tied for very long. UMass was able to capitalize on two straight turnovers by the Hawks and started to regain and build a lead. The Minutemen got back into their rhythm and were able to put it away with their shooting. The Hawks made a good effort late in the half, but they could not stop UMass.
The Minutemen pulled away and were able to get the victory and take a two-game lead in the overall series as well as an important conference win.
Their 3-point shooting in the first half helped them build and maintain the lead, then their overall shooting late in the second half sealed the victory for UMass, 87-76.
“The plan in the beginning was to zone them and they made 8 threes, so credit to them,” Martelli said. “They beat the plan.”
The Hawks shooting was improved from last week’s game. They were 40.7 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from three. They also shot better from the foul line at 68.8 percent.
The Hawks have now lost four straight games and have only won two games since a win against George Washington on Dec. 30. They are 2-10 since then.
The Hawks also lost sophomore Lamarr Kimble to injury during the second half and taken out of the game. X-ray results on Feb. 12 indicated a fractured fifth metatarsal of his left foot. He’ll need surgery and will not be able to play for the remainder of the season. Martelli, though, does not blame Kimble’s injury for team failures.
“I did not like our response in the beginning,” he said. “We had a day off on Wednesday, we had good prep. We talk about preparation has to equal performance. We played silently, we got hurt defensively. I don’t care who you have in uniform. It’s not an injury thing, it’s not answering where we needed to answer, [and] lose balls.”
The Hawks will play against La Salle University on Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. at La Salle University.