Joseph’s head coach Phil Martelli is a skilled prognosticator when it
comes to the Philadelphia Eagles. Asked by some of the Philadelphia
sports radio talk shows, Martelli gives his prediction on the winner of
the Eagles’ games, and has accumulated an incredible won/loss record.
He doesn’t always pick the Eagles, but he frequently picks the winner.
And Martelli and his Hawks are starting to win
the way that the Eagles win—with DEFENSE!
Saint Joseph’s knocked off a gritty Boston
University team, 71-49, at the Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse. An American
East team, BU returned all 5 starters from an NCAA tournament team that
went 22-10 last year and had high expectations this year. Boston U.
nearly toppled Stanford in the Pre-season NIT, losing only by 5 points
to the Cardinal.
There hasn’t been much variety to the manner
in which Saint Joseph’s is devouring the opponent. The offense is a
steady diet of great guard play, a PD & J sandwich if you will: (P)at
Carroll, (D)elonte West, and (J)ameer Nelson.
Sharp shooter Pat Carroll was 6-of-9 from the
field, 3-for-5 from the arc. Carroll scored 12 of his 16 points in the
second half and collected a game-high 10 rebounds. Delonte West also
canned 16 points, dished out 5 assists, and grabbed 3 steals. After
connecting on only a handful of three-pointers last year, the shooting
guard already has drilled 8 threes from beyond the arc in the team’s
first 4 games. West credits his off-season workouts with assistant Matt
Brady as the key to his performance. And Nelson has simply been
sensational. If only the heady point guard were 6’3, he would be a
sure-fire lottery pick in the NBA draft. At only 5’10, Nelson might
just make it in the pros after all. Jameer Nelson has upped his
defensive aggression level another notch, and that is giving opposing
guards fits. Nelson scored 14 points, tallied 5 more assists in his
quest for the career assist record at Hawk Hill, and gathered 3 steals.
The junior had zero turnovers as well.
As much variety as there is on offense with
Nelson, West, and Carroll, there is little to no variety on defense.
The defense this year has been a constant. The Hawks are employing some
press defenses. The guards have forced many a turnover thus far with
excellent trapping of the ball handler. The guards are attacking the
boards for the defensive rebounds while the big fellas are contesting
shot after shot.
The Hawks stingy defense forced 24 turnovers,
held BU to 36 % FG for the game, and limited the Terriers to 49 points,
only 22 in the second half. How good has the defense been? Coupled
with their win vs. Old Dominion 63-47, Saint Joseph’s has held
back-to-back opponents under the 50 point barrier for the first time in
21 years. Shutting down the other team is producing scores reminiscent
of their A-10 rival on Broad Street—Temple.
The game was relatively close at halftime.
The Hawks led 35-27. Saint Joseph’s extended their lead to about 10 for
the early part of the second stanza. Whenever Boston University would
threaten to cut the lead, Pat Carroll had an answer. After BU closed
the gap to 6 points, Carroll hit a trifecta to make the lead 42-33.
When BU sliced off a couple more points off the lead, Carroll drained
another bomb to make it 47-36. On the ensuing possession, Carroll
scored 3 points the old-fashioned way. He collected his 10th
rebound and drove coast-to-coast for the bucket and the foul. He hit
the free throw and broke open the game in the process.
And then when BU was backed up against the
ropes staggering, Tyrone Barley delivered the knockout punch. The
player is a defensive warrior. The minutes he plays are so vital to the
team’s success. Off the bench, Barley contributed 9 points and 2
steals. His name is all over this defense.
The frontcourt is still a little wet behind
the ears. The starting frontcourt of Dave Mallon and Alex Sazonov
combined for only 4 points and 1 rebound. Their backups, Dwayne Jones
and John Bryant, were not much better. They pretty much equaled the
output, chipping in with 4 points and 2 rebounds. A pleasant surprise
this game was the play of juco transfer, Chris Cologer. Cologer added 7
points and 6 rebounds.
Matt Turner led BU with 11 points. Jason
Grochowalski added 8 points in the losing cause.
Saint Joseph’s battles Drexel on Saturday,
December 7th at 1:00pm. The Palestra is the site for the Philadelphia
Email: Patrick Wandalowski