The Hawks keep postseason dreams alive
The St. Joe’s men’s basketball team broke its five game losing streak in front of a home crowd when they beat the University of Massachusetts Minutemen on Feb. 10 .
Both teams have spent the season near the bottom of the Atlantic 10. Currently, St. Joe’s now sits at 10th place and UMass is at ninth. The Hawks entered the game with a 9-14 record, while UMass came into the day 1-4 over their last five games and 11-13 overall.
The two teams last played each other in Massachusetts on Jan. 14, and the Minute men won with a score of 72-69.
The Hawks had a slow start, being down 14-6 and 17-11 at various points through the first 10 minutes. A comeback was fueled after the midway mark of the first half, and the Hawks were able to tie the game at 21.
While UMass regained the lead a number of times, the Hawks would never fall too far behind and were able to enter halftime with the game tied 41-41. Senior forward James Demery led the first half effort with 11 points.
The second half was much of the same, as St. Joe’s and UMass continued to exchange baskets and were tied at 58 at the 12 minute mark. Saint Joseph’s biggest lead of the game to that point followed shortly, when they went up 69-63.
The Hawks would then extend that, leading 74-65 at 6:55. They would not trail after that.
Adjustments made going into the second half were key to the Hawks win over the Minutemen according to freshman forward Anthony Longpre.
“In the first half we saw that they [UMass] made a lot of threes and were shooting a really high percentage, so we just tried to run them off the line and play better defense.”
Freshman forward Taylor Funk led all players with 22 points, while senior guard Shavar Newkirk had 13 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Demery and junior guard Chris Clover both added 18 points.
Defense on the outside was a issue for the Hawks, as UMass was 14 for 25 from the 3-point line.
Head coach Phil Martelli noted Clover’s coverage of UMass’ Luwane Pipkins as a factor in the win along with good plays on offense and defense.
“Taylor Funk made a couple of shots in a row,” Martelli said. “When they went to a funky defense, we did some nice reads there.”
Going into the game on a five game losing streak is never easy, but Longpre said the team had the right mindset.
“We just had to play hard,” Longpre said. “We knew we couldn’t keep going on a losing streak, so we just stopped being selfish and passed the ball better.”
St. Joe’s only has six games left until the start of the A-10 tournament, where they will look to extend their season.
“We just gotta keep grinding and keep winning,” Longpre said.
The Hawks return to Hagan Arena on Feb. 17 to take on Duquesne University.